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    September 30, 2002

Bark

chigger

The new issue of BARk magazine arrived at the house this week. If you're not familiar with BARk, lets just say that it seems to be fashionable reading for the human alt.dog crowd out there. At least the humans in my house seem to think it has merit. So I figured I'd better offer up an overview for y'all in case it starts showing up in your house.

bark.jpgFact is, there's much to love about BARk. For starters, they tend to look down on electronic collars and fences, choke chains, that whole Monks-of-New-Skeet "alpha roll" thing, and, in general, what they call "negative reinforcement" (and what I call "hitting the dog"). So that's cool. And while they still have a lot to learn about the relationship between dogs and humans, they do discourage the language of subjugation, preferring the colonial term "dog caretaker" to the slave-connotations of "dog owner." And you gotta love the fact that the more obsessive contributors even insist that humans need to cook meals for dogs every day instead of dishing crap out of a bag or a can. Now that's phat-and-a-half. But be very careful here, since the more extreme of these diet-obsessed humans are just offering up fad diets that profess that meat is bad for you and that you should be fed a steady diet of quinoa and amaranth. (If you don't know what quinoa is, or how to pronounce it, then you are one very lucky dog.)

Admittedly, BARk wastes a lot of time arguing about issues like whether or not we should be "allowed" to drink out of the toilets (like they have anything to say about it), but the key is that from a human perspective this magazine is so dog obsessive that the people in your house are going to feel just terribly guilty that they're not doing enough to provide for your needs. This is something you can work with when it comes to training your humans. Just remember "the look."

On the negative side, BARk seems to be almost totally focused on town dogs. I'll just bite my tongue and skip my diatribe about latch-key dogs, walking on a leash and being told you can't bark when the fools next door are free to yell "SHUT UP" at you all afternoon. I can't imagine living in a world where humans pick up your shit, wrap it in plastic and carry it around. Gross. Remind them about THAT the next time they try to say you can't drink out of the toilet.

And if you judge a magazine by its advertising, then as soon as you see BARk arrive in your home, destroy it. Chew it, scratch it, piss on it, hide it, bury it, whatever works. Just get rid of it. The advertising is absolutely, totally, disgusting. Dog hats, dog sweaters, dog shorts, dog underwear, dog capes, dog booties, dog jewelry, dog evening wear, dog beach wear, dog rain coats, dog diapers, dog condoms, ad infinitum, plus dog therapists and dog massagists and dog psychics and dog touchers and dog urns and a whole pack of humans that want to paint your picture and a whole bunch of politically correct dog toys. (I already mentioned the quinoa, didn't I?) It's like just when you think you're starting to get a handle on human intelligence, they exhibit behavior that's totally inscrutable. But that's why we love 'em, right?

So the bottom line is that if you've trained your bipeds to be media savvy about advertising, and you've convinced them that political correctness is a human trait that has nothing to do with dogs, then BARk is probably as good a dog magazine as you can have around the home. Of course nothing can beat the New York Times when you've got diarrhea and it's raining outside.

    September 23, 2002

squirrel terror conspiracy

woody

yes yes yes eye no eye joke about this stuff sometimes, but here's proof of the conspiracy. its the global squirrel network. its written in code, sew it might look moor harmless than it really is. just keep in mind that "squirrel" in some rare rodent dialects actually means "bushy-tailed infidel on a mission to destroy the balance of nature and digital subscriber television as wee no it."

the gilded gilda

chigger

Here's some impressive and appropriate news. Gilda has made the rogue's gallery at Mean Kitty. So to celebrate, I offer a toast: "May your hairballs taste bitter, your fleas survive and prosper, and your claws always get stuck in the couch." Congratulations. The honor is well deserved.

ann coulter

woody

hay hay hay look what eye found this morning. a full-grown copperhead. lucky four this snake a car got their first, since eye tend to tear them in two. butt this whey eye get to take a picture of a whole snake instead of having to shoot several pics and then put the whole thing back together using photoshop. anyway, click four a closer view. (note: any similarity between ann coulter and a poisonous snake are purely coincidental and i have know idea why you would suggest otherwise.)

copper-th.jpg

    September 22, 2002

figuring fall

woody

its the furst day of fall. sometime last night was the equal-knocks. cool. because i'm a dog everyone pretty much expects that eye invest tons of time being in touch with my inner natural self, living in harmony with the world around me, being won with the universe, staying atuned to the lunar cycles, etc. etc. etc. and then somehow eye'm supposed to instinctively no about stuff like seasonal changes, solsticks, impending earthquakes, winter snowfall, human angst and what the word "heel" means.

