Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Love Me, Love My Dog

The year sure has flown by! I started the year with the Dog Series and it's been so much fun discovering the various dog phrases and idioms. I thought it would be fitting to end the year with an uplifting dog phrase - "Love Me, Love My Dog". This is one of the rare phrases that actually derives its meaning from the words that make up the phrase. It simply means this - if you love somebody, you should accept everything and everyone that person loves. Simple yet powerful! All our humans can understand that coz we all know that's how they feel about us, their beloved canines.

And so, this Christmas, here's spreading the message of true love - "Love Me, Love My Dog"! Have a blessed Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dog and Pony Show

What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word "Dog and Pony Show"?

Perhaps it's the clever poodle jumping through a series of hoops...

Or a pony ride that all kids love to go on...

Note: Photos taken at the Chok Chai Farm, Bangkok, Thailand

Well, you wouldn't be wrong. The slang "Dog and Pony Show" is a colloquial term used in the United States to refer to the small travelling circuses that toured the small towns. The name was derived from the performing dogs and ponies that were the main attractions of the circus.

Today, the slang "Dog and Pony Show" refers to "An elaborate presentation orchestrated to gain approval for a policy or product" [From the razzle-dazzle of the trained animal acts.] I guess we see a lot of "Dog and Pony Shows" in politics! In fact, some of these acts are so well orchestrated that they beat the real animal shows hands down.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Taj Mahal - A Dog's Dinner

"A Dog's Dinner" is another one of those dog phrases that has nothing to do with the words that make up the phrase. I'm a simple beagle. I think that phrases should mean what they say. If it's a dog's dinner, then it really should be what a dog eats for dinner.

But, as we've discovered through the entire "Dog Series" this year, dog phrases aren't as simple as it seems. In this case, "A Dog's Dinner" means "Dressed or displayed in an ostentatiously smart manner". Since mum was in India recently, we thought that a good example of this phrase is the Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. Located in Agra, India, the Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It took 22 years to complete. Mum says the Taj is more that just a smart display, it is a magnificent architecture showcasing Persian, Indian and Islamic elements. I'll have to take her word for it since I wasn't there in India with her. As always, I get left behind when my humans travel. My only consolation is that dad was left behind this time too...

Anyway, if you're interested in reading a bit more about the Taj and viewing some more photos, pop by mum's blog and read her post on "The Taj Mahal - Seven Wonders of the World"

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's a dog's life in Delhi

I had started off my blog this year with a post on "It's a dog's life". There are 2 schools of thought as to the meaning of this phrase. The older definition which dates back to the 16th century- "a miserable, unhappy existence" refers to the terrible life of working dogs during this era. The second meaning, which seems to have evolved over time is in direct contrast to the first -"A life of indolence where the individual may do as he or she pleases, just like a pampered dog."

Well, mum is in India at the moment, her first trip to this country and she says that for the strays in Delhi, the first definition seems to apply. During her 5-hour car journey to Agra to visit the majestic Taj Mahal, she had her first encounter with one aspect of Indian rural life. Her heart broke when she saw the strays rummaging through rubbish, some with limps from being hit by a vehicle. It's not just the dogs that have a 16th century dog's life. The cows and horses do too. Admittedly, the humans themselves are poor, some of them living on the sidewalks. Of course, when she saw the strays, she can't help thinking about one very lucky Indian dog - Oorvi. It only takes one human to make a difference to a dog's life!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Dog's Breakfast

Coming off my last post on "Sick as a Dog", I thought I'll continue on the theme of eating and food - my all-time favourite hobby! This is my breakfast...

At 1/2 cup a meal, it only takes me seconds to finish my breakfast.

See what I mean???

Strangely though, the phrase "A dog's breakfast" doesn't really refer to the kibbles my humans feed me every morning. It also doesn't refer to the special "hot dog" treat I get on my birthday.

