I apologize, Governor Kasich

Northmont Kindergarten Sign

Dear Hon. John Kasich, Governor of Ohio;

I apologize for my sight-sightedness with respect to my opposition to your state education budget cuts and SB5, which sought to limit bargaining rights for teachers. Clearly these were bills designed to give smart-ass bloggers like me an endless supply of content for free.

Please forgive my lack of vision. I look forward to the endless bounty of your labors.

I remain your loyal subject,

Rufus Dogg

Northmont Kindergarten Sign


There is an old joke that goes something like this:

I had a nightmare last night I ate a giant marshmallow. When I woke up, my pillow was gone.

Ok, settle down.

Your nightmare joke is now a reality. Meijers had pallets of these JUMBO marshmallows staged alongside the graham crackers and Hershey chocolate bars. Really, these things were grotesquely huge. I think it might be national S’mores week to coincide with Independence day. Nothing says freedom like… marshmallows?

Happy Fourth of July. How much more American can we get? Oh, about another 100 pounds per person, I would reckon.

Be a patriot and eat up.

God, please save the copy editors

Dear God, if you are listening, it’s me, Rufus.

I know you and I don’t talk much these days but you never say anything. Praying to you feels kinda like ranting into a twitter account. But we really could use your help about now.

In today’s social media-driven world where everyone thinks they are the next Joseph Conrad, John Steinbeck, Kate Chopin or Nate Hawthorne, we could use fewer guardian angels and more copy editors. I’m not sure if I should appeal directly to you or if you have an HR department or something that would be more appropriate, but … well, just let me know.

If you can’t actually send more copy editors, could you at least save the ones down here that all these newspapers and Arianna Huffington are slashing and burning? I don’t need to tell you that once they leave the publishing industries for a job at Waffle House, we’ve pretty much lost them for good. The words — including the apostrophes — can’t take much more of this abuse.

I was going to write a snarky post about this emergency in a couple days, but I couldn’t find the right angel… I mean angle. So, I jotted down this little prayer. The direct route seemed to be the best way.

Ok, gotta go. I’m sure you have more important things to do as well. Just thought I’d ask.


Football’s “Big Game” ads

On Monday, every blogger will turn into a marketing expert and analyze the ads from The Big Game* fifteen different ways in hopes that you won’t realize they don’t know crap about marketing or advertising. Several of them will actually know what they are talking about, but those people will be so non-confrontational that you probably won’t read them anyway.

Over here at the DogWalkBlog, we’re going to stick with what we know; dogs and dog-related accessories. Our entire criteria on judging the effectiveness of any Big Game ad is whether or not they have a dog in them. Then, we will list them further on down this page and tell you why we think they were cool or lame.

Fair enough?


*Super Bowl is a trademark of the National Football League (NFL) and DogWalkBlog did not pay any money for the rights to use it. So, we’re saying “The Big Game” (until the NFL clamps down on that one as well)


Maddow Apostrophe-gate rages on unabated

Despite warnings from the Allied Association of Assorted Punctuation and the Apostrophe Association of America (the real AAA) when her first infraction was discovered on July 26, 2010, Rachel Maddow continues to flagrantly misuse the apostrophe in her on-air titles supporting The Rachel Maddow Show (or as she tries cleverly to disguise as TRMS)

A screen shot of yesterday’s show is below, this time with the ringleader at the desk:

The copyeditor used a single quote when s/he should have used an apostrophe. The part that was being contracted was the 19 from 1992. The infraction was also seen later in the subtitle that appeared under the segment. The entire segment was aired without correction.

Again, we demand an apology from TRMS and assurances that these infractions will cease. If credibility in typography use can not be assured, how can we trust any of the facts, analysis and conclusions being given on the entire show?

Again, Maddow, we’re waiting. And we’re not going to accept a contracted apology.


Barack Obama does not care about dogs

Dogs did not get a mention in the State of the Union address last night and boy are we miffed! Apparently, President Obama does not care about dogs, even though he has one of his own residing in the White House, a residence that we collectively pay for. Dogs should have gotten at least a mention.

And gun control. And African-Americans. And arts and literature education. And music. None of these things got mentioned either.

So we can conclude that the President of the United States does not care one little bit about dogs. It’s our position and we’re sticking to it, even though it makes us look petty and stupid.

Get a grip, people. The speech was 6,800 some words long. The president can’t cover every topic nor can he gab on for hours trying to cover everything without people grabbing for the remote or another beer.

That is all I have to say about that.

PS This is sarcasm. And media are plural.

Open letter to the people who will eventually buy my house

Dear people who want to buy my house;

Thank you for your interest in taking over the landlord responsibilities of this property I have held for almost thirty years. It has been quite a ride. But before we begin to sully our new-found relationship with talk of money and such, there are a few things you should probably know.

