Friday, October 30, 2009

Some Dogs are Annoying Drunks; But Giving Alcohol to a Pup Dog is Always Wrong

Poodle Bitch has rarely imbibed. She has little taste for alcoholic beverages, and tends to dislike the tingling sensation she encounters when she has more than a few sips. To her, most liquor smells of cleaning fluids; and Poodle Bitch does not wish to drink cleaning fluids. It's for this reason that Poodle Bitch is often conscripted into the job of "designated driver."

That said, she has known dogs that have enjoyed the flavor of alcohol, and who enjoy the festive sensations inspired by being in their cups. Poodle Bitch has no problem with this-- she believes that life is short enough, and cares not to judge how others spend their free time.

Of course, Poodle Bitch does not care to be around certain types of drunks. Labradors, that most obnoxious of breeds, tend to be particularly loud and boisterous when they've drunk too much. Malteses's voices become even higher-pitched and more irritating, and they tend to cry about past wrongs-- former romantic partners who have left them, for instance. Beagles tend to become restive, and angry at the slightest provocation; especially if they believe they are being made fun of. Pugs almost inevitably start wheezing on and on about politics, and anyone who disagrees with them is simply asking to be bitten.

Poodle Bitch's musings on the behaviors of certain types of drunks was inspired by the story of a man in a place called "Iowa City," who has been charged with providing alcohol to an underage dog:

While the owner was away, [Jared Levi] Colony poured UV brand flavored vodka into [4 month-old Puggle puppy] Pip’s bowl and encouraged the dog to drink it, police said.

When the dog’s owner returned to the residence, Pip was unresponsive, his tongue was hanging out and the dog was barely breathing. Police said Colony told the owner, “Pip’s just a little drunk right now.”

Poodle Bitch notes that, because the pup in question was a "puggle," and therefore contained aspects of both the pug and beagle breeds, the pup most likely required little encouragement. The beagle parts of Pip are unsophisticated and boorish. The pug parts of course are, well, more coarse.

Poodle Bitch has not met a puggle, and has never seen one drunk. She wonders if the dog would obnoxiously expound on tiresome political matters, or would become belligerent over some perceived slight against his "honor."

But of course this is a moot point anyway, since the dog in question was merely a pup. No pup dogs, not even beagles or pugs, should be drinking. Their bodies are too small and undeveloped to handle it.

Police said Pip received critical care for nearly two days at Bright Eyes and Bushy Tails veterinary hospital and barely survived alcohol poisoning.

Poodle Bitch has led a relatively charmed life, compared to the fates that befall many dogs. She has never had occasion to see a drunken pup dog; nor would she care to. She has to wonder at the mentality of the human who would give alcohol to an underage dog.

Once a dog gets to be two or three years old, she is capable of making her own choices about whether to drink or not. Until that time, she must rely on a sensible human to use proper judgment about what to feed her. Apparently, that is a scary prospect.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

RE: Human-Dog Mouth-to-Mouth

The AP has another misleadingly headlined article: "Pet owners willing to go mouth-to-muzzle."

A careful reading of the article (and, if Poodle Bitch can be so bold, "careful" is the only way Poodle Bitch reads anything), reveals that a perhaps more accurate title might have been "Some Pet Owners willing to go mouth-to-mouth." For, as the second paragraph states,

Fifty-eight percent of pet owners — 63 percent of dog owners and 53 percent of cat owners — would be at least somewhat likely to perform CPR on their pet in the event of a medical emergency, according to an Associated poll.

Poodle Bitch finds it appalling that a full 42% of "pet owners" would not even be at least "somewhat likely" to perform a basic life-saving action on their "property." Poodle Bitch wonders about that 42%. If their beloved animal were seen choking to death, would he stand over his charge and cackle? Would he say, "Well, it was nice knowing you"? Would he at least fret, as young Fido's (which is a derivative of the word "fidelity," Poodle Bitch notes) life force ebbed from his body?

Poodle Bitch is immeasurably appalled by this idea. Even if you see yourself as an "owner" of a pet, would you not do everything you could to protect your property? Poodle Bitch wonders what is the percentage of people who would attempt to prevent their Wiis or Playstations from choking to death?

Poodle Bitch has already written of the casual cruelty of which pet "owners" are capable; nonetheless, she is surprised that they are capable of such depravity. Not only that-- the headline and story are composed in such a way as to suggest that humans should be proud of the fact that 42% of pet companions would allow their animals to die a slow and agonizing choking death, without even attempting to revive them. The first paragraph is comically slanted:

Most pet owners would leap into action for an injured pet, even if it meant risking dog breath by going mouth-to-snout.

How wonderful that a bare majority of pet "owners" would risk "dog breath" in attempting to stop their pet dying! Poodle Bitch is barely touched. She believes the article could have delved into the motivations, or lack thereof, of the 42% who would allow their animal companion to die without attempting to help him.

Of course, the article does not do this. The article, Poodle Bitch notes with weary unsurprise, is strictly ho-hum.

The reader is introduced to a few "pet owners" who take their animal companions seriously, and is then admonished to have disaster plans in case of fire or earthquake. Directing "pet owners" to a website that offers instruction on animal-specific CPR-- or that tells "pet owners" where they can find classes in the subject-- might have been a good start.

Instead, the article merely congratulates humans on the fact that most of their species would be willing to at least try to prevent their animal companion dying horribly. Poodle Bitch wonders at just how far the bar that measures compassion has been lowered.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Somehow, and Against Her Better Judgment, Poodle Bitch Has Fallen Under the Spell of John and Edward

Poodle Bitch is both appalled and fascinated by the antics of "X Factor" contestants John and Edward. There is something about their enthusiasm that almost makes up for their lack of talent. And Poodle Bitch has to admit that she has a high tolerance for true, earnest kitsch. It is both tragic and hilarious-- and more than a little inspiring.