Instead the phrase "A dog's breakfast" means "something bad, a mess or a muddle". How did the human coin this term beats me...but it dates back to the 1930's. I doubt any modern day doggie logic was applied. Anyway, there is also a 2006Canadian comedy independent film called "A Dog's Breakfast" where the main character makes a mess out of everything. More recently, there was a Forbes article in June 2009 by a professor of economics called "A Dog's Breakfast. In regulatory reform, politics trumps economic logic". I guess the author didn't quite agree with President O's policies.

So once again, we have a very strange dog phrase which doesn't really match doggie reality. I think I'll stick to the plain old version of "A dog's breakfast" - food! What did you have for breakfast this morning?

"Please mum, can I have some more?"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tilly - the Goldy

I'm back! It's 2am and mum can't sleep (thanks to jet lag!). So, that's why we're blogging at this unearthly hour when most normal people are asleep. Still I'm not complaining coz it's high time she devoted some time to my blog after neglecting it for so long. I promised to introduce you to Tilly, a special Goldy friend from Down Under.

Like me, Tilly loves...

A tummy rub

A car ride

A good run in the park (and boy oh boy, she's like speedy Gonzales!)

She also does tricks for treats - See how intently she is staring at the treat?

Given her "beagle-like" qualities (even though she's a golden retriever), is it surprising that my humans fell in love with her?

But Tilly is more than just an adorable, lovable Goldy. She is a miracle dog...It all started at a leash free park a couple of months back.

Her humans often take Tilly to the park for a game of fetch. It was late and dark. Unbeknown to her humans, Tilly found some rubber rings at the park, about the size of a 50 cent coin and ate it, thinking it was food. She fell violently ill and had to undergo surgery, which was when they found the deadly rubber rings. All in all, she swallowed about 4 rings.

Remember my previous post titled "Sick as a dog"? Well, Tilly is the classic example of the reason why the phrase came about. The explanation given was "Because dogs eat just about anything they find, they often get sick. So it's fitting to describe someone who is not feeling well as being "sick as a dog." In this case,the rubber rings almost killed her. It didn't help that there were complications arising from the surgery and she had to undergo two other surgeries after that. It was a traumatic experience for Tilly and her humans. Needless to say, her surgeries were expensive but when you're a dog lover, there is no cost too great for your beloved dog. Her humans are considering getting dog medical insurance (first time I've ever heard of it) but apparently that's available in Australia.

It truly is a miracle that Tilly lives today - a testimony to the love her humans have for her. She continues to live life to the fullest, running like the wind!

P.S. If you want to do a reading experiment, pop over to mum's blog and read the post "Can you read this?"

Saturday, October 3, 2009

MIA for a while - still...

I know I've been missing in action for 3 weeks. And I'll continue to be MIA for another 2-3 weeks (no thanks to mum!). There is so much for me to share with you and so much for me to catch up on your blogs, but it'll have to wait. My humans were away on their annual holiday, this time to Melbourne, Australia or Down Under as it is sometimes known. As usual I was left behind at gramps. I didn't mind that much as it gave me the opportunity to catch up with my fellow canines in that neighbourhood. Now, mum is going away again, this time for work. Hence, continued MIA status.

But I do want to introduce a new friend from Down Under. Her name is Tilly and she's a golden retriever. My humans stayed with Tilly and her humans in Melbourne and got their dog fix through Tilly. I'll share a tale about Tilly when I'm off the MIA status but for now, here's a picture of sweet Tilly first.

I'll sign off with a quote from the Terminator "I'll be back!"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sick as a Dog

I sometimes wonder about how humans come up with some of these strange expressions. Now, I've been fortunate enough in my seven years on this earth to not have been very sick. From time to time, I have unexplained short wheezing-like spells. When it first happened when I was younger, my humans thought it may be caused by my pulling during walking. Apparently beagles have weak tracheas, so upon the vet's recommendation, they used a harness for my walks instead. However, it continues to occur occassionally, usually when I'm resting, with each bout lasting for a couple of minutes and then I'm fine. My humans have taken me to the vet who suspects it may be due to excessive flap or excessive tissue in my nose. They've also done research on the internet and discovered that this problem is common among beagles.

