It’s pretty clear our wonderful little dog is losing his hearing. He responds to sharp hand claps or stomps on the floor, but not much else. I’ve considered he might be indulging in the traditional right of the elderly — selective hearing — but increasingly it seems he just doesn’t. The other day I took him for a quick walk when we were traveling, and as we circled around back to the car, the sight of Alan made him put his ears up, in a “that shape looks familiar, but I just can’t place it” sort of way, so I suppose he doesn’t see too well, either. Ah, the depredations of age. On the other hand, he still has a lust for life, and an interest in his environment, only now he relies on his sense of taste; if I let him, he’ll lick my hand for 20 minutes straight. I’m grateful shorts season is over, because for a while this summer, he was fond of tasting all our guests as they stood in the foyer, and let me tell you, it takes a serious dog person to put up with that for very long.

Needless to say, I won’t be taking him to Partridge Creek, the latest open-air mall to open in the neighborhood, which advertises itself as dog-friendly. (The billboards feature a dog with its head out the window of a car, with the legend, “Are we there yet?”) I was there today, and wondered about the wisdom of both the policy and the sorts of people who think it’s a good idea to take a giant Labrador retriever to a packed pedestrian space for no good reason other than that you can. I suppose the idea was conceived as a way to attract the Paris Hilton purse-dog contingent, but yesterday there were at least a dozen enormous breeds on display, including a few excitable specimens that really should have been somewhere else. I suppose it’s possible the owners were training their dogs to be around big crowds, but when I see an 80-pound Lab barely controlled by a 150-pound man — man in a semi-crouch, holding the leash with both hands, spluttering impotently at the pooch — I’m not reassured. Either get a collar that works, a trainer with a clue, or leave the beast at home.

Not much of a weekend, otherwise. Wrangled the last of Kate’s Halloween costume, took a couple long naps, sat poolside during a kid’s birthday party — the usual. Rented “Knocked Up” on Friday with great anticipation of yet another Apatow sweet-raunchfest, and came away disappointed. It was too long by many minutes and lurched jarringly from comedy to not-comedy. I found myself snapping my fingers for a cut, but then, am I a genius director? No, I’m just the person who has to sit through a two-hour-and-14-minute sex comedy that had not enough of either. I hope “Superbad” is better.

One of our stops Saturday was the American Apparel store, where I offered my child as a model. Ha ha kidding — I was really on my never-ending quest for a simple, well-cut, white T-shirt made of fabric thick enough you can’t read your watch through it. The verdict: The search goes on. But hey, I found a scoop-neck, cap-sleeve specimen seemingly spun by anorexic spiders for the low low price of $30. Forget reading your watch through it; you could have read the box scores from the agate page through it, which I suppose is the point, but jeez, it’s a damn T-shirt. HOW HARD IS IT TO GET THIS ITEM CORRECT? It’s like a cup of coffee. Two ingredients, an infinite number of ways to screw it up. This should be a Project Runway assignment. A grateful nation would make the winner rich.


I was thinking if I were Mitch Albom’s editor, how easy my work would be. Take today’s. It begins:

When did adults start dressing for Halloween?

I’d write, “About 30 years ago, by my reckoning. Thanks for noticing, but see if you can’t do better by deadline. — Ed.” Then a big red X through the next 600 words, and careful placement in the middle of his desk.

Only it doesn’t work that way, not anymore. I doubt Albom has a desk in the newsroom, and anyway, no editor bosses him around, and anyway, he has an excuse — his other Sunday column, the one in Sports, lets everyone know just who has the biggest d–, er, book sales in the newsroom, who’s been on Oprah, and who better look the other way when three out of four nine out of ten nearly all the Sunday Metro columns are lame-ass. (Cf: iPods: What’s up with that? or School shootings: What’s up with that?)

Ah, well. I’m not one to talk, am I?

Here’s a somewhat meatier story, an oldie but goodie: Mark Jacobson’s 2000 profile of Frank Lucas, currently being played by Denzel Washington in “American Gangster.” Many choice passages, much rich detail, lots of heroin.

Finally, Fox Business anchor or porn star? I only got 50 percent right on this quiz. It’s that difficult.

