Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More Internet Pug Fame

Here's Rose on Cute with Chris. The story was better the way I told it before he edited it, though.

I didn't tell him that soon after Rose and Lilly appeared on Pug-A-Day, the site went dead, apparently due to insurmountable technical problems. For his sake I hope that that was the effect of Lilly's evil powers.

Monday, March 30, 2009

General Announcement to Number Two Pug Dog

I am trying to write a convincing paragraph about how most rescue dogs are not given up because they have problems, but because their owners do. This would be easier if you were not dancing around the room like a lunatic, flopping on the floor, chasing your tail, and licking my hand.

Thank you.

Note: The thing where you stand there with your chin resting on the couch is merely weird, not problematic, so feel free to continue.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Can we trade?

Lilly didn't used to have this zig-zag in the fur on her butt. I don't know if it is a usual sign of aging in pugs (she is ten, although you'd never know it). I do know that I'd much rather have a zig-zag on my behind than wrinkles, turkey-neck, jowls, grey hair...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Reports of the demise of print are still greatly exaggerated

Our local alt weekly, the Washington City Paper, just ran a Best Of issue, which includes a lot of weird categories other than, you know, pizza and stuff. Because they are supposed to be all alternative after all. Anyway, they are one of those papers that is teetering on the edge of going out of business, so of course one of the things they found interesting to consider was Best Media Business Model.

They chose a local paper I freelance for, for the reasons below.

The Current newspapers, which cover all manner of community happenings over a wide swath of the District, have fashioned the best media business model around. They make an indispensable weekly print product, distribute it like mad, and spend a pittance on their Web presence. They post their content in PDFs but don’t bother with much else: no blogs, no videos, no mold-breaking interactive features, and no millions of dollars spent on traffic-enhancing upgrades. Their entire Web strategy says, in essence, “Go find the paper.”

The result? “We’ve never had a layoff,” says Publisher Davis Kennedy.

Of course, this commentary neglects the factor that the paper obviously has absolutely FANTASTIC freelancers who are willing to work for very little.... What is probably actually relevant about that, to be serious, is that a big reason that one keeps writing for them - instead of getting off one's butt to search for better-paid work - is that they are not a complete pain in the ass to work with. Which IS part of a good business model.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cross Cultural Communication

Normally I hate to be one of those people who argues that Women are from Venus and Men are from Canarsie, that we are all doomed from birth to be a certain way because of our gender.

However, I recently had a conversation with a friend that made me realize that there are certain basic techniques that male spouses use to argue that they should not assist female spouses with a situation, and that it would save us all a lot of time if we could recognize these quickly.

And anyway, isn't this just the sort of thing that Deborah Tannen has based a whole career on? I have a PhD in Linguistics too. Maybe I should turn it to the sort of subject that people write best-selling books about, instead of the kind of thing I used to write about that only 25 or 30 people on the whole planet could possibly give a fig about.

In that spirit I present my guide to Male Task Avoidance Rhetorical Techniques.

Technique 1. Attempt to redefine the situation as Not A Problem.

-Example: A woman in my puppy class locks her dog and her keys in the car and is hysterical. I phone home for assistance.
-Man: "Why is she so upset? It's cold and cloudy out, the dog is OK in the car. Tell her it's fine."

Technique 2. Attempt to cast doubt on the validity of the need for the broken thing.

-Example: My friend turns on the hot water tap and no hot water comes out.
-Man: "What are you using hot water for, anyway?"

Note: This is said in a tone that implies that if the woman were using the hot water to, say, cure cancer, he might get off his butt and look into it.

Technique 3. Interpret request in a way that he is not competent and/or equipped with the sophisticated tools to help with.

-Example: "Please look up a locksmith in the phone book."
-Man: "We don't have a phone book."

Note: This from a man who spends something like 16 hours a day sitting in front of a computer, and despite the fact that he's been doing this since they used punch cards, is perfectly aware that now you can find phone numbers on one using this wild new invention called The Internet.

Technique 4: Suggest kludgey solution that can be implemented without his assistance.

-Example: Aforementioned lack of hot water situation.
-Man: "Put it in a cup and microwave it."

Note, as implied by the specific examples, that a man will generally try more than one of these approaches in succession.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ode to the Genius of Belgians

We had the most amazing Belgian dinner on Saturday night. Here's what I love about Belgian food. I grew up eating Italian, and then discovered good Asian food and ate almost nothing but that whenever I could. So when a certain person started to make me go to French restaurants, I thought they were very bizarre. The French have this odd habit of making a perfectly exquisite sauce and then, what do they do? They put it on a piece of meat or fish, with no starch in sight.

How are you supposed to eat that great sauce without noodles or rice? There is always more than fits on the meat, and it's very undignified to lick the plate at the end. And yes, they make great bread, but it's well known that you can't live by bread alone.

But Belgians: This restaurant, as is typical, offers as side dishes: fries, mashed potatoes, potato croquettes. They also had a 'cauliflower mousse' that is basically indistinguishable from a mashed potato with clouds in it. They are of course famous for their fries, and I can't even remember if they had that Stoemp thing which is mashed potatoes with another vegetable in it.

On top of that, the dish I ordered came with spaetzle. And on top of that, was the cauliflower thing. I had joked about ordering croquettes with a side of fries, but this was better.

And of course there was an amazing sauce, and a piece of short rib that was so tender it could be eaten with a spoon. So don't think we're talking about a stodgy bland mess o' starch here.

And afterwards, they know what to do with chocolate better than anyone on the planet. Why don't they get more credit for these things?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rest in Peace, Little Hero!

Rest in Peace, Little Hero!
Originally uploaded by Ape Lad

Cartoonist Adam Koford's tribute to a bat who hung onto the side of the Space Shuttle as it blasted off on Sunday.

Poor guy, but also one of those things that makes me wonder if I should also have a blog for "animals behaving dumbly."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Living on the Edge!

I think of myself as an impossibly timid and neurotic person, afraid of practically everything. But I read an article in Consumer Reports and discovered that I am a wild and crazy risktaker!

Here are the things I do that they say I shouldn't:
-Clean my ears with cotton swabs
-Slow down at a stop sign without coming to a full stop
-Leave things on the stairs at home
-Eat raw cookie dough

And the things I don't do that I should:
-Have a rubber mat in the bathtub
-Eat burgers only well done
-Unplug the toaster oven when not in use

But, hey, I do clean the lint trap in the dryer EVERY TIME.

Check out your wild and crazy behavior here and here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

God Bless the Associated Press

"This version CORRECTS spelling to JoAnn from Joann."

(Not from one of mine, fortunately.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sunny spot

It's been too long since we had a Japanese pug with its chin down.

You might think she is sad because she has to wear a silly outfit, but the text says something about how it's been raining every day.

Maru, from my second favorite Japanese dog blog.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The squeaky wheel

We are trying not to get too fixated on the fairness aspects of the bailout. However, this approach seems to resemble a plan in which you fix a classroom that’s distracted by one disruptive pupil by sending said troublemaker to a private school in Lucerne equipped with an on-campus ski lift while the rest of the kids stay at Millard Fillmore Elementary, sharing textbooks.

-Gail Collins in the New York Times.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Kitchen with Popovers

New Kitchen with Popovers
Originally uploaded by wombatarama

First homemade food in six weeks.