The above clip shows their take on the only Britney Spears song that Poodle Bitch is able to tolerate. Poodle Bitch notes that it is not nearly so good as Richard Thompson's version, but it is still quite exquisite. Exquisite as a painting of a crying clown. Drinking Old Crow.

It is making the rounds now because Simon Cowell called it the worst performance he'd seen on "X Factor." Poodle Bitch doesn't see how this could be. She notes that their Britney Spears-inspired performance (complete with shiny PVC outfits and "Titanic" reference) is not nearly so tragically bizarre as their evisceration of Robbie Williams' "Rock DJ":

Not to be cruel, but Poodle Bitch did not realize it was possible to ruin a Robbie Williams song. Yet Poodle Bitch finds it more than a little unsettling to hear a pair of androgynous halflings of indeterminate age singing,

"Gonna stick it in the goal
It's time to move your body."

Poodle Bitch notes that Danii Minogue spends more time talking about the twins' food-stealing antics than the performance itself. "Not the best vocals," she declares. "But I love the way you entered." Cheryl Cole tells them she admires their perseverance in the face of criticism. She then says, wonderfully, "It's not your fault you're in the final twelve."

Chin up, boys!

Simon Cowell further twists the knife by complimenting their "thick skins." He then tests said "thick skins" by telling them their performance was "a musical nightmare."

The judge who seems most enamored of them, Louis Walsh, then offers his own encouragement: "Not all the pop stars on the charts are great singers."

Poodle Bitch concurs.

Not great singers. But they make a good entrance.

Photograph source.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Poodle Bitch Has Almost Given Up on Project Runway

Poodle Bitch had high hopes for "Project Runway" this season. She has always been a fan of the show, ever since she was an adorable puppy during the first season. She saw it as that rare televised reality competition where merit was rewarded. Where skill was treated with respect.

To be sure, there were designers who advanced in the program who did not deserve to do so. But always, the show managed to keep around those top skilled designers who were most deserving.

This season, however, the program seems to have gone off the rails, almost from the very first episode. There is no way, for instance, that Ari should have been sent home before Mitchell. In fact, Mitchell should have been sent home in each of the first three episodes. The fact that Poodle Bitch actually felt relief when Mitchell did not make it into the fourth episode says much about the judging this season. It has been eccentric. Poodle Bitch does not feel that there is any way that Louise, but most of all Epperson, or Shirin, should have been sent home this early. Not when Christopher, Logan, Gordana, and Althea remain.

Christopher designed something shoddy, and constructed it badly. Saying he should have gone home this week is slightly unfair; he should have gone home long before this.

The poodle companion Irina Shabayeva is so clearly ahead of everyone else that Poodle Bitch has begun to worry she will be sent home next. The only mitigating factor is that Poodle Bitch notes in the teaser for next week's episode, the program will be cut to show that Irina is to be this season's "Kenley."

Yes, in the most recent episode, Irina was called a "b*tch" by Nicholas-- who admitted Irina was a good designer. Poodle Bitch knows that Nicholas intended "the b-word" as an insult, but of course Poodle Bitch does not see it that way. Based on the teaser for next week, Irina will be the "villain" for the duration of her stay. This is rather unfortunate, but it is a television competition. The viewers, Poodle Bitch included, understand the producers can manipulate their days' worth of footage however they want to create a single episode.

Which leads to Poodle Bitch's main problem with the show this year. The producers-- who, according to the program's disclaimer, have a hand in judging decisions-- have been far too visible an influence on the judges. Clearly, Mitchell was kept around for dramatic purposes. Logan was kept last week, while Epperson sent home, to protect the "distracting" dynamic between him and Carol Hannah. Shirin was sent home this week to maintain gender equality. There is no other explanation.

True to form, Logan presented an outfit designed with seemingly no one in mind (no one real, anyway), and stitched it together as if he were lacking opposable thumbs. But the woodland sprite girl Carol Hannah finds him "distracting," so he must be kept on the show.

That said, Poodle Bitch has been utterly mystified by Althea's continued presence. She has done nothing of interest, and has indeed created a couple of quite egregious outfits. Moreover, the producers have found very little footage of her to use the last couple of weeks. One would be forgiven for thinking Althea had already been sent home.

Poodle Bitch is happy to note that she is not the only one to notice the problems with this season. The ratings have taken a serious tumble since the first episode's high.

One factor is that "Runway" has run headfirst into the start of the broadcast fall season, whereas its final Bravo round aired during the summer. Still, "Runway" usually climbs as the finale draws closer no matter what time of year it airs.

Poodle Bitch believes an even more important explanation for the show's continued decline in fortunes is that it has lost sight of what it was. A competition based mostly upon merit. Yes, one or two instigators would get judged less harshly, but the producers' manipulations were always more subtle than they've been this year. The fan base for this show does not come to it for "Flavor of Love" style dramatics. We want to see fantastic garments created by talented designers. Especially this late in the competition. Keeping Mitchell for three episodes was our first sign, but we could only suspect. Sending home Epperson and then Shirin two weeks in a row made it obvious. The producers were trying to make "Project Runway" a different program. Perhaps this was because of the move to Lifetime, or the move to Los Angeles, but whatever the reason, they are losing viewers who are unlikely to return.

As a viewer, it is difficult to take the show seriously anymore. Clearly the producers and judges do not.

Clearly not Shirin's finest moment (and to be fair to her, she was not helped by her sourpuss model), but this rather eclectic look was miles ahead of both Christopher and Logan.

Designs photographs source.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Sexualization of Dogs Continues

The proverbial ink is not yet dry on Poodle Bitch's most recent lamentation of the sexualization of puppies, and already she has seen something else to cause her further consternation.

