Friday, January 27, 2012

Shark attack! See the video!

It's usually not a good sign when you see something floating that's supposed to be swimming. So when Mom peeked into my sister's room yesterday and noticed her helium-filled, remote control shark cruising along the ceiling–with no one at the controls, she did a double-take.

Then, she collared the culprit. The evidence was all too obvious: body parts ripped off, torn, thrown carelessly around. "Tuck-errrr..."

Yep. I did it in a fit of pique. My sister's back at college, and the C-A-R was leaving, without me in it. After making my expected forlorn appearance at the window, I trucked up the stairs and headed right for the shark, intent on revenge.

Listen, I could have torn the thing to bloody bits. Instead, I made it a nice repair challenge for my handy sis. Let's see whether she's able to get that thing to fly again...I mean swim.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A dog wins the 2012 Caldecott!

I've loved, lost and destroyed plenty of toys in my time, and no one thought to write a book about moi. 
("Actually," says Mom, "I have...but no one's published it...yet.")

So I might be a tad jealous that a scruffy little pup is the subject of this year's Randolph Caldecott Award for the most distinguished American picture book for children.

However, my readers know me to be rather discerning when it comes to picture books, and dog books in particular. They must be honest. They must be extraordinarily well done. They must touch some part of my doggy soul.

Alas, dear reader, this book, while true enough in story, neither touches my soul or seems well done enough to merit this medal.

I like whimsical, expressive artwork and appreciated it in The Hello, Goodbye Window, for which Raschka won the Caldecott in 2006. But I don't like sloppy. The Caldecott committee chair called the illustrations "deceptively simple." I'm not deceived: many of the illustrations are not simple. The ones that look simple, however, are brilliant. The others...well...are sloppy.

Daisy is adorably portrayed in her scruffiness (although I of course am far more handsome), yet I am surprised the book's creator was happy with the panels in which Daisy sinks miserably into the family couch. I was confused by the depiction of Daisy's human—she looked different each time she was portrayed.

The story itself was fine: dog gets ball, dog destroys ball, dog gets new ball. Best wishes to Daisy, but it's not a book I can really chew on.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

And in the best actor category, canine, that is...

One of BB Simon's crystal-encrusted leather collars.
I could rock that look.
Let's be practical: just what would I do with a globe, golden or otherwise? Plus, the only films I've ever starred in are those shaky old home videos. (Anyone interested in Hex Bug Horror, starring moi?) I mean, if the Blair Witch Project worked out, well...

Anyway, The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop on the Golden Collar Awards, to be designed by BB Simon of Newport Beach and given out next month by Dog News Daily. The categories:

  • Best Dog in a Theatrical Film 
  • Best Dog in a Foreign Film 
  • Best Dog in a Direct-to-DVD Film
  • Best Dog in a Reality Television Series 
  • Best Dog in a Television Series  
 Check out THR's Oscar Dog Showdown photo gallery for more scoop. Or, better, yet, Hex Bug Horror.
Nominees will be announced Wednesday. Look for a surprise entry.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Take me out to rink? And pass the poetry, please

Now here's an event to rival any "Take Your (son, daughter, pet) to Work Day": watch the Worcester Sharks with your humans! It's called Pucks and Paws, it raises funds for the Worcester Animal Rescue League, and it's happening Jan. 15 in Worcester (I would have called it Pucks and Pups, for the assonance, or better yet, Pups and Pucks, putting the more important part first, but no one asked me).

Not sure of the definition of assonance? Apparently, you haven't brushed up on your poetry lately. Assonance is when a vowel sound is repeated in a nearby word, enough to make you sit up and take notice. That's why Pucks and Pups rolls off the tongue much more easily than Pucks and Paws. Did you notice anything about the repeated first consonant in those two words? Yep, it's the p. So when consonants are repeated, that's called alliteration. Even though Pucks and Paws contains alliteration, it's just not as pleasing as Pucks and Pups. Alliteration and assonance=awesomeness.

Back to the game. It's at 3 p.m. against Syracuse and promises to be a riot!  Contact the Sharks office: or 508-929-0500. $15 for humans, $10 for dogs, with $5 of every dog ticket donated to the Worcester Animal Rescue League. It's sponsored by VCA Animal Hospitals (a shout out to Dr. Schettino in Springfield). You can even get a discount on a pet-friendly hotel. And read some poetry before bed. For the right active vibe, I recommend A Dazzling Display of Dogs by Betsy Franco. There's a whole bunch of alliteration for you. Test after the game.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy 99th, Great-Grandma!

Happy Birthday, dear Great-Grandma!
My Italian great-grandma is 99 years old today, and going so strong she could stop me in my tracks—and that's saying something, especially considering that she is extremely teeny.

Great Grandma has long been fond of dogs. For example, worried that I might catch cold here in the northern regions, she sent away for a splendid shearling coat in which I look downright fashionable. She wonders why I don't visit more often and worries that I'm not being fed properly. In short, she dotes on me.

What a woman!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Wave a bright orange flag with HunterGuard

Scientists say that exercise helps squeeze the creative juices, and so it was that I had Brilliant Brainstorm #237 today after my woods tromp.

We smell (well, some of us do) and see lots of deer in the town forest, so we're familiar with the flags of their tails. So I got a bit spooked when I learned that a hunter mistook a woman and her dog for a deer, with disastrous results. I checked out my tail. It's long. It's white. And I hold it proudly high in the air. (Though, let's face it, not as high as a deer does. I mean, I'm tall, but...)

Mom wore her orange cap today, and later we ran into my friend's human, also sporting an orange hat, and I thought about my tail. I also thought about the snug knitted scarf that hugs a tree in my backyard, the result of my sister's yarn-bombing. Have you heard of this phenomenon? There's nothing violent about it; in fact, it's rather cozy.

A knitted cozy for a hemlock.
Here's the basic idea: knitted tail cozy.

Being fitted. Believe me, it took two...and more.

So here's my idea: cozies for dog tails, made up in hunting orange! They could be knitted, they could be fleece, they could be adjustable, etc. I'd call them HunterGuard. They keep you safe, warm, and make a fashion statement, all at the same time. But wait, there's more...
The finished product would 1. Be finished and
2. Not consist of Mom's cashmere scarf.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I'm on Facebook—check it out!

Well, sort of. My photo is on Facebook, in Wellesley Books' compilation of dog photos from their newsletter. Once upon a time, I had the honor of being Dog of the Week, although I like to think of it as a more permanent title.
Anyway, take a look. I'm the handsome one. When you get to the album, click on my thumbnail for the full effect.