August 2006

2006
Aug
31

Dog Dazed

There is so much more about famous dogs I could write that didn’t fit in the 5Top Dogs (for the 21st Century), and I don’t have anyplace else to write it, so here it is: In Real Life, my semi-faithful but incredibly lovable dog of 14 years passed away two-and-a-half years ago and has yet to be replaced (for a number of annoying Real Life reasons). I sometimes use the old joke “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most,” but that’s not true. I miss my dog more.

On the lighter side, the Self-Proclaimed World’s Greatest Pop Culture Site, RetroCrush, made a list of the 100 Greatest Dogs of Pop Culture History, and the former Accounting Analyst in me had to statistically study the list (No, it didn’t take six months; I put all my notes on a sheet of paper that that got buried for six months – come to think of it, I do miss my mind more).

Here are all the dogs, seperated into semi-logical categories. However, some dogs fall into more than one category (they have asterisks *), so the total will be greater than 100. So sue me.

(Live-Action) Dogs from Movies or TV (24) – Shiloh, Blood from A Boy and his Dog, The Littlest Hobo, Tiger from The Brady Bunch, Hooch, Asta from The Thin Man, Beethoven, Otis of Milo and Otis, King from Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, Indiana (the Jones dog), The Shaggy Dog, Air Bud, Wishbone*, Eddie from Frasier, Chopper in Stand By Me, Cujo*, Hercules from The Sandlot, Rin Tin Tin, (top 20) Toto, Petey from The Little Rascals, (#10) Flash from Dukes of Hazzard, (#7) Benji, (#4) Old Yeller, (#3) Lassie.
Cartoon Dogs – 38 – Seymour from Futurama, Hot Dog from Archie*, 101 Dalmations, Mr. Cool from that awful Fonz cartoon, Sparky from South Park, Spike from Rugrats, Manfred the Wonder Dog from Tom Terrific, Blue (and his Clues), Wonder Dog from Superfriends, Clifford the Big Red Dog*, Santa’s Little Helper from The Simpsons, Balto, Lady and the Tramp, Nana from Peter Pan*, Augie Doggie, Slinky Dog from Toy Story*, Poochie from Itchy & Scratchy/The Simpsons, Brain from Inspector Gadget, Astro from The Jetsons, Dynomutt, Deputy Dawg, Bandit from Jonny Quest, Huckleberry Hound, Droopy, Brian from Family Guy, Pluto, (top 20) Hong Kong Phooey, Krypto the Superdog*, Muttley, Snowy from Tin Tin*, Underdog, Mr. Peabody, Goliath, (#8) Gromit, (#6) Ren Hoek, (#5) Goofy, (#2) Scooby Doo, (#1) Snoopy*.
Dogs from Books (11) – Clifford the Big Red Dog*, The Poky Little Puppy, Spot from Dick and Jane, Ribsy from Henry Huggins, Carl the Coloring Book Dog, Kipper, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Wishbone*, Cujo*, Old Dan and Little Ann from Where the Red Fern Grows, (#9) White Fang.

Comic Book Dogs (7) – Hot Dog from Archie*, Lockjaw of Marvel’s Inhumans, Dollar from Richie Rich, Sam from Sam & Max*, Ace the Bathound, (top 20) Krypto the Superdog*, Snowy from Tin Tin*.

Comic Strip Dogs (9) – Farley from For Better or for Worse, Fred Basset, Ruff from Dennis the Menace, Marmaduke, Daisy from Blondie, Odie from Garfield, Sandy from Little Orphan Annie, Dogbert, (#1) Snoopy*.

Dogs from Other Media (2) – Nana from Peter Pan* (stage), Cerberus the Hound of Hades (mythology).

Toys (2) – Slinky Dog from Toy Story, Legos’ Lucky aka Fido the Lego dog.

Video Game Dogs (2) – Sam from Sam & Max*, Parappa the Rapper.

Puppets (3) – Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Rowlf of the Muppets, Fleegle of the Banana Splits.

Dog Logos (6) – Ubu for Gary David Goldberg’s Ubu Productions, Tige for Buster Brown Shoes, Nipper for RCA, Spuds McKensie for Bud Light, the Taco Bell Chihuahua, McGruff the Crime Dog.

Not Really Dogs (4) -: Junkyard Dog (wrestler), Zero from The Nightmare Before Christmas (ghost), K-9 from Doctor Who (robot), Dino from The Flintstones (dinosaur).

