Smarty Spot

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Paws and Effect

It seems the older you are the more likely you are to avoid the rain. As you may have heard, the Garden State has been getting watered lately, and that certainly applies to the Great Swamp where we live.

Here's mom, relaxing indoors during the storm:

Here's me:

I wanted to go play, but I just wasn't sure about getting so wet. Whenever that happens, the owners wipe my feet when I'm coming back inside. I hate that! I think the reason it bothers me so much is because I need constant access to my paws -- I use them for just about everything. Walking, running, wrestling, even eating (can't let that bowl slide away!). In fact, you may not know this, but the secret to a good, healthy bark is all about planting your feet solidly on the ground - it's all in the paws, as they say.

So anyway, moving down into the lower age bracket, here are the young ones:

They didn't seem to mind the rain a bit. They actually built themselves a little camp site! Of course, there are five of them, and it's a lot easier when you have...umm, let's see, five times four...7? 13? 2? Wait, my owner just told me that 5x4 = 20. Twenty?! Wow!

So, as I was saying, setting up and breaking camp is much easier with 20 paws. And with dew claws, who needs opposable thumbs?

It's all in the paws!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

One Gilligan Short

Many may not know this, but English is not my first language. Having been born a dog, and more specifically a female red whippet, my first languages are barking and begging.

For me, English is much easier to write than to speak. To be honest, I don't speak a lick of it.

I'm a bit intimidated by English. And it's not because of the spelling or grammar - both of which are plenty confusing! No, no, it's the idioms. Those little phrases that seem to make no sense unless you're a human.

For example, a radio program the other day was discussing different ways of saying "stupid." One way is to say, "That person is a few fries short of a Happy Meal." Now what does that mean, and how could you be a few fries short if it's such a happy experience? I think you'd have to be out to lunch to talk that way. Another way to call someone stupid is to say "the wheel is spinning but the hamster has died." Kind of morbid. And then they offered this: "That person is one Gilligan short of an island." My owner thought this was quite funny, but I'm still out to sea on that one.

But I will say, the other day I was out gettting acquainted with our new houseguests, and some of the phrases started making more sense. For example:

"It takes two to tango."

"Send in the clowns."

"Don't cry over spilled milk."

"Don't look down your nose at me."

And, of course...

"Go pick on someone your own size!"

I guess that's the thing about English. You really have to experience it to learn to speak it well. Otherwise, people will think you're one bunny short of a race meet. As for me, I'm going to stick to barking.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Reinforcements Have Arrived

Things are getting a bit crazy around here. The guinea pigs' development seems to have taken a strange turn. As some have commented on this post, they are looking more and more like puppies every day.

As a result, a team of scientists were brought in to assess the situation. I know for sure the man pictured below is a scientist. Possibly a mad scientist. I've heard him even talk about lab rats! His woman helper is nice. Maybe too nice.

The mad scientist and his helper seem to like these little mutant creatures.

In fact, I think I'm warming up to up them a little bit. I know that's hard to believe. I find myself wishing they would let me play with them... even just one of them. But as soon as they arrived, they seemed to have formed their own little clique.

I'll win them over, though. I have toys they know not of.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Gulliver's Travails

One of my favorite bedtime stories is "Gulliver's Travels." You can tell from the cover of the book that it's the story of a man who ends up in a land of little people, who tie him down inside a big crate.

I guess my mom (Scoche) found out I liked this story a lot, because lately she's been acting it out for me. See?

What a great actress. And she gets those expressions just right! It's too bad she never learned to read, even though she went to school and majored in "sports medicine." You know how it is, though, sometimes athletic dogs like my mom go to school for the scholarship, but they never really complete the homework... if you know what I mean. ("Sports medicine." Right!)

But hey, I'm glad she at least learned to act, because I'm really enjoying these shows she's putting on! I'm sure they're even more fun to perform, although my mom assures me it's more work than I think.