Posted at 8:00 am in Media, Movies, Same ol' same ol' |

24 responses to “Dogworld.”

  1. Dorothy said on October 29, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Okay I confess. I wasn’t in Michigan, but I did take my 50 lb. dog to a packed pedestrian place on Saturday in Pittsburgh. Here’s proof:
    However he was very well behaved and we got to indulge ourselves a little, without worrying that he was barking non stop in the car, scaring little kids and elderly people who venture too close to “his” car. And I weigh a bit more than 150 lbs. my ownself, so I had no trouble controlling him, I’m happy to report! It was fun to take Augie to Pittsburgh for the first time. He gave it his full approval!

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  2. MichaelG said on October 29, 2007 at 8:48 am

    I got 70% which is pretty lucky since I don’t watch faux news and haven’t a clue about who any of those women were.
    People don’t need to bring their dogs to malls. Not stepping on gum is enough of a problem without adding new features to the minefield. What happened to good manners?

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  3. John said on October 29, 2007 at 8:53 am

    I’m with Michael (70%), but I do look at the screaming meemies occasionally over on Fox. And I tried to cheat by looking for plastic surgery marks, but now I’m not sure if that is the best discriminator. Oh, and my porn film viewing days are quite behind me. However I did watch “Blow-Up” this weekend which evidently was quite risque when it was released.

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  4. brian stouder said on October 29, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Pam and I also rented Knocked Up this last weekend; it was worth the two bucks, but I’d have been unhappy if we did the full-movie-price for it.

    As for porn star news babes, I always thought it was funny that the CNN financial chick was named Willow Bay. From the looks of Fox financial, there must exist some market research somewhere that screams out “NO!!” to the idea of hiring middle-aged men in grey suits to read the days news about the Dow industrials and the state of the gdp.

    (edit – 6/10; my strategy was to pick FOX business for every answer that could go either way, and for the visibly older people)

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  5. del said on October 29, 2007 at 9:31 am

    I got 70%. Seems Murdoch’s copying the business model of CNBC; Maria Bartiromo is the “money honey.”

    Nice pic, Dorothy.

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  6. LA mary said on October 29, 2007 at 9:51 am

    I confess to bringing Smokey the lab to Old Town Pasadena, but he’s extremely well behaved, honest. Max, the dane/boxer is even better in crowds, but he scares the crap out of people so I don’t bring him. He’s almost twice as big as Smokey. Poppy is about 75 pounds, and she’s good on leash, but a little intimidated by crowds, so I don’t bring her out often. I suspect Smokey may have had some serious training by his previous owner since he has really excellent skills in crowds. He doesn’t approach anyone first, but will sit and let people pet him if they approach him. No licking, no pulling, no barking. He’s a very good dog. Every day I wonder why someone turned him in at the shelter.

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  7. Dorothy said on October 29, 2007 at 10:04 am

    I got 8 out of 10 correct in the quiz. And thanks, Del.

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  8. Linda said on October 29, 2007 at 10:13 am

    LA Mary, I don’t wonder why great pets end up at the shelter. I was a volunteer at a shelter once, and the best pet I ever had was a middle-aged cat that I got, Spitfire. He loved people and animals alike. You would be shocked at why people turn over pets–they are moving, or bored, or lie about the landlord letting them own a pet when they adopt an animal, etc. One woman turned her cat over because she was fleeing an abusive marriage, and the shelter she lived in wouldn’t take animals. I read where someone turned in their Dalmation to a rescue organization because HE NO LONGER MATCHED HER DECOR. God, if I was the intake worker, it would be all I could not not to clock her.

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  9. MichaelG said on October 29, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Whence comes this impulse to put one’s hands on other people’s dogs? Especially without asking. We once had a huge (120 lb) but cuddly looking Golden Retriever named Blondie. She was very protective of my daughter when the kid was young. She would get very edgy when people got too close. A few people were insulted at Blondie’s — shall we say — lack of appreciation for their well meaning but ill-considered gestures. Oh, and for some reason she didn’t like piss bums. I can’t believe that monster used to sleep in our bed. When personal activities commenced she would just retreat to the floor. I wouldn’t mind having a dog, but I live alone and it wouldn’t work with my traveling two or three days a week.