Real Life Dogs (2) – Richard Nixon’s Checkers, (#18) Laika the Cosmonaut.
coolidge_boldbluff-03.jpg

Of course, these lists only exist to be talked about – and complained about, and I don’t know why the Dogs Playing Poker didn’t make the list so I put them on mine. Some other good suggestions, (taken from the site’s own comments): Courage the Cowardly Dog, the Grinch’s dog Max, Looney Tunes’ Sam Sheepdog, Snoop Dogg, Frank the Pug from Men in Black and Fred from Smokey and the Bandit (so easily confused with Flash from Dukes). Then there are Olive the Other Reindeer (we all know she was really a dog), The Angriest Dog in the World, George Clinton’s Atomic Dog, White Fang and Black Tooth from the Soupy Sales Show (you had to be there), the Scotty playing piece in Monopoly, Mr. Bill’s dog Spot and Cal Worthington’s dog Spot (okay, the joke was that it was always some other kind of animal, but there are already a robot, a ghost, a dinosaur and a wrestler on the list).

Apparently, the list maker did made some adjustments after it was first weblished, dropping Dog the Bounty Hunter, and Barf, John Candy’s half-dog-half-man character from Spaceballs. And why were Laika and Checkers the only non-fiction, non-showbiz dogs on the list? Just among predidential dogs’ it could’ve included FDR’s Fala and Barbara Bush’s bestselling Millie. And what about frisbee superstar Ashley Whippet? And Pavlov’s Dog?

manfred1.gifManfred the Wonder Dog deserves better than #84, and the Superfriends’ unoriginal and inferior “Wonder Dog” should NOT have been ranked above him. Also, the picture of him used was not very good… the Tom Terrific cartoons were NOT in color (CBS was pissed that NBC’s parent company RCA made the FCC-approved color TV system and defiantly stayed all-black-and-white at the time) but if they were in color, Manfred certainly would NOT have been pink.

I’m glad that Rowlf the Muppet was ranked above Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and Mr. Peybody above Underdog, but placing Dynomutt one spot above The Jetsons’ Astro? Astro should’ve been Top 20, even above Muttley among Hanna-Barbera dogs. And you never realize how many dogs H-B animated until you see a list like this; it didn’t even include Reddy from Ruff & Reddy, Yacky Doodle’s friend Chopper or Two Stupid Dogs (but they would’ve caught hell if they’d listed Scrappy Doo).

Not much I would’ve done differently in the Top 10, except Toto deserved to be top 5, dropping Old Yeller to the second 5, while Goliath should’ve been in there too, with Flash and White Fang in the second ten at best. In fact, I’d have substituted Fred for Flash and Buck from Call of the Wild for White Fang myself.

AND NOW A WORD FROM SOMEBODY WHO MAY HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ME...
Aug
31

Words Worth the Paper They’re Written On

My paper towels have quotes on them. The Sparkle brand towels have some kind of semi-abstract flowers going down the outside edges, while in the middle are the words:

If you love life, life will love you back – Arthur Rubinstein (the pianist)

The greatest happiness in the world is to make others happy – Luther Burbank (the botanist)

and…
With every rising of the sun,
think of your life as just begun – Anon (the annoyingly prolific writer)

Okay, a little uplifting philosophy to greet you while you sop up the spilled spaghetti sauce on the kitchen floor. Certainly better than towels printed with “YOU SLOB! CLEAN UP THIS AWFUL MESS YOU’VE MADE”.

The website for Sparkle towels has a Gallery of Print Designs, and strangely, this design is not in there. It does have some words on some of its “Nature” designs. The “Butterfly Zen” features the statement “nature forever puts a premium on reality” between the butterflies, and “Dragonflies” shows two quotes, “In the present, every day is a miracle” – James Gould Cozzens (Pulitzer Prize winning novelist for “Guard of Honor”), and “The future belongs to those who live intensely in the present” – that Anon dude again. I guess it’s useful, after all, if you don’t clean up the spaghetti sauce with your paper towels in the present, it’ll dry and you have to use a scrubber, which is too small to put good quotes on. The “Ocean” designs include “Life’s Simple Pleasures”, which has little pictures of a sun, a sailboat and an island with the words “The Simple Pleasures in Life” running between them. (Sparkle’s towel designers have obviously never experienced the less-pleasurable parts of boat ownership) And “My Destination” has sailboats and little fishy things around the non-attributed quote “I can’t change the direction of the wind, / but I can adjust my sails / to always reach my destination.” Yeah, but to get there in less than a week, sometimesyou need the auxiliary motor. After that, it’s all Sesame Street, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (the Rankin-Bass version – only available during the Christmas season, which I believe has already started) and Scooby Doo designs, including one called “Scooby Snacks”. Based on the number of designs, Scooby is a lot messier than Rudolph or the Sesame Street gang. Or the Sparkle people are using their towels as rolling papers.
And then there’s the “Sparkle Racing Team” featuring Jeff Gordon, although based on the pictures of his car, Sparkle is pretty much number 2 to “DuPont” as his sponsor. But it makes sense. DuPont makes a lot of things you might spill and have to clean up with a paper towel (and plenty of things that could dissolve a paper towel in nothing flat). It’s just nice to know that somebody’s working hard to keep his pit clean.