I know that you know I know that you have most likely grown up watching HGTV. You don’t look old enough to have lived in any other age before cable TV dominated the airwaves. If you have not been made aware by now, everything they have ever told you about buying a house is a lie. It has all been made up for the sake of attracting sponsors and advertisers whose only goal was to sell you more crap to improve your home. Oh, it’s ok, I believed the lies for a while too as you will soon discover the do-it-yourself projects I have embarked on throughout the house.



What is creativity and 47 reasons why you ain’t a creative

Right off the bat, I’m gonna level with you and say that I don’t have forty-seven reasons why you are not creative. I don’t even have one. I just needed a funky title that the Google machinery would pick up on. Citing a list of stuff and using “creativity” in the title was a cool way of tricking that uncreative algorithm into thinking there might be something valuable (creative?) in here. There might be. I dunno.

I don’t even know you, so why do you care what I think about you? You might be creative; you may not be. All I can do is give you my narrowly-defined definition of creativity and watch you squeeze through the hole, proving you are.

Everyone wants to be a creative these days. Seth Godin says this is the Age of the Creative. The rest of us are “lizard brains.” Nobody wants to be a lizard brain. That sounds dull, slow, and backwards. Daniel Pink says that anyone who is not creative will not be able to thrive in the new world of employment. Teachers everywhere are encouraging little Johnny to explore his world around him, to be creative; right before she sends him off to detention for talking out of turn using creative language.

I promised you a very narrow definition of creativity. Here it is:

Creativity is creating something original and appropriate within the confines of your craft.

That’s pretty much it. You can’t do what someone has already done — like using all lowercase in an essay — and call it creative. E.E. Cummings already did that. You must make something out of nothing that was not there before. It must be appropriate, i.e., elephant poo on a painting is not creative. Really, it’s just kitsch. And you must be aware of and adept at applying the rules of your craft. Then bend or push the rules with purpose.

Most of what we call “creative” these days tends to be sloth and impatience; folks who are too lazy or in too much of a hurry to hone their craft. Instead, they color sloppily outside the lines and call it creative. Real creativity takes years of hard work and dull practice before it ever sees the light of day.

Have I poked at you hard enough? Do you find yourself disagreeing with me? Are you angry enough at me for not including you in the creative club? I sure hope so! Add your creative comments below. I dare you. Just be original, appropriate and stretch language to express yourself.

Proper grammar is required.

This blog post is part of a blog-off series with a group of bloggers from different professions and world views, each exploring a theme from his/her world view. This was about “answering the big question, “What is creativity?”” To explore how others handled the theme, check them out below. I will add links as they publish.

The definitive guide for planning your day to maximize your potential and meet cute people

Day Planner for maximum potential

Ok, so the title was a bit misleading but if Google and I are still buds, I’m guessing you are here to meet cute people. It could happen by reading this post, but not likely. Pull up a chair anyway.

It has become fashionable among all the A-list blogger folk this time of year to tell you how to plan your day, focus this much time on that task, focus on that, blah, blah, blah. Take this from an old dog — they are all wrong.

The chart above is how I plan my day. Everything gets planned Before Walk (BW) or After Walk (AW) but the walk never, ever gets skipped. We are never too busy for the walk. The smaller bubbles attached to the walk bubble are really important too and will always get done when the opportunity presents itself. The smaller bubbles on the outside are things life makes us do.

A few years ago, the walk bubble was really small and all the other bubbles were larger. As time went by, many things that I thought were important just turned out not to be and became small bubbles. The walk bubble got larger. I also focused on making the walk bubble larger and hope one day to make my entire day the walk bubble.

Get it? Now since we’re dogs here, the walk bubble is a literal walk bubble. But in your life, it might just be a metaphor for what you want to do. If you are a potter, maybe you want to throw clay all day. If you are a writer, you may want to sling words. If you are a photographer, your walk bubble may be taking photos.

Define your central bubble and figure out how to make that the central part of your day. Then figure out how to expand it out until nothing else is more important than the central bubble. Minimize all the smaller bubbles and keep what makes the central bubble more intense and worth doing.

Pretty simple, eh? No charts, no keeping track of how much time you spend doing stuff. Just a laser-like focus on increasing the amount of time you spend doing what makes life worth living.

And you people who came in looking for cute people; if that is your central bubble, at least you are ahead of most people. You know what you want to do. We hope we expanded your bubble just a little bit more.


Five reasons dogs are better than a therapist

5. Dogs never ask you how you feel about anything.
4. Dogs charge nothing to listen
3. Dogs will never complain if you run over the scheduled time or take a different path.
2. Dogs are not scared of demons or monsters and will always be there with you when you face them.
1. Dogs will never, ever tell another living soul what you said to them, not even if they get subpoenaed

What are your five reasons?