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  10. nancy said on October 29, 2007 at 10:21 am

    Believe it or not, I’ve heard the doesn’t-match-the-decor story before, and it was a black dog that suffered as a result. I thought black and white goes with everything.

    As for you public dog-walkers, you get a pass. This time.

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  11. LA mary said on October 29, 2007 at 10:33 am

    I used to take my first dane, Charlie, whenever I went to the ATM. No one got too close to me.
    Good t-shirts? You know about Lands End and Eddie Bauer, no? Nordstrom store brand t-shirts are great, too, and not terribly expensive.

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  12. ellen said on October 29, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    I second Mary on Eddie Bauer and Nordstrom’s for white Ts. If you are size 14 or higher, Lane Bryant has decent T’s, too. Really well cut. Often on sale.

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  13. Mindy said on October 29, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Six out of ten for me. Very shameful since Faux News is always blaring on the telly whenever I visit the dear mother, which is often.

    My dog is so ill behaved when he first meets people at our house that we must crate him before they arrive until he calms down enough to behave himself. Then he’s okay as long as the visitors don’t mind having a stuffed duck toy repeatedly dropped at their feet. Other dog owners that we see frequently on our favorite walks have told us that we don’t need to leash Eli when we happen on each other. So they get Eli running circles around their feet and I get Killian leaning against my knees, usually after he’s been for a swim.

    T-shirts: L.L. Bean. Their Unshrinkable Tee has become my daytime uniform. Lightweight but not see-through. And they really don’t shrink. If you’re a cotton purist as I am, order a pair of jeans if you decide to go for a tee. L.L. Bean is the only place I can find women’s jeans in 100% cotton. I hate the stretch denim that’s become the norm. They there’s an elastic waist if you so desire. I’m sunk if they’re ever discontinued.

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  14. harry near indy said on October 29, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    nancy, if any editor had done what you had suggested to albom’s column, i would bet that the editor would’ve gotten fired after that primo don (masculine of prima donna?) had tossed a conniption fit.

    albom, tony kornheiser, mike lupica … what is it about sportswriters getting on national tv, and then acting like they’re hot stuff because their prose is as good as, say, george orwell?

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  15. LA mary said on October 29, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Speaking of LL Bean, Land’s End and Eddie Bauer, if you want to cut down on the number of catalogs you get, you can go to this website and remove yourself from mailing lists.

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  16. alex said on October 29, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Four out of ten. The little caption below read “fair and balanced.” Guess I shouldn’t be surprised as I don’t watch Fox at all and always thought their female anchors looked slutty.

    T-shirts? The Gap. They last forever. Or I should say, they look so incredible when they’re distressed that you won’t want to throw them away. No matter how soft the cloth becomes, you won’t see your watch or anything else through the weave. I have a bunch of them and refer to them as my skank tops. They’re my faves.

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  17. Laura said on October 29, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Mindy, how can you hate spandex denim? It’s what I live for.

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  18. MarkH said on October 30, 2007 at 2:42 am

    I fully realize I’m the exception to the rule here at NN.C, but, heck, that’s ok. I got 9 out of 10. Why? Because I’ve watched it (FBN), and business-relates programs on Fox News, of course.

    Why? Because I work as a mortgage banker and if Murdoch thinks he can go head-to-head with CNBC, or even Bloomberg for that matter, with financial info, and sustain an audience, I want to know what his people have to say and why. BTW, also I figure most of you who got good scores either a.) know your porn stars when you see them, b.) you actually have tuned into a FOX channel now and then, or c.) the odds are at relatively 50-50 anyway, so someone lucking into 6 or 7 isn’t such a stretch.

    My take? del’s right: you gotta target CNBC, try to best them. They are the best however, by a mile, and I’d say it’s damn near impossible to do that. They have a much better team of journalists, who consistently provide hard financial info, even genuine scoops; even the political angles are played lightly, and ususually only when a politician may have a legitimate role or genuinely newsworthy assessment. From Mark Haines’ total lack of patience with lame, BS answers to questions, to Rick Santelli’s to-the-point assessments of monetary markets, stories and analysis from Joe Kiernan, David Faber and Erin Burnett, et. al., CNBC will remain #1, from my view.