"Matching sexy dog costumes for humans and pets."

Poodle Bitch knows of no dogs who want to wear bustiers. That is a uniquely human desire. When it is cold, and a small dog is forced to leave the dwelling in order to "go potty," or if there is a problem with the furnace, then a sweater or other tasteful garment is very much to be appreciated.

This is not tasteful. Poodle Bitch notes the expressions on the faces of the dogs- they betray feelings of confusion mingled with irritation. Clearly, these are dogs that are not in the height of the sexual tickle.

These are dogs being forced by their human companions to partake of fetishes they do not share. These are dogs being treated as props.

Poodle Bitch would like to suggest these humans get a purse. At least then they would have something in which to tote their multiple packages of condoms and lubricants.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Poodle Bitch Wonders if Jessica Simpson's Maltipoo, Daisy, Committed Suicide

Poodle Bitch has already written of her lack of sympathy for Jessica Simpson. It is with Ms. Simpson's now lost Maltipoo Daisy that her sympathies lie. And yet, Poodle Bitch cannot help but note that Ms. Simpson is still attempting to solicit sympathy over the loss of the Maltipoo she used as an accessory:

"Daisy meant the world to me," the star, 29, told at the FFANY Shoes on Sale QVC event in NYC Tuesday. "I hold her memory very, very close. It was an unfortunate thing what happened. That I don't have her every day... It's a very hard thing to talk about."

Yes, Ms. Simpson is having such a difficult time of it that she could barely muster the inner courage to attend the "FFANY Shoes on Sale QVC event in NYC." Poodle Bitch wonders, with no small amount of irony, just how it is that Ms. Simpson is able to continue.

Poodle Bitch has been curious about Ms. Simpson ever since her Maltipoo disappeared so mysteriously. Supposedly, the poor creature was carried off by a coyote. To be honest, Poodle Bitch was wondering if it was possible that someone so fame-obsessed might have done away with the Maltipoo herself, in order to get attention.

Poodle Bitch fancies herself the less fussy, poodle version of the television detective Monk.

However, after doing a bit of online research, Poodle Bitch has come to a quite different conclusion: The Maltipoo Daisy might have committed suicide, running headlong into the gaping maw of the coyote rather than have to spend another day as Ms. Simpson's security blanket:

"She won't leave her parents' house," a source says. "Whenever things went wrong, she reached for Daisy. Daisy was her security blanket."
"Jessica has a very small inner circle," the friend said. "But she always had Daisy. Daisy gave her the unconditional love she needed."
Whenever she was out at night, Jessica Simpson called home and had "someone put Daisy on the phone so she could say goodnight."
When Jessica Simpson was having relationship problems, the friend said "she would cry herself to sleep at night, using Daisy as a pillow."
Daisy filled a void because "Jessica is very needy. She is very clingy. She is so sweet, but sometimes she's hard to be around."

"It's not always easy. She hates to be alone. That's what happened with Tony. Jessica smothers people. She doesn't really have hobbies."

Clearly, Daisy the Maltipoo was under a great deal of stress. Poodle Bitch has no doubt that the poodle half of Daisy had little patience with such "clinginess." She has no idea how the maltese half of Daisy felt about the situation. Poodle Bitch cannot imagine the unmitigated hell with which Daisy had to deal, as part of the Simpson household, being used a snot rag whenever Ms. Simpson's heart was broken over one of her ongoing romantic or professional disappointments.

Poodle Bitch shudders- and would not blame a Maltipoo for wanting to end it all. In such case, Poodle Bitch finds Ms. Simpson's insistence that Daisy would want her to get another dog to be especially touching:

Simpson still is unsure if she will get a new dog.

"I haven't really thought about another dog yet, but maybe sometime," she told Us. "[Daisy] would want that."

Indeed, Daisy would have wanted that. She would have wanted Ms. Simpson to have gotten another dog a long time before.

This poor puppy never had a chance-- did she eventually decide to take her chances with a coyote rather than spend another minute as Jessica Simpson's snot rag?

Photograph source.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Project Runway 6 Episode 8: Why, Judges-- Why?

Before Poodle Bitch gets started with this week’s episode, she feels compelled to mention three Project Runway-related stories that caught her eye this week. First on her list is the announcement that there will be a Project Runway video game on Nintendo Wii. Not having opposable thumbs, Poodle Bitch derives little pleasure from the playing of video games, so she does not. But she knows that there are some games that come equipped with prop machines, such as the ever-popular “Rock Band,” so perhaps the new Project Runway game will come equipped with a button-filled “sewing machine” attachment. She cannot see how a video game would be of interest otherwise, as much as she enjoys the show.

She is not old enough to remember “Fashion Plates,” the toys from the 1980s that allowed users to “design” outfits by placing tiles in a random order, and then placing a paper over said tiles, then rubbing them with a piece of- actually, Poodle Bitch does not know what it was that one rubbed over the tiles. But she wonders why it is that some enterprising company doesn’t bring out a Project Runway Fashion Plates edition. She imagines that there would be much more interest in that than a video game. The PR audience most likely remembers Fashion Plates; how many of them play video games?

The second story had to do with former Project Runway guest judge Lindsay Lohan, who made her debut as an artistic advisor for Emanuel Ungaro, with predictable results.

Poodle Bitch has to admit that the entire show, which can be seen here, is not the complete train-wreck that she thought it would be; the designs presented there were like middling Project Runway creations-- the types of garments that might land a contestant in the bottom three during the first few episodes, but not get her eliminated. Poodle Bitch doubts that is what the Ungaro collection aspired to.

One of the Ungaro designs on which Lindsay Lohan "advised." Poodle Bitch is not surprised.