Having said that, my bouts of wheezing spells still doesn't explain this dog phrase "Sick as a Dog" which is generally understood to mean "very ill". After all, dogs are generally healthy. It's true that each dog breed has predispositions to certain health problems, but I doubt that we are "sicker" than other types of animals on this planet.

This explanation was posted on a Kid's Health website - "If you've ever been very sick, you may have used this expression. Because dogs eat just about anything they find, they often get sick. So it's fitting to describe someone who is not feeling well as being "sick as a dog."

Now this sounds fairly logical, especially if you're a beagle. My mum and dad can testify to that. They know that when they walk me, they have to be super vigilant as I have been known to be able to sniff out buried bones and food from miles aways (must be the same excessive tissues that trigger the wheezing). Before you can say "Geronimo", I would have chomped down the food, much to my humans's disgust since most of the food found on the street and parks aren't really edible from a human perspective. My list includes discarded bread, bones, rice and even a corn cob (I didn't really eat it - just carried it in my mouth). From time to time, they've tried to open my mouth to try to remove the offending food but not often successful. Hah! The beagle outsmarts them!

So, with that, I am proud to accept the award that the 2 Mighty Beans bestowed on me last month:

"When accepting this award, you must blog about the food you have stolen when your humans were not watching. If you have never stolen any food, you must have been a really good pup! You can accept this yummy tray of cookies as your reward! Next add the logo of this award to your blog (optional), then nominate at least 5 other furry blogs and let them know by leaving a message on their blogs."

Since I am so late in posting this award and quite a few of you already have this award, I am leaving this award open for any dog blogger who have not received this and would like to share their tale of stolen food.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog

Three cheers to Martha and Bailey, the two basset hounds who were the first to correctly guess the title of the song by Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll! Well done to the rest of the musical bloggers who also hit the spot with their guesses. Martha & Bailey wins the Dog Series award.

Technically, "Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog" isn't really a doggie phrase or an idiom. It's just a song written in 1952 by a couple of kids on the back of a paper bag. If you take a look at the nonsensical lyrics below, you can tell that it was written by kids on the back of a paper bag!

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog
Cryin' all the time
You ain't nothin' but a hound dog
Cryin' all the time
Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit
And you ain't no friend of mine

The song was first sung by Wille Mae "Big Mama" Thornton who had the band bark and howl like hound dogs at the end of the song. This song was later made popular by Elvis Presley in 1956. While Mr Presley didn't end the song with howling (I took some poetic licence with the rhyming. Sorry, Oorvi), he did add his signature "pelvic gyrations". The Hound Dog sold over 4 million copies in the US and spent a record 11 weeks at #1. Not bad for a song about a hound dog!

Key West Collies also beat me to another dog song "Who Let the Dogs Out" released by the Baha Men in 2000. It reached #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and #2 on the UK Singles Chart. The catchy chorus essentially comprise of repeats of:

"Who let the dogs out?
Who, who, who, who? who?"

Strangely, this song became a sports anthem at stadiums and arenas worldwide. Mum remembers attending a rugby match a few years back where this song was played and enthusiastically chanted by the fans. I guess it added to the atmosphere and excitement of the game.

So there you have it, two fun nonsensical dog songs which achieved fame and glory. Hmm...I wonder if we dogs should charge them royalty?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pop quiz

It's been a while since I've posted a doggie quiz, so here's a "pop quiz" for music fans:

The lyrics of this dog song
Is a catchy sing along
It ends with lots of howling
By the famous Rock and Roll King

Kess, the dancing beagle

The first doggie/human blogger to guess correctly wins the "It's a Dog's Life Dog Series Award".

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sad as a hound dog's eye

Some say, the eyes are the reflection of the soul. So, does this saying "Sad as a hound dog's eye" mean that beagles are sad souls? You would think so based on the two pictures below...