    And, del, Bartiromo is now more of a side show; a nice looking woman who provides the audience with not much more substantive stuff than any other of the (really good) reporters there. She seems to be attaining a poor man’s Barbara Walters status, so to speak, of the financial news set. She commands attention merely because she does the talking, otherwise nothing really impressive, imho.

    The reason Fox’s new business network (probably) won’t make it is, the audience they are after is not the same as the one they pander to on FoxNews; the don’t have the time or the patience for sensationalism for its own sake. In other words they won’t take to the political angles that Fox seems to all-to-frequently inject into their ongoing financial coverage. Oh, there are equal parts of conservative/liberal, republican/democrat give-and-take. But…why? Business/financial people, if they’re watching, are waiting on news they need immediately, when it happens and some clear-headed analysis, NOW. FWIW, CNBC does all that.

    Here’s the irony on this newsbabe angle, however. The most blatant, sexed-up, and legitimate knock-out financial newsbabe ever is not Maria Bartiromo. But up until July she spent five years at CNBC. She quit in July, abruptly, waited for her 90-day no-compete clause to be up and is now at, yes, FOX Busines News. Liz Claman is a great on-air talent, knowledgable in the financial area, does a great job. BUT, she also has a huge legitimate reputation as a hottie, due not in small part to her, let’s say, revealing attire on CNBC. Just google her name and see how many sites come up. It’s no wonder she utterly charms Warren Buffet, for example, and when me makes news, she always gets the first interview. But it seems Fox has yet to capitalize on her, uh, assets, the way CNBC did.

    Other topic: we have a dog-napping problem in a neighboring valley out here. In Star Valley, Wyoming (home of former Olympic wrestler Rulon Gardner), which stretches for some 35 miles southwest of here, retrievers have gone missing, mostly Labs but a few Goldens, some dozen or so in the last 60 days. No one can figure it out. Most dog owners are keeping their dogs inside, especially at night these days, regardless of breed.

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  19. Mindy said on October 30, 2007 at 5:44 am

    Spandex denim feels like wearing a plastic bag to me, Laura. It also hugs the wrong curves when I put it on then looks worse as it gets baggy. Spandex cotton t-shirts don’t get baggy but have that same plastic bag feel. Shopping has been an exercise in frustration lately because everything has gone stretchy. Even white cotton socks.

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  20. del said on October 30, 2007 at 8:29 am

    Aha! Fox News got Bartiromo, figures. Murdoch’s a genius. There’s something about that woman that I detest — and yet I cannot divert my gaze from her — preternatural siren’s lure, that’s what it is.

    Mark H, enjoyed your post. Seemed accurate to me (but be advised that all of my major financial decisions have turned sour. e.g, got into tech stocks in March of 2000). My impression of CNBC is that it’s a cheerleader for the market generally. In that way it differs from regular news that grabs our attention with fear and anxiety (if it bleeds it leads). Seems to me that financial news is a bit escapist. The goal is to lift the audience’s spirits. Even bearish news is turned into chatter about earning possibilities. So maybe FBN doesn’t have to play to the same audience as its news program. And one other thing, I’ve heard that the Fox people always go soft on China (presumably because of Murdoch’s business interests involving it). We’ll have to wait and see.

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  21. harry near indy said on October 30, 2007 at 9:35 am

    what about jim cramer? i know he’s a side show by himself — what i’ve seen of him, he act like a combination of carnival barker and geek — what does he offer anything of substance?


    you’re right about murdoch and china — he has a financial interest in it. he’ll tell the reporters to ixnay the adbay ewsnay omfray inachay, and they’ll fold like patio furniture in a strong wind.

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  22. LA mary said on October 30, 2007 at 9:43 am

    Maria Bartiromo really sucked on celebrity Jeopardy.

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  23. James said on October 30, 2007 at 10:03 am

    On the Fox Anchor quiz; I got 8 out of 10 right,

    Just choose the nastiest looking tart, and you’ve picked the Fox anchor.

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  24. del said on October 30, 2007 at 11:12 am

    LA mary,
    Not at all surprised . . .

    harry near indy,
    My guess is that Murdoch won’t even have to direct his troops at all, they’ll just fall in line. Organizational psychology 101 — follow the leader.

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