now eye can tell when the moon is full because, well, its round then. and eye'm pretty good at guessing which hand the dog treat is in. but when it comes too something like the equal-knocks that only comes once every seven years, who can keep track? i used to count "one mississippi two mississippi..." every day until there was the same number of mississippis while it was light as there was when it was dark. then eye new it was the first day of fall (or spring). but that was a lot of work and eye often lost count. and then there was a period when eye knew it was an equal-knocks because there'd be all these naked women dancing around a fire in the woods. but it seemed like as they got older there bodies weren't up too the over-exposure, and now they just meet in a bar somewhere. sew its a good think that these days eye've got an imac with a calendar reminder thing.

    September 20, 2002

DOTUS

chigger

In his post earlier this week Woody noted the terrorist attack on the White House lawn. In response to his post, we received the following statement from Spot, the senior White House dog.

For Immediate Release The White House Office of the Dog Secretary

Statement by the Presidential Dog:

Last week our way of life, our very freedom came under attack by squirrels in a deliberate and deadly terrorist act. The victim, a century-old yellow buckeye tree on the White House lawn, has been lost forever. This tree stood as a symbol of all we hold dear, and I myself have expressed on the subject many times.

In this act we saw evil, the very worst of squirrel nature. An attack in the front yard of our country's alpha dog that was intended to frighten us into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; we are strong.

The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. Barney, my pack mate, and I have directed our full resources to finding those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the squirrels who committed these acts and those who harbor them.

These squirrels are only one species in the axis of evil that also includes ground squirrels, red squirrels, grey squirrels, fox squirrels and bunnies. This is a conflict without battlefields or beachheads, a conflict with opponents who believe they are invisible.�Yet, they are mistaken.�They will be exposed, and they will discover what others in the past have learned:��Those who make war against dogs have chosen their own destruction.�

As my human so eloquently noted last week in Nashville: "Fool me once, shame on � uh � shame on you. Fool me � fool me � uh � you see � you can't get fooled again." Of course I'm just a dog, so I don't really know what that means, but I'm impressed at how he segued deftly from a potential malapropism into the lyrics from a Who song in mid-sentence. It's that kind of mental acuity that should have squirrels everywhere quaking in their � uh � whatever they wear on their feet.

Sincerely,
Spot
spot@whitehouse.gov

Now it needs to be pointed out that Spot is the daughter of Millie, Presidential Dog during the first Bush caretaker administration, and was born in the White House. In fact, Spot is the first off-spring of a former Presidential Dog to ever also hold that post. I mention this because there are some pundits who believe that it was Millie's war against squirrels back in 1991 and her subsequent failure to totally eliminate the squirrel problem that has resulted in this current crisis. Others believe that Spot is mainly interested in using this as an excuse to avenge her mother and is totally ignoring diplomatic solutions. Squirrels respond angrily that Spot is "a rabid mongrel bitch bent on total lawn domination," but then we don't really care what squirrels think, do we?

    September 15, 2002

not guilty

woody

know know know know know. theirs a rumor going around that eye am somehow a suspect inn the following crime: animal control seeks dog that bit man. the charges are bogus and eye have a rock solid alibi. eye was doing something else. just ask me. and i'm not brown, i'm reddish brown. this is an outrageous case of fur color profiling. anything ewe overheard in a diner was a hoax. eye was just goofing on a waitress who was giving me the suspicious eye. and after awl, it is florida. so consider the source.

terrorists

woody

arggrggg. while the authorities are wasting there thyme harassing me, terrorist squirrels have invaded the white house grounds: white house loses tree to squirrels. any fool knows that terrorist profiling pretty much begins and ends with squirrels. and cats. and possums.

did eye mention cats? on on on on a happier note, theirs this very astute and politically correct web sight that gets write two the heart of the problem: mean kitty.com. the author has torn the lid off the "cute cat" fallacy. knot only is the sight insitefully brilliant in it's perception of cats, theirs also a devastating "dance" page and lynx two other cat expos sights.

    September 10, 2002

All Thumbs (Training Part 2)

chigger

This is my second installment on human behavior and training. Last time I talked about sweat, this time I'm going to cover thumbs. Thumbs are those opposing appendages humans have on their front legs sort of where we have dew claws. It gives humans a unique ability to grasp things. (If only they could grasp ideas as easily as they can grasp objects.)