2006
Aug
30

Big WOW

I have seen many other blogs and sites get into the practice of ‘theme days’ with catchy, usually alliterative names: Flash Friday, Twofer Tuesday, Web Wednesday (could you be a bit more specific?), My Monday, Five-Link Friday, More-Link Monday, Top Ten Tuesday, World’s Worst Wednesday, Thursday Thirteen, Meta Monday, Wiki Wednesday, YouTube Tuesday, Foodie Friday, Sarcasm Saturday, Son of a Sunday, Therapy Thursday, Throbbing Thursday, Sacrilegious Saturday, Treasonous Tuesday, Steal Everything from Fark Friday and Doctor Who Wednesday (somebody doesn’t quite get the concept of alliteration).

Since my name is rather similar to “Wednesday” (in fact, I briefly refered to Wednesday as ‘Wendellsday’ here until I received a cease and desist order from the Society of Guys Named Wendell Trying to Keep Their Dignity), and since my last post was something I openly admitted was only interesting to me (and, apparently, the one before was only funny to me), I have decided to post only my most self-absorbed items on Wednesday and call it… (drum roll, please… no, not cowbell, drum roll)

WENDELL ONLY WEDNESDAY (with the acronym W.O.W. – get it?)

This way, readers expecting some minimal level of quality can skip this blog one day a week and not feel guilty (you do feel guilty when you miss a day, don’t you?) and I can save up all my brain farts for one day a week and not feel like I’m letting my 7 readers down.

So, from now on Wednesday is W.O.W. day… and I seem to be getting it off to a very good start.

Aug
30

Flipping My Lid

There comes a time in the life of every blogger, and his-or-her blog, when he-or-she decides to post something, not because it’s interesting or funny or will inform people or just piss them off or even because everybody else is blogging it, but just because he-or-she thought of it. I’m not talking about the slow-day posts that are made just to remind people you’re still blogging even though Apple hasn’t announced a new product, YouTube is down and you haven’t gotten the latest email from Karl Rove with your manditory talking points. I’m talking about the post that just tells the world “I don’t give a thefword.png if nobody else gives a thefword.png about what I have to say; here’s what I have to say.” Because every blogger starts out believing they have some purpose in blogging and other people will have a purpose for reading your blog. Even those people on LiveJournal, although they usually reach the “don’t care” point in the first week.

Well, I have reached that point, and what follows is my first absolutely “don’t care” post:

