Well, I'm back from summer camp and sucking up all the air-conditioning I can get up my nose. I was at Camp Derryduh doing some post-doc research in semiotics, a recent hobby of mine. For those of you who are unfamiliar with semiotics, it's the study of signs and symbols and signal fires and artificial constructs, etc.
Some of my friends think that studying semiotics is dumb, but it's not, it's just French. Granted, the word itself comes to us as a bastardization of the phrase "semi-neurotic," and originally referred to ideas that were halfway stupid, but we're well past the time when there was anything halfway about it.
What I've been concentrating on is trying to figure out what signs about dogs really signify. For instance, here's a sign I found posted on craphound.com (apparently not a real dog) that I've been analyzing. (click image for larger original site version.) As near as I can tell, this sign is a funny jab at women, who are more used to being told "Attention Wives: Pick up after your husbands. Thank you." Of course dogs don't leave their underwear and beer cans laying around, so the tongue-in-cheek humor is immediately evident. But I'm not interested in the human humor. Rather, I'm concerned about the second part of the sign that starts "Attention Dogs�"
Trying to figure out what this sign signifies is problematic on several levels. You know how Japanese children like to run around with t-shirts that have English phrases on them? And you laugh at how ridiculous it is? Stuff like "I love your happy watermelon" or "My homework went to the bathroom and all I got was this stupid t-shirt." But they don't know what it says. They just think it's amusing to be wearing something with English on it.
And the same thing happens with English-speaking athletes walking around with Asian character tattoos that look cool but actually say something like "My mom's hairdresser is in the very orange refrigerator."
So, I have to assume that whoever it was in the North Vancouver district who made this sign didn't actually speak dog and didn't realize that when dogs see "Grrrrr, bark, woof" it means "Did any of your father's bear turds lose this weird collar?"
Woody is of the opinion that there's a typo in this sign and what the human meant to say was "Grrr, bark, wolf" which, of course, means "Next rest stop, 23 miles, so you better go now." Possible, I guess, but if they're not willing to hire a dog proofreader, then they deserve to be ridiculed.
Anyway, if you, like me, are a big fan of semiotics, then you might be interested in my Master's Thesis: "The Semiotics of French Dog Signs" even if it is a bit technical for the casual reader.