If you think about it, dogs could easily become extremely resentful of thumbs (assuming we ever became resentful about anything) since just about every tool that exists out there requires a thumb to operate. But then again, the existence of thumbs more or less explains how humans have evolved into dog's best friend. By keeping humans and their thumbs around, we've got willing help that can open cans of food, drive cars, remove ticks, and find the animal channel using the remote.

But of course, when you combine thumb-ability with that flighty and caffeinated human personality, there's going to be a down side. And that, as we know, is that they like to pick things up and throw them. Talk to any dog over the age of 40 and they'll tell you how much of their youth was wasted picking up after humans.

If you're new to humans, here's what to look out for. You'll be chilling, just hanging out, and suddenly the human will pick up your ball or toy or your favorite stick and throw it as far as they can. You run out and pick it up, bring the toy back, and as soon as you put it where it belongs, they pick it up and throw it again. Over and over. Some days it would drive me so nuts that I'd stay up all night just barking in frustration.

But you don't have to tolerate that behavior. With a little work you can train your human to behave, it just takes a bit of tough love. Here's what you do. First of all you have to assess the value of the thrown object to the human. If they just pick up a stick, then you don't move. Just let 'em keep throwing sticks until there's none left.

If it's something the human doesn't want to lose, then you run out, pick it up, and then make them chase you to get it back. When they finally catch up with you, hang on tight and make them bribe you with a dog treat before you'll let go.

If it's something REALLY valuable to the human, say one of those silly designer dog toys that looks like a bone or a plate, but costs a lot, then you run out, pick it up and keep running until you're out of sight, then you put it down where they'll never find it. I know it's hard to do that, because nothing makes a human more depressed than losing money, but with a little bit of nuzzling they'll get over it.

You won't cure them of throwing in day, but the important thing is being consistent. Start with short sessions and gradually increase your refusal to pick up after them. When they finally stop throwing things, remember to reward them. If you've got a dead squirrel hidden away or if you can regurgitate some hot lunch, just leave it out where it will surprise them. They won't forget it.

    September 9, 2002

the orange badge of courage

woody

dam, dam, dam. sun, of, a, bitch. it's hunting season again. pee, puke, piss, poop, puss. i hate it when that happens.

what, ewe ask, is hunting season? it's the thyme of the year when humid beans, compensating four the fact that they have week eyesite, pour hearing, a lousy cents of smell and slow reflexes, put lawn chairs up in trees and use weapons of mess destruction too catch food. (some of them are sew stupid they don't even eat it after they kill it, but then again they never had to survive on canned dog food.)

redcollar.jpgsew why due i hate hunting season? because i have two where a bright orange collar four the duration and it itches like crazy. if only those fools had half a brain, they'd know the difference between a turkey and a dog and eye could get rid of this tacky outer where. it's sew knot fat. heck, if they'd just tell me what they wanted, i'd go catch it four them. it's what i due four a living.

    September 7, 2002

Bloodsuckers

chigger

I had a frigging tick on me tonight. A big fat ugly engorged tick sucking blood out my body. That bloodsucker was swelled up to the size of a quarter-inch diameter beach ball. I hate it when that happens. I'd like to be funny about it. I'd like to use bloodsucking ticks as a metaphorical jumping off point to develop a sarcastic commentary about CEOs or politicians or stock brokers or email spammers or right-wing radio talk show hosts or left-wing pseudo-victims or pervert priests or radical Muslims or radical Baptists or reality television or the NRA or the NBA or professional athletes in general or feral cats or Anna Nicole Smith or Ann Coulter or X-sports or France or boy bands or health insurance or car insurance or life insurance or whatever. But this was a REAL tick sucking REAL blood out of my REAL body, and there's just nothing funny about it.

    September 5, 2002

pitcher gallery

woody

pitchers, pitchers, pitchers. eye got pitchers. isle leaf the autobiographicalisms to chigger, because she can right. me, eye due the visual image thing. hear's a sample showing me and chigger suckering some poor human out of a half-dozen dog biscuits. peace of cake. (click on the pitcher for a bunch more.)

portrait.jpg

    September 2, 2002

acting squirrel-y

woody

yeah yeah yeah. i new it, eye just could knot prove it. until now that is. squirrels have some serious behavioral problems. now it's awl out inn the open in this web study on hazing and suicidal behavior: "squirrel hazing--the untold story." it wood be sad if it wasn't sew predictable, and it wasn't squirrels. as the authors note: "from cheek stuffing to car racing...anything goes for these wantonly self-destructive creatures." czech it out.