I was reminded recently of the great old Beany & Cecil cartoons, who were serious competition for Rocky & Bullwinkle for about 15 minutes, due to the particiption of ex-Looney Tunes director Bob Clampett and the immortal Stan Freberg doing the voices of Cecil the Sea-Sick Sea Serpent and the regular villain, Dishonest John (aka D.J.). The show was filled with inventive ideas, most of them quite punny like the characters of Tear-Along, the Dotted Lion and the beatnik caveman Vincent Van Go-Go, the heroes’ trusty/rusty boat the Leakin’ Lena and the how’d-they-get-this-past-the-censors-in-1962 location of No-Bikini Atoll. But what I remember most vividly are two things: One, the way Cecil sang the last two lines of the show’s theme song, first ‘signing in’ as “your obedient serpent” (another glorious pun) and finishing off by belting out “a Bob Clampett Cartooo-oooon!” with that last extra syllable jumping up an octave, inspiring the way I have sung “Happy Birthday” every time since (“Happy Birthday to yoooo-ooooo!”), and also, I suspect, inspiring every successful singer on “Star Search” and “American Idol”. Second, I remember the sequence in the opening when everybody in the cast (even Dishonest John) would “flip your lids”, launching the propellor off the top of propellor beanies that are the character Beany’s defining (and namesake) characteristic, not to mention the most successful item ever marketed from the show. Yes, way back then, some of the better cartoons were very “toyetic”. And after all, you couldn’t really enjoy the show unless you were wearing (having gotten your parents to buy you) the Official Beany Beanie, and you launched the propellor inside the TV room while you were watching. (If they’d had warning labels back then, it most certainly would have had one advising wearers to only ‘flip your lid’ while outside. Oh well, your mom never should’ve put that vase on top of the TV anyway.) But then, during the show’s closing, they re-sang a different version of the theme, playing the ‘flip your lids’ sequence backwards (I never could get the propellor to land back on my head like that) and then singing “Wind up your lids, we’ll flip again real soon”, and I – remember I was 7 years old then – wondered if it was a good idea to wind up the propellor beanies, since you weren’t going to officially flip them for another 167-and-a-half hours. Wouldn’t that put unnecessary stress on the spring/rubber band/whatever that made it work? And what if a ‘wound up’ beanie went off accidentally? I didn’t care about my mom’s vase, but in my room I had some cool Revell model cars holding together by the smallest amount of glue possible that it could damage. Yes, I thought that way as a child. And I will never stop singing “Happy Birthday” like Cecil (which I guess is why i don’t get invited to many birthday parties).

Aug
30

Blather

I believe in following directions as long as they are not obviously harmful or contrary to my moral cose, OK?
It says “Lather. Rinse. Repeat.”

So why does everybody stare at me when I’m still repeating “Lather. Rinse.” after I go out?

2006
Aug
29

Too Much Educational

I was sailing down the Amazon.com looking for things cool and fun (although I have not yet read all the books and viewed all the DVDs I got the last time), after setting up a pre-order for the highly anticipated “The Tick Vs. Season One” (which is the animated series with the former Monkee playing Arthur, not the live-action version with Puddy playing The Tick). Anyway, I stumbled upon a just-released Sesame Street video that suggests to me that the residents of that prestigious address have finally taken a flying leap over an oceanic predator*: “Elmo’s Potty Time”. To quote the official Product Description, “This amusing and song-filled DVD teaches children that everyone- mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, and even monsters- has to learn how to use the potty.” Okay, but it also states that the video features “Elmo, Baby Bear, Grover, and other Sesame Street friends”. That’s where I have to take issue with the educational accuracy of this production. Don’t bears do it in the woods?

As for me, I’m obviously going to have to do some more semi-professional writing if I’m going to be able to afford All Eight Seasons of “Red Dwarf” in a single box. At least the ‘Complete Collection’ is a better deal than purchasing each of the Eight 8-episode season/series seperately (which is why I haven’t acquired any of the individual seasons yet). But still, I am severely tempted by the Series 8 (With On-Pack Skutter Toy), because what middle-aged sci-fi comedy fanboy doesn’t want his own Skutter? I just wish I remembered what a Skutter was. I just hope it isn’t a device for toilet training Muppets.

*Jumping the Shark. I’m just tired of saying “Jumping the Shark”. You might say that “Jumping the Shark” has………… no, I won’t say it.

Aug
28

I’m a Wiener! (one in a very occasional series)

As you may know, I exercise my creative muscles from time to time and remind myself how to write pieces of less than 3000 words by entering caption contests. I was a proud runner-up in April Winchell’s ShitiBank Slogan competition and once won the semi-presigious Edge Curve Caption Contest (plus a couple “Runners Up” as well as gettingHonorable Mentionoodles and oodles and oodly oodles of times). vesta200.jpgSo it comes as less of a surprise and more of an overdue honor that I have won the mentalfloss.com “identify the colorful blob contest” (Most Creative But Totally Inaccuate Answer) with The terrible scene after Rainbow Brite jumped off the Empire State Building.”

And yes, I did make several other entries, which were:

?Walt Disney?s Wonderful World of Color (after Mr. D attended a ?60s screening of ?Fantasia? with a pot-smoking audience)”

A 99-mile-an-hour fastball at the instant it hits the umpire?s mask.
A sample of Pizza Hut?s rejected line of ?ALL artificial ingredients pizzas?.

A screenshot of Windows Vista?s relacement for ?the blue screen of doom?.

Or just the latest picture from Lebanon by a certain photographer who used to work for Reuters.