This saying is fairly self-explanatory and means "sad or pitiful". Apparently, this simile arose because the droopiness of the hound's eye. Whilst beagles belong to the hound family, you can see from my pictures that I don't have droopy eyes unlike my cousin, the bloodhound (also known as the St. Hubert hound).

There is another school of thought that the droopy structure of the hound dog's eyes does not actually reflect that the dog is in a state of emotional sadness. Hence, this saying is thought to imply a state of "pretend" sadness. Let me share with you a secret. Beagles are experts at giving our sad mournful looks to get our way, be it to beg for a treat or a tummy rub. So, maybe there is some truth to this version of the saying.

Whatever it is, dogs, like humans, possess a range of emotions which can be seen on our faces and our eyes. Maybe that's why dogs are man's best friend.

Sapphire tagged us to play this game:

This game has the following rules:
1) open the folder that has your pet pics in it
2) choose one you haven't posted before
3) tell its story
4) tag 5 friends

Man and his best friend

Having a friendly game of tug of war over an old t-shirt with dad. The best things in life are free!

I would like to tag:
1) Lorenzo
2) Thor
3) River
4) Martha & Bailey
5) Madison

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dog's bollocks

Over the past couple of months, I've come across some really strange dog phrases/idioms whilst doing research for the "Dog Series" but the phrase "dog's bollocks" wins hands down. First off, let's break this phrase into its parts. "Dog's" is straightforward - it means something that belongs to a dog. Now, "bollocks" is a coarse British slang for testicles and is typically associated with a negative connotation. For example, bollocks is an exclamation of contempt "Nonsense" or "Rubbish". "Bollocking" is a slang meaning "to reprimand someone" whilst "to drop a bollock" means "to make a mistake".

After that little introduction, I'm sure that few can guess the meaning of "dog's bollocks". Contrary to the negative connotation associated with the word "bollocks", the phrase "dog's bollock's" actually means "Excellent - the absolute apex". As with most strange phrases, the origin of this phrase is hazy, not unlike the weather we've been having in Kuala Lumpur, thanks to our thoughtful neighbours across the Straits who practice open burning to clear land. But I digress. While dogs do enjoy licking their genitals as part of their grooming ritual, there's no evidence that this phrase is linked to that.

Instead, it appears that this phrase may merely be a nonsensical term for excellent, joining other similar animal phrase such as "cat's whiskers", "bee's knees", etc which were coined post World War 1.

So, how would you use this term? Here's a fine example:
"When it comes to love and loyalty, we dogs are the dog's bollocks."

If you want to read an example of love and loyalty, my friend Uncle Bok Jae posted the story of Lucky the Golden Retriever. An amazing story! Uncle Bok Jae tagged Mama to share a tale about me. Coincidentally, Mama FINALLY watched "Marley and Me" and was inspired to share her tale about "My Beagle and me" on her blog. I hope you enjoy reading both stories.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Put on the dog

It's been ages since we've blogged. Gramps has heart problems - a condition called atrial flutter which causes his heart rate to race to 140 beats per minute. So, he has been in and out of the hospital. It's been a very trying time for our family. Thank God his condition has stabilized now with the help of medication. We miss catching up with your blogs but hope to catch up next week. We've been tagged by Sapphire and Bok Jae and will try to do that next week too.

This week's phrase, "Put on the dog" is a rather odd one. It actually has 2 meanings:

1) To make things extra special or dress formally for a special event.

Personally. I'm not into dressing up. I much prefer to go "au natural" (plus it's really too hot in Malaysia). But, as a concession for this post, I agreed to let mum tie a pretty pink ribbon on my neck.

2) To assume pretentious airs or to try to seem richer or more important than you really are. (Apparently, this may have been borrowed from an older bit of American university slang, whose first recorded use is also from Yale.)

I disagree with this meaning and I'm sure that most, if not all of you will agree with me. Dogs are the most down to earth creatures with no airs whatsoever! I mean, just take a look at my face...Does it look like I'm trying to seem more important than I look???