The third story is the most sinister, and it has caused Poodle Bitch to wonder if she would ever again watch Project Runway. Recently, fugitive Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland on an outstanding warrant issued when he left America just before he was to be sentenced for his guilty plea, in a case in which he admitted to having physical relations with someone not very much older (chronologically) than Poodle Bitch is now. After his arrest, Project Runway producer Harvey Weinstein began circulating a petition for Mr. Polanski’s release.

Poodle Bitch believes Mr. Polanski should be in jail. Mr. Polanski is an admitted attacker of human children, and should be punished. But she understands there are some who believe that somehow Mr. Polanski was victimized by an unjust court system, and an overzealous prosecutor and judge. Fine. Poodle Bitch can agree to disagree on that; she is not a lawyer.

However, rather than leave the matter at that, Mr. Weinstein then went on to say-- when challenged by others who do know something about the American legal system-- that people in Hollywood, such as himself, have a unique insight into the unfairness or fairness of Mr. Polanski’s situation, because they have “the best moral compass:”

"Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion," Weinstein said. "We were the people who did the fundraising telethon for the victims of 9/11. We were there for the victims of Katrina and any world catastrophe."

Poodle Bitch has spent some time in Hollywood, and has known many people in and around the entertainment industry. She can tell you that, based on the way they treat their assistants, makeup and hair people, boom operators, marketing people, craft services, and etc, their “compassion” does not always extend to those with whom they directly come into contact. In fact, they are capable of a great deal of cruelty toward those they consider "underlings". Moreover, Poodle Bitch knows plenty of people outside of entertainment who gave a great deal of their time and money for victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. And for them, their compassion required more than just the rearrangement of the schedule so that they could sit for hair and makeup, and appear on a television program exhibiting just how "compassionate" they were.

To Poodle Bitch, Mr. Weinstein’s comment about Hollywood’s “moral compass” had the feel someone who has admitted he might have made a mistake in his initial assessment of a situation, yet is too proud to back away from it, and insists on doubling down rather than admit he might be wrong. She has never met Mr. Weinstein, so she of course has no way of knowing exactly in which direction his “moral compass” points, but she does know that attacking a small child has earned for those less famous life-damaging punishment.

She wonders, where is Mr. Weinstein’s compassion for those people- especially in light of revelations in Mr. Polanski’s own autobiography that he engaged in at the very least "questionable” behavior with very young women- some might even say girls- on other occasions.

Poodle Bitch decided that, despite her misgivings over Mr. Weinstein’s participation, she would watch, for the sake of the poodle companion Irina. She cannot resist- she must see how Irina does with the competition. Early in the episode, she interviews that she understands that there are some who are worried about her, as she has already won two challenges, while many of them have won nothing.

Yes, the other contestants should be worried by the talent and taste of the poodle companion Irina, who has shown with each week that she is one of the top designers.

And Logan interviews that “Irina seems to have this more sophisticated taste that’s been appealing to the judges.” To which Poodle Bitch would reply, in a word that even Logan can understand, “Duh.” She would also add that poodle companions are known for their sophisticated taste. Otherwise, why would a poodle associate with them?

For this week’s challenge, the designers had to create new garments out of divorcee’s wedding dresses. They had their pick from among nine women who had been divorced or in the process of getting divorced for a period of months or several years (more than ten, in a couple of cases). Irina, having won the last challenge- and rightly so- had first pick, and chose the woman whose dress had the most lace.

Shirin, who chose last, had no real choice at all, and was stuck with a simple white 100% polyester dress that yielded very little material for her to work with. Moreover, her “client” wanted something like a Cher “Half-Breed” costume. Shirin, who is Poodle Bitch’s second choice, has better taste than that.

Shirin's "client" wanted something like this. WANTED something like this. Happily, Shirin has taste.

That said, Shrin spent so much of the episode crying, whining, and complaining about it that Poodle Bitch was sure she would either win or be sent home. “It’s hard to show design when you don’t have any fabric.”

Then Gordana, who last week had the benefit of working with Irina on the team challenge, spent a good deal of time crying and recalling her own divorce, and wiped away tears with dye-stained hands as she left a phone message for her children.

Christopher’s design “worries” Mr. Gunn. Christopher attempts to reassure him, but Mr. Gunn remains skeptical.

Mr. Gunn, having fine taste, loves what Irina is doing. “How did you get this gorgeous color?” he asks her. “I think what you’re doing is very exciting. Keep going.”

He is no fool, and Poodle Bitch heartily agrees with his assessment.

Nicolas showed contempt for his "client's" taste, and it showed in this reckless monstrosity of ugly pants topped by a doily.

Mr. Gunn wonders about Epperson’s design. The core of the garment has to be the wedding dress. Ominously, he adds, “You have a lot of decisions to make.” And Epperson’s decision is to totally scrap what he’s been doing and create an entirely new garment. Perhaps, he wonders, he misunderstood the challenge.

Logan says that his “look” is “sort of a play on a tuxedo feel,” with a mumbly voice and little conviction. “This worries me,” Mr. Gunn says, as ominously as he’d said to Epperson. For some reason, Logan is making pants out of wool, or something- something that is not material from the wedding dress, which had a surprisingly long train.

Poodle Bitch wonders what a designer of real skill and talent, such as the put-upon Shirin, might have done with it.

Logan designs ugly clothes, then constructs them poorly. He is a double threat.

Gordana’s work gets a “beautiful” out of Mr. Gunn, and Poodle Bitch has to agree with him. “I want you to keep saying to yourself ‘I’m going to win, I’m going to win,’” he tells her. Poodle Bitch would not go that far, not with Irina in the room, but she appreciates that Mr. Gunn is attempting to inspire Gordana.

But Gordana got to work with Irina last week- shouldn’t that be inspiration enough?

