Saturday, August 9, 2014

Plan to shop on the tax-free weekend? Not my dad.

Dad's sneakers were absolutely concave on the bottom,
 and I didn't even take a bite!
Gearing up for Massachusetts' tax-free weekend? Not my dad. Shopping is not something he ever even thinks of doing. But shop he had do do, after walking thousands of miles—truly—for a good cause. Meaning, keeping me fit and happy, to the total of several miles each day for the last six or so years.

But shoeing Dad, former marathoner, is not easy. Like me, he is impatient. Like me, he is headstrong. Like me, he has barely set foot in a store—ever. Unlike me, though, he needs shoes. So to drive home the point: I dropped these old things in the pond; Mom, who has no trouble shopping, ordered up some Asics for him, getting a new pair for herself as well; and voila! my walks have been resumed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

To move, or not to move: how to get a coonhound up and at 'em

Mom keeps threatening to throw out the old couch in
the basement, but it would be difficult with me on it.
"How many synonyms are there for unmoving?" Mom mused the other day, when the weather couldn't decide between stormy and nice and I refused to get out of the C-A-R during an attempt—on my parents' part—at an afternoon walk. I mean, I was perfectly happy sleeping on the living room chair. "Have we already discussed the difference between obdurate and obstinate?"

"I think so," Dad said, his expression glum. "Now where to?"

You would think they would have it down by now. There are really only two places at which I will deign to get out of the car, after hours, anyway (that means anytime after, say 3:45 p.m.): one is Wellesley Books; the other, Bill's Pizzeria in Natick.

I've never actually been to Bill's, but I like their awning. Here's what happens: in bad weather, when I've refused to go out of the house for, say, a day or two, Mom and Dad pack me in the car and back up to the Bill's awning. That way I can get out of the car without a drop of rain falling on me, which, as you know, would be catastrophic. The funny thing about it, though, is that once I'm out of the C-A-R, I could walk for hours in the rain. It doesn't bother me at all. So thank you, Bill's. I owe you one.

For the record, from the dictionary on Mom's laptop:
motionless,without movingstillstock-stillstatic,stationaryrooted to the spotrigidfrozen,transfixedlike a statuenot moving a muscle. 

Yep, they all apply.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Capt. Marden's stalwart becomes a landlubber for Pan Mass Challenge

The Cod Squad in the Back Bay. Andrew's on the right.
I'm crazy about salmon, especially sockeye, and I'm fond of my neighbors, who put up (I guess they have no choice) with my baying, musical though it may be.

One of them, from the musical Livingston family, is Wellesley's Andrew Livingston, a longtime presence at Captain Marden's who also runs the esteemed seafood purveyor's food truck, The Cod Squad. Andrew has been diligently training and is set to ride in this weekend's Pan-Mass Challenge to benefit cancer research and treatment at Dana Farber.

Fittingly, Livingston will get to dip his toes in the sea when he ends his bicycle trek in Provincetown, close to Georges Bank. He's within $2,200 of his $5,000 fundraising goal.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Wellesley venture aims to reinvent athletic gear

Practicing for the hurdles event.
Check out the cool collegiate-y athletic products--running shorts, tees, a neat bag to hold your spikes-- at Wellesley-based Tracksmith, co-founded and headed by Matt Taylor. It's a new venture that I learned about in my daily reading of the Boston Business Journal. You all know how entrepreneurial I am, so I like to keep up.

I like the look, the products, the golden hare logo--and the fact that not one, but TWO dogs grace Tracksmith's office as I write. It's very cool that all of the products are made in the U.S. That would satisfy my girlfriend Kiki's owner, who insists on US-made gear. The company offers five products right now, only for men, but envisions a women's line in the future. I took it upon myself to suggest some dog gear. You know, there really aren't any good portable water bowls, and an athletic singlet would look kind of cute on me.

Being rather interested in creatures who run, I chatted with Matt online about the logo, and he most promptly replied: "That's Eliot, the hare. We wanted something classic that would feel timeless now and 30 years from now." As for Tracksmith, he says, "We wanted a name that felt established and substantial. And that speaks to what we're doing. Obviously, 'track' is a serious part of running, and 'smith' speaks to the craft and quality of our products."