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Who Said "You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks"?

The answer to the last beagle puzzle is...
"You can't teach an old dog new tricks".

The clues were:
1)Me doing a new trick (catching a kibble mid-air); and
2) The verse "At the ripe age of seven", which in human terms is close to 50 years old!

Majority guessed this saying accurately. We also had a couple of votes for "Bark worse than a bite", which I thought was pretty good too coz it did look like I was going to bite and a vote for "It's a dog's life"...which also made sense. Well done everyone! Thanks for being such great sports. Bagel gets the "Dog Series" award for the being the clever beagle to correctly guess the dog saying first! Feel free to post the award on your blog, if you want to, Bagel.

The saying "You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks" means that learning to do new things is difficult because it is hard to forget the old ways and habits. Now, this may apply to humans but as this 7-year old beagle has proven, an old dog can learn new tricks given the right motivation - food! I think that a canine's ability to learn new tricks is dependent on the human's ability to teach the trick more so than anything else!

In defense of humans, mum reckons that whilst challenging, it is possible for older folks to learn new things. She cites the example of gramps learning to use the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Back in his younger days, withdrawal of money used to be done over the counter and they didn't have ATMs (which only became main-stream in mid to late 1980's). Mum also says that gramps learnt how to send SMS in his late 50's and is now quite an expert in sending messages from his mobile phone ! She does agree though that it is not easy for older folks to master new technology but when there's a will, there's a way.

I reckon it's much easier for old doggies to learn new tricks. In fact the catching kibble in mid-air trick was learnt just in time for this post. Dad was mucking around with the Lumix and decided to teach me this new trick. When mum saw the photo, she knew she had the winning shot for this dog saying!

One of the earliest tricks I learnt as a pup from my humans was the "shake" trick. I can do right and left paw to accomodate both right and left-handed humans! Below, I'm doing this trick for a friend. Last year, mum taught me "High Five", which is an extension of the "Shake" command, but alas, she hasn't taken a photo of me doing that trick yet...

I can also do the "roll-over" trick quite successfully, so much so that I can automatically do this trick before the humans ask me to when I know they have a treat at hand.

My humans didn't teach me all the tricks I know. Some are learnt instinctively. As a pup, I used to pick up a large leaf stalk or a stick when I used to go for walks. When I was an adult, I automatically picked up my own leash, much to the surprise of my humans.

Some tricks backfire on my humans though. Remember the "Shake" trick? Well, this is a trick I taught myself this year. When my humans are sitting comfortably on the sofa watching TV, I sit really close to mum (mostly), and the lift my paw to her knee to get her attention. Sometimes, it's to remind her that it's time for my dinner. Other times it's to tell her I want a tummy rub!

So who said "You can't teach an old dog new tricks"? They've obviouly not met this beagle. If you're an old dog, tell us your new tricks story! If you're a young pup, share with us too.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Another beagle puzzle

This beagle has proven
At the ripe age of seven
This saying is untrue
So I bet you can too

Hi everyone! It's been a busy time. Gramps had just undergone a total knee replacement surgery. Mama's been busy juggling her work project and helping gramps out. I've been busy working as a therapy dog - cheering gramps and encouraging him to walk around the garden. We've finally managed to catch a short breather and have racked our brains to come up with another beagle puzzle. As always, this is a doggie saying, and quite a famous one too. The first doggie/human to guess the answer wins the "Dog Series Award". Have fun guessing! The answer will be posted sometime next week.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Doggie Bag with a Twist

In my last post, I wrote about the doggie bag - a bag given to a customer in a restaurant or to a guest at a party for putting leftovers in to take home. The picture clue in the beagle teaser was a bright green bag. Boo Casanova was wondering whether Malaysian restaurants actually give out such cute doggie bags...Well, Boo, get ready for the answer:

"What does this sign have to do with the doggie bag?" you ask...