Mr. Gunn offers Shirin a shoulder on which to cry. As she explains what her divorcee wants, the other designers laugh at her. “What?” Mr. Gunn asks, incredulous at the thought of someone wanting to look like Cher’s “Half-Breed” in 2009. “She’s not at risk of going home,” Mr. Gunn tells her. He adds that she should remove the textiles she’s placed on the mannequin and “just play, like it’s a big giant paper doll.”

Or, a Fashion Plate?

Althea's silly blue dress was not the worst this week. Poodle Bitch believes it was a bad week.

Mr. Gunn is not shown speaking to the talentless Althea, the annoying and casually cruel Nicolas (who says that he hates his garment, then tells his “client” that is is “so you”), or the woodland sprite Carol Hannah (who says that she makes her living creating wedding dresses, and so tearing them up to create something else is akin to running into a church and shouting an obsenity). Poodle Bitch does not feel she’s missing much.

Carol Hannah eschewed Woodland Sprite for Flapper Knockoff. Far from Poodle Bitch's least favorite, yet equally far from Poodle Bitch's most favorite.

Michael Kors is still back, but Nina Garcia is nowhere to be found. In her place is a Marie Claire editor, Zanna Roberts, and the president of Jimmy Choo and a board member of Halston, Tamara Mellon. This is off-topic, but upon hearing that Ms. Mellon was a board member of Halston, Poodle Bitch was unable to get the Billy Joel song “Big Shot” out of her head.

There are worse songs to get stuck in one’s head, she supposes. Cher’s “Halfbreed,” for instance.

Given the trauma induced by the lack of material-- and said material being 100% polyester and therefore, according to Shirin undye-able, Poodle Bitch believes that Shirin at least deserved second place after Irina.

Irina’s garment is first down the runway, and that is fitting, because it is Poodle Bitch’s favorite. Next is Shirin, which is again appropriate, since it would have been Poodle Bitch’s second choice. Then comes Logan’s matronly top and wool pants. Poodle Bitch does not wish to be cruel, but these garments have the look of something designed and executed by an incompetent dullard- which is what they are. She feels bad for the “client.” Next is Carol Hannah’s flapper update- Poodle Bitch feels she is flashing back to Gordana’s dress of two weeks ago, updated just slightly enough to keep Carol Hannah out of the bottom three. Althea’s design is a silly light blue dress with dark blue bosoms. She claims that “seeing my dress come down the runway made me feel good,” which should get her disqualified on the spot. At least it is not “stripper chic” such as she sent down the runway last week. Nicolas shows enough self-awareness to claim that his granola-inspired pants and doily shrug top was “a hideous thing,” and Poodle Bitch finds herself liking him in spite of herself. Next is Gordana’s dress, and Poodle Bitch very much likes this one, too. It is both well-made and edgy. Then, Christopher sends down his “client” in a trashbag cinched at the waist. It makes Poodle Bitch feel terrible to look at. Finally, Epperson sends down his voluminous pirate dress.

Gordana's dress is declared the winning design. Poodle Bitch agrees it belonged in the top three- but to win? Over Irina and Shirin?

Gordana is declared the winner, and Poodle Bitch cannot get too upset over that. Irina and Shirin also make the top three, which is a rare moment of good taste from the judges.

Christopher sent his "client" down the runway in a trashbag. This was terrible, but it was not the worst garment this week.

The bottom three are Epperson, Christopher, and Logan. The judges had too many choices for the bottom- in fact, Gordana, Irina, and Shirin had the only garments that Poodle Bitch would consider “good.” The bottom two should have been Christopher and Logan, with Logan, whose work and attitude make Poodle Bitch wonder if he is not mentally challenged, going home.

Instead, the bottom two are Logan and Epperson, and Epperson is the one who gets the boot. Poodle Bitch wonders if Logan is too good-looking to send home this early in the competition. That is the only reason that she can see for sending home Epperson. She truly has no interest in seeing what Logan comes up with in the future.

Poodle Bitch invites the reader to decide- Was this truly the worst design of the week? Or was Epperson cast aside because he handled himself with too much aplomb, and not enough "sex appeal"?

Fashion Plates photograph source.
Project Runway designs photographs source.
Cher Half-Breed photograph source.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Daily Kibble "Muttisse" Pet Bed Giveaway

The Daily Kibble email newsletter and website is holding a drawing for something called a "Muttise" Pet Bed.

The Smucci Muttisse Pet Bed features a handpainted design inspired by Henri Matisse’s “Woman Sleeping on a Corner of the Table in 1939.” The woman in the painting (and on the bed) appears as if she has fallen asleep suddenly, perhaps during the middle of her day. There is a slight smile on her face which suggests she did not fall asleep from exhaustion or stress, but rather intended to merely take a “cat nap.”

Poodle Bitch is unsure if the cutism "Muttisse" is clever or sickening. But she cannot argue with the idea of a bed inspired by fine, capital-A Art. Unfortunately, the photograph accompanying the press release reveals little in the way of detail:

It is so small as to cause Poodle Bitch eyestrain. She went to the smucci website and learned,

Each Smucci Matisse Bed is created one at a time, and no two beds are exactly alike. Variations will occur which contribute to the intrinsic beauty and overall feel of this exquisite masterpiece for your pet!

Poodle Bitch further likes the idea of said capital-A Art inspired bed being a one-of-a-kind creation (Poodle Bitch considers herself a one-of-a-kind), but she again can't help but wish there were larger photos available.

Interestingly, when Poodle Bitch did a google search for "Woman Sleeping on a Corner of the Table in 1939," the only references she found were to this giveaway. She could not find any pictures of the Matisse work that inspired the beds, nor could she find any reference to any works by that title.

Now, Poodle Bitch is even more curious.

"Boomer May be a Buster"!