Of course, I live just a few miles east of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant (really!), and one of the pictures almost perfectly matches the nighttime view from my front porch.

So I have won a fabulous prize valued at over $12.95 (with shipping and manhandling)!!! I feel so darn honored, I must take the acceptance speech I?ve been saving for just such an occasion out of my pocket (If you’ve already read it at one of the many other places I’ve posted it, just skip ahead one paragraph).

I can?t tell you how honored this makes me feel, but my therapist has told me I should be able to after a couple more years of twice-weekly sessions. Unfortunately, he used to be Woody Allen?s therapist, but I digress. I?d like to thank (the academy/the committee/the voters/the 20-sided dice) that decided I was deserving of this honor, as well as my agent (how he?s gonna get ten percent of this book I have no idea) and I?d especially like to thank my parents for making all of me possible, but that?s another issue I?m working on with my therapist. And finally, I?d like to thank the Asteroid Vesta, the NASA technicians and their dealer and especially the lovely Rainbow Brite, without whose horrible death this wouldn?t have been possible. On behalf of partially-warped minds with cable internet access everywhere, I?d like to say, get off the stage; I won this all by myself.

On top of that, those wonderful folks at mentalfloss.com (who are the same people as mental_floss magazine, just not allowed to use that underscore by the Evil Overlords of the Internet) have quoted my Pluto-free planet mnemonic elsewhere in their blog, linking back to someplace on this site (which I have now made into an infinite loop of links from which you readers will never escape! Bwahahaha!). Now, if you will excuse me, I need to let some air out of my head.

Aug
28

Animaniacal

I am always re-analyzing the design of this blog… is it too cluttered, or not cluttered enough? Should I give more prominence to the links that I can make money from (BUY A T-SHIRT) or is that too crass and Farky? I recently changed the little randomly selected icons to the left of my title logo (yeah. up there.) so that they are all animated icons, and then I thought “What is this, 1999? Animated gifs are so so so so tacky, I might as well be on MySpace*!” So, I leave it up to you, my (at last count) seven readers.

Please leave a comment with one of these pre-packaged responses:

A) I have no problem with a little animation on a web page; you’re OK.
B) Those little animated thingies are a clear display of Web lowlife tackiness. Take them off.
C) Those little animated thingies are a clear display of Web lowlife tackiness. Leave them on – they’re YOU.
D) They’re OK, except for the (hammer, head-pounder, static, thumb-twiddler, scary bunny)
E) You like animated graphics? Get a load of MY page (with link)
F) Forget about the graphics, get yourself a real Web Poll widget. This is stupid.

Thank you (I think).

*Yes, I know I have stated unequivocably that MySpace and all of NewsCorp are totally evil, but I decided you have to keep your firends close and your enemies even closer, besides, I didn’t want anybody else getting the unique ID “wendellwit” there, and, heck, sometimes you need to have a place where you can act like a teenaged girl right? Omigod!!

2006
Aug
27

As Many Jokes as Blades

wenger_264.jpg This is NOT a Swiss Army Knife.
This is…

A) the entire f@$&ing Swiss Army
B) a Swiss Army Corps of Engineers Knife
C) the contents of a Swiss Bank
D) only issued to Ninjas who know how to kill a man with every impliment
E) Microsoft Knife
F) what will put the guy in the Knives Sharpened kiosk’s kids through college
G) In boxes of Kelloggs cereal (because it costs less than the cereal it displaces)
H) Everything confiscated at the Burbank Airport in the last year (and if it weren’t for the hair gel, it’d never stick together)
I) Replacing an extra nurse in budget-minded operating rooms across the country
J) from the Lost Episode of Tim Allen’s “Home Improvement”
K) required equipment for the first All Obsessive Compulsive Street Gang
L) The kind of knife you can bring to a gunfight
M) Survivalist Bling
N) The minimum required to get the case of my desk computer open
O) A prop from “Saw VII”
P) an Israeli Army Knife
Q) a Chinese Army Knife
R) an Army of Darkness Knife
S) an Army of One Knife
T) a Charlie’s Garden Army Knife
U) a Tool’s Tool (as in “a Man’s Man”)
V) a less impressive torture device than continuous showings of the South Park Movie
W) when guns are outlawed, what will keep Uzi owners from complaining
X) currently imbedded six inches into my skull as I write this… (and I told them “Do Not Apply Directly to Forehead”)