Well, here's the twist to the teaser. The bright green "doggie" bag is actually a poop scooper. It has a tissue container by the side and a clip handle. What you do is take a tissue and cover the poop. Then, using the clip handle, open the bag and scoop up the tissue with the poop. Isn't it nifty? See the picture below for a demonstration (minus the poop lest we offend some people!)

I decided to give mum a break from poop scoop duty and picked up after myself for once. After all, with this trendy "doggie" bag, I will probably become the neighbourhood canine fashionista!

Congratulations Lorenza for being the first to guess the bag correctly! You're the second recipient of the "Dog Series" Award. Feel free to post in on your blog, if you wish. Amber Mae also identified it accurately. Well done Amber!

P.S. I've also added Lorenza's and Cookie & Cinnamon's contribution to the take away/doggie bag in Mexico and Japan in the last post.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Beagle teaser revealed

Sweet Molly and handsome Taffy
The first to guess correctly
Here is your well-deserved reward
The very first "Dog Series" award

Yes folks, my new pals, Molly and Taffy were the first doggie bloggers who correctly guessed the answer to the beagle teaser last Friday - "Doggie Bag". (Molly and Taffy, feel free to post this award on your blog.) Congratulations to the rest who also correctly guessed the answer to the beagle teaser. I decided to post the answer up earlier since there was already a correct guess. But, stay tuned on Thursday for a little twist to the bag!

A doggie bag is a bag given to a customer in a restaurant or to a guest at a party for putting leftovers in to take home. But do humans really take home the leftovers for their beloved dogs? What do they call the bag if the humans don't have dogs at home?

Shocking horrors...the food isn't actually for dogs...In fact, the term doggie bag is a so-called "transparent pretense" that the food is taken home to feed the customer's dog, when in fact it's for the humans! Now, if you were a beagle like me, who love food, you would protest over the use of this term. If you're going to use a doggie bag to bring food home, you better be bringing it for your dog! Don't you agree?

Just in case you're interested, here's some of the terms used when someone wants to bring left over food home or take away in the following languages:
1) Chinese (cantonese) - ta pau (pack)
2) Malay - bungkus (pack)
3) Thai - kap bahn (go home)
4) Mexican (Lorenza) - Para llevar
5) Japanese (Cookie and Cinnamon) - Ori (box for take away)

Do drop me a note if you know how to say "doggie bag" or "take away" in another language. I also had an earlier post on "Thank you" in 21 different languages, if you're interested to learn.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Beagle teaser

Here's the picture clue
For a beagle teaser
Who will first breakthrough
And guess the correct answer?

Hint: It's a "dog" word or phrase (but you would already have guessed that!). All the best! Swing by next Thursday for the answer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's in the ear!

Remember the doggie quiz on Tuesday? Good try everyone!

Q: What does a dog have to do with a book?
A: They both have ears!

Yes, it's in the ear, or to be more specific, dog-eared. Dog ear on a beagle, or any other dog is exactly what it is - an organ used for hearing and balance.

But, on a book, or to be more specific, a well-read book, "dog-eared" refers to the book corners worn or battered with use.

I do apologize I couldn't post a picture of a more "worn" book. My human is a book worm (no, she's not a worm - she just loves to read) and takes good care of her books. Her New York State Frommer's travel guide is the closest book with dog-eared corners. I suppose after travelling with my humans for 9400 miles on the plane from KL to New York City, followed by a 1000-mile road trip from NYC to Finger Lakes, Niagara and Adirondacks last summer, the book can be considered to be in pretty good shape. My humans definitely used the book extensively - referring to it for places to stay, eat and visit!

I must confess though that I couldn't see the resemblance between my beagle ears and the ears on the corner of the book. However, I suppose that whoever coined the word "dog-eared" must be referring to the more pointy ears of a dog like Benjy, my mixed pedigree buddy.

There is definitely some resemblance there! I hope you enjoyed that little quiz.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A doggie quiz...

What does this...

...have to do with this?

Send me your guesses...Hint - It's part of the dog series.

Stay tuned for the answer on Thursday!

Thanks for signing my guest book.