Poodle Bitch has noticed that a dog in North Dakota-- a plains state-- is vying for the attention of The Guinness Book of World Records. The ever-vigilant Associated Press is on the case:

Boomer may be a buster: Measuring 3 feet tall at the shoulders and 7 feet long from nose to destructive wagging tail, his owner thinks she may have the world's tallest living dog.

Caryn Weber says her 3-year-old Landseer Newfoundland keeps all four paws on the floor when he drinks from the kitchen faucet in her family's farm house in eastern North Dakota.

Poodle Bitch has not met very many Landseer Newfoundlands, so she naturally decided a little research was in order. What she discovered appalled her. First, regarding the breed's "temperament":

The Landseer is a dog with an outstanding temperament, good, courageous, generous and intelligent. It is also a patient dog, mild with guests, and obsequious with its master. He is noble, calm, gentle, loyal and trustworthy with a sweet temperament.

Poodle Bitch has always thought that the words "obsequious" and "noble" were antonyms. How can one breed dogify both terms? And why should one breed want to?

But that is a minor, some might say purely semantic, argument. What truly disturbed Poodle Bitch was information on the breed's height and weight:

Height: Dogs 28 ½ -31 ½ inches (72-80 cm.) Bitches 26 ½-28 ½ inches (67-72 cm.)
Weight: Dogs 130-150 pounds (59-68 kg) Bitches 100-120 pounds (45-54kg)

According to a caption of one of the two photos accompanying the AP story,

The dog [Boomer] measures seven feet from nose to tail. stands 36 inches tall at the shoulders, measures 7 feet from nose to tail, and weighs 180 pounds.

This means that Boomer is 4 1/2 inches taller than the average expected height, but a full 30 pounds heavier than the average expected weight. Poodle Bitch returns to the breed information, to a section called "Health Problems":

Prone to hip dysplasia. Do not let a Landseer get fat. Also prone to a hereditary heart disease called sub-aortic stenosis (SAS). Breeders should have puppy's hearts checked by a veterinary cardiologist at 8-12 weeks of age. Adult Newfies should be cleared of SAS again before breeding.

Poodle Bitch wonders if Boomer isn't dangerously overweight-- and therefore his "record" size is not something to be celebrated. She further wonders if the reason Boomer "keeps all four paws on the floor when he drinks from the kitchen faucet" (as noted so approvingly in the story's second paragraph) is because the poor creature is physically incapable of jumping up?

Weber plans to send Boomer's measurements to Guinness World Records. The previous record holder was a nearly 4-foot-tall Great Dane that died this summer.

The body of the gargantuan Great Dane is still warm, Poodle Bitch notes with some distaste. She also notes that this summer another record-holding dog, Chanel, the so-called "World's Oldest Dog," passed away this summer.

(Were Poodle Bitch of a conspiratorial bent, she might wonder if record-holding dogs were being targeted by someone or something- perhaps cold-hearted rivals for their place in the record books?

But Poodle Bitch is not of a conspiratorial bent. She finds it perfectly plausible that an unhealthily large Great Dane and a dog of an accelerated age might die within months of one another.)

She would like to add that, after seeing the film "The King of Kong," she has absolutely no faith in The Guinness Book of World Records anyway.

As an aside, Poodle Bitch found the story of Boomer via the bing search engine. She notes with some amusement that several mentions of the 7 foot-long dog appeared from various web destinations, yet all of them seemingly from the same AP article that provides the reader with almost no real information. Below is the first page of the search results:

"Boomer may be a buster" is a sentence that makes no sense (what, exactly, is it that Boomer may be "busting"? the kitchen sink from which she drinks? the record books?-- if the record books, then why would anyone want to read a story about a dog that only may be a record buster? Poodle Bitch wonders if there is so little going on the world now), but seeing it repeated over and over again on the search results page caused it to take on an almost surreal lack of meaning.

Boomer may be a buster. Then again, he may just be an extremely unhealthy dog in need of medical attention. The AP doesn't really care about that-- they got their story, and they got it placed in various outlets all over the country.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Zach Braff Sounds Very Much Like a Golden Retriever

Zach Braff, the star of a program called "Scrubs," which Poodle Bitch does not watch, and of a film called "Garden State," during which Poodle Bitch fell asleep, has carved out a (hopefully) lucrative if not artistically satisfying career doing commercial voice over work.

This state of affairs has annoyed a writer at Slate.

Braff's voiceover work can currently be heard in two TV ad campaigns, one for PUR water filters and the other for Cottonelle toilet paper.
Braff's vocal performances, however—particularly in these Cottonelle ads—are so over-the-top annoying that they call attention to themselves. Not good attention.

Listen to Braff's supremely irritating take on the Cottonelle puppy. I recognize that the ad is meant to play on the viewer's soft spot for adorable house pets. But images of the puppy do that well enough. There's no need to have Braff hammily voicing the canine thought process.

"Hammy" and "annoying" are two words that Poodle Bitch would use to describe the typical Labrador voice (do not let certain propaganda sites mislead you regarding their "even temperament." That is a euphemism for "dull," and Labs know this, and overcompensate). For this reason, the makers of the commercial are to be commended for casting Mr. Braff- and chastised for casting the Lab. Complaining that someone providing a Lab's voice is "annoying" is like complaining that someone painted the sky less blue than it should be.

Poodle Bitch would point out the Slate writer that Mr. Braff was acting the breed, and quite convincingly.

That said, there is one other thing about the commercial that perturbed Poodle Bitch, and was apparently missed by the Slate writer. Poodle Bitch shall embed the commercial below, for the benefit of her readers.

This puppy Lab- a baby- describes himself as "lookin' sexy." Poodle Bitch is rather tired of the sexualization of puppies. She wonders why it is that baby dogs can't simply be baby dogs?

