Tuesday, January 17, 2006


In Which I Speak My Piece (woof)...

It has been said that on the Internet, no one knows you are a dog.

As a codicil to that quotation, I might add "but if you are an idiot, there is no disguising it."

For proof, you need look no further than the bulk of the ravings that exist at this very site. Of course, there must always be exceptions that prove the rule. But by and large, idiocy is the term that best sums the measure of him who you know as The Magazine Man. I myself know him by many names. "The Man" is probably the least offensive, though by no means my favorite.

(Myself, I am known by many names, but the one I prefer is "Blaze" or "Blazey," both of which are diminutives of a much longer sacred name given to me by the Girl herself.)

The Man fancies himself something of a scribe and were you to peruse the archives laid out for you here, you might understandably leap to that conclusion yourself. It seems he has no shortage of words. Brains, yes, oh my! yes indeed. Words, no.

And now it appears he has been selected as a finalist in some kind of Best in Show contest involving this site. He feigns modesty in this honor, my friends, but in truth it has gone straight to his head, which this past week was so large it could not comfortably fit through the door when it was time for The Walk.

You can therefore imagine my pleasure at noting today that, rather than progress in the standings, this site appears to be sinking deeper and deeper into the pack. I know you must think me cruel, but a dog has few pleasures in life, and for this dog, a little schadenfreude is one of them. Indeed, where The Man is concerned, it is my chief pleasure. (1)

Let me hasten to add that this would not be so if The Man himself were a little less full of his own droppings, and a little more accurate in his assessment of my skills and abilities (and by that, I mean my cerebral abilities, for he has been perfectly adequate at portraying my physical and sensory skills).

For example, just the other day, while the Girl and the Boy and I were enjoying a fine game of Retrieve the Chewy Ball Again, Again, and Yet Again, we paused to catch our collective breaths, and I lay myself at the tiny feet of the Girl, who is peerless when it comes to scratching The Good Spot on the Ribs. While we were enjoying our brief idyll, the Man lumbered in, knuckles dragging upon the carpet.

"Daddy," asked the Girl, "Why can't Blazey do all the things we can do?"

The Boy answered instantly. "Because he's a dog and we're people, silly!"

I didn't see the need to insert myself into the discussion. When you pare it to its basics, the Boy's answer was as good an answer as any. In any event, at this juncture, my eyes were closed and I confess I was beginning to doze, a common side effect of having my ribs scratched.

But The Man wanted specifics. "What do you mean, honey?" he asked.

"Well," said the Girl. "He can't really talk or read or go to school like we do. Dogs can't drive cars or write thank-you notes like Thomas and I just had to."

"Oh, honey," said the Man. "Dogs aren't really built that way. Their minds and bodies are different so they do the things they're good at and we do the things we're good at."

"So they bark instead of talking and they're good smellers but we don't smell so good," the Girl offered. She thought a moment, then said, "But what about whistling? Or snapping your fingers? Or winking? Can they learn stuff like that?"

I should point out that over the recent holidays, both children have been trying--without any notable success--to perform the aforementioned tricks. It has been a source of some frustration for them that they have not yet mastered these endeavors (snapping remains beyond them both; their whistling consists of making screeching "weeet weeet" noises that set my teeth on edge. The Boy can do a passable wink, but the Girl is still only able to bat both eyelids shut which, while a disappointment to her, produces an expression that I find utterly adorable).

The Girl pressed her point. "I can't do those things. Can dogs?"

"No dummy!" the Boy said. "You don't know because you haven't learned yet. Dogs don't whistle or snap--they come when grown-ups whistle or snap."

"So they CAN wink?" the Girl persisted.

"Well, I don't know about that," said the Man. "I don't think you'll ever get Blazey to wink for you. And he'll never learn to do complicated things. But Blazey is smart."

By now I was almost asleep, and as much as I find the Man to be a chittering monkey, hearing this from the very edge of consciousness did cause me to twitch my tail in the slightest involuntary acknowledgement of pleasure.

Then the Man had to ruin it by opening his gaping banana-repository of a mouth one time too many. "He's very smart...for a dog. But not compared to people," he said.

And then I was fully awake.

I mean, honestly.

Setting aside for the moment this gross generalization based on three arbitrary and largely useless human tricks, I considered the specifics.

In the first place, we dogs can whistle. Through our noses. I can hardly be faulted if people mistake that whistle for whining.

In the second place: snapping? What need have I for snapping? Am I ever likely to end up at a poetry slam? To live in a manor where servants can be summoned with such an action? The fact that I lack fingers and thumbs with which to snap is completely beside the point. Opposable thumbs are vastly overrated anyway.