Autumn first run: Leaves

Paul Anater over at Kitchen and Residential Design is running some How-To articles on Autumn, so I thought I’d add at least one more to his growing library. This is about how to survive raking and blowing leaves.

If you have not yet bought a house in the suburbs, don’t! If it is already too late and you plunked down some money on your “dream” that will suck away your every waking minute, hopefully we can help save you a bit of time and anxiety about raking and gathering leaves at the end of summer.



What is the Y-word?

A couple days ago, I was listening to some cable news show, I think it might have been MSNBC, ranting on about Dr. Laura’s use of the n-word. The content of the show is not important. What is important is that we have reduced our discourse of fairly substation discussions of our culture into “baby-babble” where parents would spell out words that they didn’t want little Johnny to hear.

Are we all three-years old in America? The answer is Y-E-S.

And this got me thinking that every letter in the alphabet should have its own dash word that you can’t say in polite company. Why should F, C, B, N and R get special treatment? (you do know what those words are, right? Ask a nearby teen-ager or Old Fart)

At the risk of putting DogWalkBlog on every Nanny-watch list and banned from every school library, I’d like to open up the comments to suggestions for each letter. Some, of course, have already been reserved so there is no need to discuss those (really, please don’t)

Hopefully, at this end of this little exercise, we will have an authoritative list of twenty-six dash-words.

A-word: Open for suggestions
B-word: Closed
C-word: Closed
D-word: Open for suggestions
E-word: Open for suggestions
F-word: Closed
G-word: Open for suggestions
H-word: Open for suggestions
I-word: Open for suggestions
J-word: Open for suggestions
K-word: Open for suggestions
L-word: Open for suggestions
M-word: Open for suggestions
N-word: Closed
O-word: Open for suggestions
P-word: Open for suggestions
Q-word: Open for suggestions
R-word: Closed (thanks, Sarah Palin!)
S-word: Closed
T-word: Open for suggestions
U-word: Open for suggestions
V-word: Open for suggestions
W-word: Open for suggestions
X-word: Open for suggestions
Y-word: Open for suggestions
Z-word: Open for suggestions

Suggest away in the comments!


Real patriots die at 55

When you turn fifty in America, you are old. When you turn fifty-five you are too old and should consider dying to make room for the next generation of revenue-producing units. It’s the patriotic thing to do. Hear me out on this.

When you turn fifty-five, the human resources department is looking for a legal way to get rid of you despite what they say about you having vital experience. You’re making too much money, you don’t go to as many training classes as they think you should, you are not as mobile with that family and mortgage anchoring you down and you are starting to contribute a whole lot more to the 401(k) than they had planned for matching funds. They will lay you off in a heartbeat and you will not be able to find another job. Ever. Not in this economy.

When you turn fifty-five, the health insurance premiums for the plan you had to buy on your own because your employer could no longer afford to provide benefits will double over last year. Your out-of-pocket health care costs will also go up and you will start racking up pre-existing conditions, making you ineligible for any other insurance. But you only have ten more years to go to qualify for Medicare, so maybe… oh, wait, they are going to raise that to seventy. You’re screwed.

By the time you are fifty-five, you should have already produced at least one, maybe two future revenue-generating units for the corporate consumer machine. They were far more expensive than you thought they would be, but you’ve put off saving for retirement until they finished school and left. You are now ready to front-load your 401(k) and mutual fund portfolio…

But wait! CNN tells you that you have only about a 30% chance of outliving your retirement plan at the rate you’re going. Oh, sure you’ve helped fuel the economy by having kids, buying a larger house than you could afford, paying for their tuition and feeding and clothing them, but now, you are on the taking end of the economy. Whoa, there! Your country frowns on those who take out of the system, regardless of much you’ve contributed in.

Business wants your money. They tell you this all the time by marketing to Boomers. But they don’t want you actually working for them, drawing a salary and sucking up the benefits. Heck, those young GenY brats will work for half what you need and still think it a fortune. Thank God Walmart hires old people as greeters. Oh, you can’t stand for eight hours a day because your sciatica has been acting up? You should go see a doctor about that. Insurance? Man, that’s tough luck buddy.


The business of America is business and you are standing in the way when you start getting old. Manup and die off when you hit fifty-five. Your country needs you to make that sacrifice to help reduce the unemployment rate and the federal deficit all at the same time. Moreover, you are likely to have life insurance and your kids could sure use that money to prop up retail sales.

Have you lost hope yet? Really? The great United States of America does not need its future derailed by negative-thinking pinheads like you. Is you or is you ain’t a patriot? Time to decide.