There is plenty of time for "lookin' sexy" when the even temperamented pup grows up.

Poodle Bitch wonders why it is that humans insist on sexualizing puppies.

Sexualized puppy photograph source.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Story Both Strange and Heartwarming. Also Confusing and Mysterious. And Possibly Sinister.

Poodle Bitch is moved by the story of "Lab-Boxer mix" Brindle, the dog who for some reason ran off from his human companion in Virginia in 1999, and ended up in Oklahoma.

Of course, Poodle Bitch has to wonder exactly why it is that Brindle opened the door of his Virginia home and made his way to Oklahoma. Not having been to either state, Poodle Bitch feels unqualified to rate the relative merits of one against the other.

This leaves Poodle Bitch free to speculate on Brindle's human companion. The newscaster reporting the story mentions that Brindle left on "Super Bowl Sunday, 1999." Poodle Bitch feels safe in assuming that the Super Bowl, a sporting event at which characters like Michael Vick throw oblong balls at one another, was an important part of Brindle's companion Gary Rowley's life.

Poodle Bitch does not wish to sound unduly cruel, so she will limit herself to observing that 1,300 miles is quite a distance to go to get away from someone.

And then, once humans found the fugitive Lab-Boxer mix in the state where "the wind comes sweeping down the plain," they contacted Mr. Rowley through his facebook page. Ah, facebook. Truly, there is nowhere to hide anymore.

The "reunion" between Brindle and Mr. Rowley could take place some time next week, assuming poor Brindle is given the veterinarian's okay to travel. Poodle Bitch hopes that whatever the veterinarian decides will be in Brindle's best interests. Hopefully the crack reporter who gave us this story will be on the case with a follow-up next week.

Humans Treat Their Children as Pets

Poodle Bitch was amused to read this Time article citing a study that suggests a link between eating candy as a child, and adult criminal behavior.

What parent hasn't used candy to pacify a cranky child or head off a brewing tantrum? When reasoning, threats and time-outs fail, a sugary treat often does the trick. But while that chocolate-covered balm may be highly effective in the short term, say British scientists, it may be setting youngsters up for problem behavior later. According to a new study, kids who eat too many treats at a young age risk becoming violent in adulthood.

Poodle Bitch is generally no fan of sugary treats (although she is intrigued by the idea of a "chocolate-covered balm"), but she does enjoy tomato slices and dried duck jerky treats, and she is not above admitting that she will stop at nothing to get them. She has learned that there are subtle manipulations in which she can engage, to alert nearby humans that she is ready for reward. Among these subtle manipulations: attentively watching humans eat, cuddling, sitting upon a human's lap, batting at them with her paw, rolling over onto her back to expose her provocative parts, and barking reminders of her existence.

She does love her tomato slices. She prefers they be no more than one-eighth of an inch thick, by the way.

But she was surprised-- although she's not altogether certain as to why she was surprised-- to see that humans did the same thing with their human offspring. Based on the first sentence of the story (as emphasized by Poodle Bitch above), it's apparently quite common for human parents to feed their children sweets in order to get them to, to use the popular terminology, shut up.

Perhaps this is one reason why there is such a childhood obesity "epidemic."

The present study, of course, suggests something perhaps even more sinister, at least to Poodle Bitch's admittedly canine eye.

The research was led by Simon Moore, a senior lecturer in Violence and Society Research at Cardiff University in the U.K., who specializes in the study of vulnerable youngsters.

Hmm. Poodle Bitch was under the impression that all youngsters were "vulnerable." She is growing more suspicious of this by the sentence. Perhaps things are different in the U.K. Perhaps only some youngsters are "vulnerable." The others have hard exoskeletons that protect them from the elements.

Moore turned to the British Cohort Study, a long-term survey of 17,000 people born during a one-week period in April 1970. That study included periodic evaluations of many different aspects of the growing children's lives, such as what they ate, certain health measures and socioeconomic status. Moore plumbed the data for information on kids' diet and their later behavior: at age 10, the children were asked how much candy they consumed, and at age 34, they were questioned about whether they had been convicted of a crime. Moore's analysis suggests a correlation: 69% of people who had been convicted of a violent act by age 34 reported eating candy almost every day as youngsters; 42% of people who had not been arrested for violent behavior reported the same. "Initially we thought this [effect] was probably due to something else," says Moore. "So we tried to control for parental permissiveness, economic status, whether the kids were urban or rural. But the result remained. We couldn't get rid of it."

Now, of course, Poodle Bitch has lost all interest in the "study" itself. Can you see why? Poodle Bitch notes that the "long-term survey" was on "many different aspects of the growing children's lives." It was not intended to be a study of any one specific lifestyle trend. A bunch of people have been asked a series of questions at various points in their lives. Now, people are interested in the nefarious influences of sugary treats on "vulnerable youngsters," so someone is looking specifically at that. We have no way of knowing how many of the 17,000 answered every question, and we have no way of knowing how many of those answered questions truthfully.

For instance, could it be that those who have been convicted of a violent act by age 34 were also capable of lying on their survey questions? Poodle Bitch wonders why it is that "scientists" would take violent people at their word. If they did not, then Poodle Bitch would like to know how it was that the scientists checked the veracity of every survey-taker's answers.

She hopes that the scientists had better things to do than find out whether the 69% of people convicted of a violent act by age 34 were lying about how much candy they ate when they were ten years old. Perhaps they were trying to figure out how to get the results of their meaningless study into Time magazine?

What is more alarming to Poodle Bitch is the casual, throw-away line that opens the article. She will copy and paste it again:

What parent hasn't used candy to pacify a cranky child or head off a brewing tantrum?