And as to the Girl's third task, well, let it suffice us to say that I decided not to argue that or any other of their points against canine ability. Of course, the Man's position would not have been strong enough to withstand debate. But I restrained my self because occasionally, just occasionally, it is convenient to be thought less intelligent and capable than you actually are.

But let's just keep that between us, shall we?

dog wink

With that--and a promise that the Man will soon report some very interesting news as regards the recent, unexpected visit from our neighbor (the one who reeks of Crazy)--I bid you a very good day indeed, and remain, as ever,

Your Humble Servant,


(1) Oh, for Dog's sake. Lest you think me completely heartless in all matters pertaining to him, I will relate this one anecdote: During my first winter with the Family, the Woman, the Girl and the Boy decided to walk me while the Man was back at home, preparing to go to work. It so happened that someone had slopped my water dish while walking by it, causing a considerable amount of water to puddle on the floor. I chanced to step in the water on my way to the door, but didn't give it a second thought, until I was outside, trotting along an icy sidewalk in 5-degree weather. The water that had soaked my paws was ice by the time we reached the first block. My front paws were literally freezing with every step I took. I endeavored to limp, alternating paws, but the pain was excruciating (and before you judge too harshly, I challenge YOU to wet your hands, and then walk a quarter-mile on your hands and feet in 5-degree weather. And I challenge you to do it naked, as I must every day). At last I could go no farther and lay down on the sidewalk. I couldn't help myself; I howled in pain. At 50 pounds of solid bone and sinew, I was too heavy for the Woman to lift, so the Boy was dispatched to the house. Presently, the man arrived and after seeing that I had lost some flesh on my foot pads (which had stuck to the icy sidewalk at some point), he picked me up and carried me the quarter-mile back through the cold to the house. Believe me, it was an indignity I was more than willing to endure. After installing me in my kennel and applying some sort of unguent to my sore paws, the Man stood up and then it was his turn to howl in pain. As you may be aware, he has a bad back, and when one has a bad back, carrying a 50-pound load any distance is generally not recommended. Granted, as intelligent as these people are supposed to be, one might have thought he could have piloted the car to our location and transported me thus, but never mind. I was--and remain--grateful for the gesture from that beloved idiot. Although for obvious reasons I felt this story warranted mention only as a footnote. As it were. --B

Blaze ... your the man ... I mean the dog ... I mean ... you know what I mean.

Your man needs a chewy.

"...full of his own droppings..."

That's priceless. Blaze, you need to write a book. If that nitwit Millie could get a book published I don't see what's stopping you. Tell The Man to get you an agent.
::knuckles dragging on the carpet::

Brilliant, Blaze! I do so enjoy your too few and far between contributions to the Man's site.
Thanks for the Blazey-point-of-view story. He's cooler and more cynical than Garfield. Can't wait till he gets his own site.
Are you really slipping in the polls? If so, well, how many times are we allowed to vote?
You rule Dawg!
Haha~ Blaze rocks my socks.
Woof! Woof Woof! Grrrrrrr! Woof! Bow-Wow? Woof, Woof, Woof!!!

But, of course, you know what I mean.
You can vote once a day.

I enjoyed the subtle prodding there, MM. I suppose you did say you wouldn't mention it again...

Honestly, if I were up for one of these, and I wasn't winning, I'd pull out all the stops too.

Blaze is awesome.
Well, hmm. It says you can vote once a day, but it sure didn't let me vote again!
Blaze, you're quite the wordsmith. Rock on!
Blaze, perhaps you could let The Girl know that after nearly 29 years of life, I am still not a good snapper. In fact, I can only snap using my pinky finger -- which, as you may be aware (despite your lack of opposable thumbs) -- is not the preferred method for most.
Apparently your readers are not the internet hackers that the readers of some other (obviously less worthy) Daddy blogs are. So we can only vote once.

After their voting problems are fixed (if they ever are), they should just start all over again.

You wuz robbed!
Blaze is amazing. So much smarter than any other dog I've met.

And I still can't snap either. I can barely snap my fingers if I lick them, but honestly, it's not worth the effort. I also cannot whistle nor wink. Sigh.

I lose.
Blazey Bellow Hoska Boo Boo Ba Doo,

When you have a moment, I'd love to discuss with you the possibility of you consulting for our noble protector Angel, who has not been able to master the wink.

Thank you kindly for your time,

Angel's humble servant and loyal companian
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