Maybe some day I'll be an actress!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Working Class

When I was younger, life was carefree. I would get up in the middle of the night, run around like a maddog, wrestle my sisters, sleep, get up in the morning and eat and then run around like a maddog, etc, etc. As I grew a little older I learned the joys of sleeping in, and then taking a more casual stroll to enjoy the morning air before reading the morning newspaper (to be specific, the comics).

But at some point, mom and I were assigned household chores.

That’s right, chores. And it doesn’t seem quite fair, either. All that mom has to do is watch the guinea pigs… play with them is more like it. She doesn’t teach them any valuable life skills such as, you know, knitting or cooking or whatever else moms are supposed to teach you. She just lays there and lets them crawl all over her, as if life were one big play date.

But me on the other hand… I’m forced to help out with all the real work that’s going on around here. The male and female owners have been busy with house work lately, and guess who has to supervise? That’s right, me. One night it was perfectly beautiful weather for a walk but guess where I had to be? That’s right, slaving away. Aren't we supposed to hire working dogs for this kind of thing?

Fortunately, as in the days of Lewis Hine (my male owner's favorite photographer of the past), some pictures are being taken of this abusive underage worker exploitation...

To be honest, I am somewhat proud of my work. But that doesn't change the principle!

And allowance? Well, mom’s been getting extra food for her so-called “work,” while I feel like I’m still making “minimum wage.”

I tell you, this economy is hurting everybody. Everybody and his dog!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Apples and Oranges

People often come up to me and ask, “Smarty, how do you do it? How does a little whippet like you find a way to eat, sleep, walk, sprint around the backyard, and – on top of everything else – maintain such a culturally relevant website?”

To tell the truth, time isn’t really an issue. I’m able to do most of my writing while I’m watching cartoons, so it’s really just a matter of multitasking.

But the real secret is my Macintosh G5, which is very dog friendly. You use a mouse, and do a lot of clicking and dragging – this saves those who are clumsy typists a lot of time. It has a nice big screen, too. The human owners had this waiting for me when I was born. I know it was mine because it had a big picture of me on the screen.

So, why am I telling you all this now? Because my Mac is in the hospital right now and I’m stuck using the laptop. You may not be able to tell the difference (after all my editing work), but I’m telling you – I’m just not a lapdog.

Typing is a big problem. How is a whippet like me supposed to use this tiny keyboard? It doesn’t even have a mouse! Even if I carefully place my paw on the “y” my dew claw ends up hitting the “j.” So instead of “Smarty” you get “Smartyj.” Or instead of “yo yo what’s up doggy?” you get “yjo yjo what’s up doggyj?” I have tried countless ways to avoid this, but haven’t figured it out yet. So I’ve been doing a lot of backspacing. A LOT of backspacing. You wouldn’t know it, but so far it’s taken me several episodes of Blues Clues to get this paragraph written!

However, the dew claw has been handy (no pun intended) for using the shift key. With only one paw I can make a capital P, L, Q, A, or Z. (As they say, it’s all in the wrist!)

The other part I’m having trouble with is the pictures. It’s so easy with the Mac. But watch, I’ll try to put a picture of me on here…

See, that’s not quite right… How about this…

Ummm, not quite. One more try.

Oh well. Hopefully we’ll have my computer back soon!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


We're under attack!

You see, we live in what’s called the “Great Swamp.”

The swamp is inhabited by a variety of creatures, including birds, squirrels and chipmunks, bog monsters, all sorts of insects, and even possums. But of course the swamp is where I live – and I am of course its rightful resident. After all, I was here first! At least from my point of view, anyway.

In order to protect our domain, I keep constant surveillance on what’s going on outside. One recent development I noticed – the swamp creatures planted a flag on our front lawn.

This is clearly an act of aggression. Very troubling indeed.

But most troubling of all is that the swamp creatures are beginning to do surveillance on me! I’ve caught numerous little bugs, spiders, and centipedes creeping around inside, probably trying to find the penetrable parts of our home. They probably run the messages back to the bog monster itself. Today I even found a few of these guys winging about:

They think they can just fly right in here and take over? Never!

Okay, I shouldn’t have said so much. Now I’ve got mom worried…

Don’t worry, mom! We’re not going down without a fight!

Bring it on!!