Given that my forte is running, and considering that my parents are a longtime marathon-crazed dad and a newly-crazed mom, we plan to be checking out Tracksmith's gear pronto. And if by chance the company needs another dog tester, I'll be happy to sign up.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Not the New York Thymes! Homophone pears at the nation's greatest newspaper

This canine knows how to use his canines.
(That's a doorstop with a weighted base I'm gnawing.)
Being the product (virtually) of a professor dad and a journalist/librarian mom, it would be criminal if I were not sensitive to the subtleties of the English language. So, while I am considered an ELL (English language learner) student—yes, I get the unnecessary repetition there, but such is eduspeak—I do know my living room mantel from a kingly mantle.

Not so the New York Times. Or is it the Thymes?

In two stories, one on July 9 and another on July 16, writers used the word mantle when they meant mantel. It's not the first time—or the only pair, or should I say pear, of homophones to be confused. Besides, shouldn't someone be checking?

Mom tells the story of an intern at her old paper who made the laughable, yet horrifying, error of writing about the Fabulous Four as "The Beetles." Fortunately, an editor caught that one. But forgive that callow youth? Never.

The question: does anyone else notice? Does anyone know the difference between homophones and homonyms? What about homographs? Does anyone care that a "morning" dove is really a mourning dove? Or should we just call them pigeons and forget about them?

In case you wondered, dear reader, ranting indeed is a family trait.

Here's some help: homophone: two or more words with the same pronunciation but different meanings
homonym: two or more words spelled the same with the same pronunciation but different meanings
homograph: two words spelled the same but pronounced differently and with different meanings

But what due eye no? I'm just a canine. And if you discover the homonym in that penultimate sentence, I'll gladly share my bone. I've got a pear of them, anyway.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hound-iquity? Wellesley dog launches idea for new hound-walking app

If my parents had OutSider, they never would have tried
to get me out on a walk last night. I knew t-storms were coming.
Ok, I'm thrilled that Wellesley-based Mobiquity worked with The Weather Channel on a new app called OutSider for runners that helps them figure out the best time to run (see the Boston Business Journal story here). Not only am I tired of Mom agonizing over windspeed, direction and temp, I'm hoping they'll work on something for dogs.

Specifically, for dogs who do not wish to encounter thunderstorms, rain, or large German Shepherds on their walks.

That would be me.

The app also might note the location of nearby puddles with water decent enough for drinking (I'm not picky) as well as pinpointing optimal locations to rest on one's route. It also might highlight establishments that allow dogs (Wellesley Books) as well as those that provide water and treats (again, Wellesley Books, and thank you, Pinnacle Properties).

I'd be able to advise on all the above. In fact, I'd be able to make better predictions than The Weather Channel, having predicted this afternoon's thunderstorms last night when I refused to get out of the car at my favorite location, Wellesley Books. Mom and Dad knew that something big was up then.

So for dogs whose fear of thunderstorms, fireworks and giant shaggy creatures make them too fearful to venture out, I propose a new app called InSider that monitors the quality of one's sleep, prompts humans to move one's various beds into the sun (or the closet, in case of rain), and arranges in-home playdates with nearby pups. Put me on the creative team for that one, too.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Storm effects: Thunder, fireworks, trees down and a rescued kingfisher

Young male kingfisher in his personal transport.
I wish I had Harry Potter's cupboard under the stairs. After two days of me pacing around and drooling, Thursday's crazy storm put me into an even bigger dither than usual. Then Friday, somewhere around here, fireworks. Lots of them. Loud. Honestly, what is it about people and loud things? If they were born with ears as big as mine, they wouldn't need to make so much noise. It's enough to make me vow to never venture forth from behind my chair again.

My favorite crossing guard at Oak and Bacon streets fared worse than I yesterday when a gigantic tree—actually just one giant part of it—crashed and flattened both cars that were parked in the driveway. Even though her dog and I never liked each other, she always has been kind to me.

On the way home from gawking at the crushed cars, Dad noticed a bird hopping in an unusual way near the soccer field. Upon closer inspection, it was a young male kingfisher, who had an injury to his neck and leg. I stood sentinel while Mom tried to find an animal control officer on duty, to no avail. I refused to leave my post until help arrived, which, by chance, it finally did. A neighbor walking his dog offered to go home and get a box, which he did, having thoughtfully poked airholes in it first.

The kingfisher captured, Mom took it to the Animal Rescue League of Boston, where it was to be ferried off to an animal hospital for care. Staff there thought the bird might have been injured by the storm, too. It's predicted he'll recover. I don't know about me.