Poodle Bitch wonders why it is that the authors of the study and the article are trying to alarm human parents about the dangers that their spoiled and overweight children might become violent felons, when they should be trying to alarm human parents that their spoiled and overweight children are spoiled and overweight?

Isn't that enough?

Will Üter Zörker grow to be an even worse criminal than...

...Bart Simpson?

Üter Zörker photograph source.
Bart Simpson photograph source.

Project Runway 6 Episode 7: Who Really Deserves to Be There?

Poodle Bitch today knows true happiness, and the satisfaction that can only come from seeing true justice served on a reality television competition. This week’s seventh episode of “Project Runway” has truly given Poodle Bitch something to smile about.

She will resist the temptation to spoil the episode upfront, and will instead plow into her description of the episode.

It begins with Gordana inaccurately stating that all remaining designers deserve to be here. The irony, of course, is that Gordana herself does not deserve to be there. In Poodle Bitch’s estimation it is the poodle companion Irina, the whimsical Shirin, and the dignified Epperson who most deserve to be there. Beyond those three, Poodle Bitch has seen little to excite her.

Logan moves in with Nicolas, Christopher, and Epperson, and “the four boys” make a pact to try to get rid of “the girls." Talentless Nicolas jokes that they’re targeting Shirin. Poodle Bitch does not believe that Shirin has anything to fear from Nicolas.

Unfortunately, Nicolas has immunity this week, after his undeserved “win” last week.

This week, Althea designed something for the trampy businesswoman who wants easy access for a quick nooner during her lunch break. Poodle Bitch is appalled.

Martine Reardon, from Macy’s, tells the designers that their challenge is to create two designs that will be appropriate for the Macy’s “Inc” line. The winner will be commissioned by Macy’s to create a holiday dress that will be sold by Macy’s online.

Mr. Gunn tells the designers that they will be working in teams of two- each designer will get 15 minutes to create a pitch for Ms. Reardon. Her choices for five best will be team leaders, and will choose from the also-rans who will work under them.

Carol Hannah, who in the first episode claimed to create fashions for woodland sprites, interviews that she feels she has a good chance of winning this challenge because she’s so “down to earth about fashion.” She understands the typical Macy’s shopper, she “can see what they’re looking for.”

Poodle Bitch has only once been to Macy’s, when she was temping for a seeing eye dog, but if Carol Hannah is in touch with the typical Macy’s shopper, Poodle Bitch has little incentive to return.

Louise is surprised by how subdued the Inc line is. Her plan of creating something more outrageous will have to wait.

Ms. Reardon displays good taste by selecting poodle companion Irina as the first team captain. No surprise that Irina created the best pitch, and got the first selection.

With her second choice, Ms. Reardon displays an erratic nature, by choosing Irina’s nemesis, the lackluster and dull Althea. Althea interviews how wonderful it is for her to be chosen as “the boss” for yet another team challenge. Poodle Bitch would advise her not to let it go to her head; she is still a terrible designer.

Ms. Reardon’s third choice shows her to be almost worrisomely bizarre, when she selects the woodland sprite girl Carol Hannah. Apparently she is in touch with the typical Macy’s shopper.

Ms. Reardon seems to be on firmer ground, to Poodle Bitch’s estimation, with her fourth choice, Christopher.

Christopher's "disco pumpkin." Poodle Bitch can easily imagine that phrase entering the vernacular of the club scene. She hears that the Scissor Sisters are already working on a song with that title.

Fifth is Louise. That gets a “wow” out of Mr. Gunn. Poodle Bitch wonders if the comment was for Louise specifically, or for the fact that only one of the four team captains was truly worthy of the honor bestowed upon them?

Althea selects Logan; Christopher takes Epperson; Louise suffers a lapse in judgment and selects Nicolas,; Irina, troublingly, cannot decide between Gordana and Shirin, and asks them to decide. Being no dummy, Gordana says, “I like (to) work with you,” and a team is formed; Carol Hannah is therefore left with Shirin. There is no way that Shirin should have been chosen last. Poodle Bitch has a hard time believing that Shirin did not also present one of the five best designs. Poodle Bitch wonders about Ms. Reardon’s eye.

Poodle Bitch must say she is disappointed by Irina’s indecision. At mood, she seems to let Gordana get the best of her, while the partner she should have had, Shirin, is footloose and fancy free with the woodland sprite girl.

At least she didn’t forget her money and drawing, as Louise did.

Woodland sprite girl is worried about delegating the work. Along those same lines, Irina interviews that team challenges are aggravating, because she has to do her portion of the work, and look over the other person’s shoulder. Poodle Bitch is starting to worry that the show is being edited in such a way as to prepare for an Irina exit.

Nicolas complains to Althea about Louise’s design. But he does like her bird noises. Louise seems to have waited until very late in the game, or the producers decided to wait until now to show us, just how “quirky” she really is. Yes, Louise makes bird noises when she works, along with a few others that Poodle Bitch found indecipherable. Perhaps she was mimicking the sounds of a disappointed sewing machine- one that is not employed in the creation of garments by the lovely poodle companion Irina?

Epperson tells Christopher that, unlike his previous team challenge, he actually respects his partner. Christopher is incorporating Epperson’s ideas into the design. “It’s us,” he says. Now, of course, Poodle Bitch is starting to worry about Christopher and Epperson.

Mr. Gunn doesn’t like leggings, as he tells team woodland sprite. Yet he concedes that the team’s designs have the potential to knock people’s socks off.

He is concerned about the ruffle on Louise’s dress. He trusts them to catch anything that goes awry.

He likes Althea’s unstereotypical woman’s suit.

He exposes fissures in the team of Irina and Gordana.

He loves Christopher’s shirt dress, except for the textiles. It shows a lot of “potential for reinvention.” Naturally, Christopher and Epperson are over the moon about the compliment.

Irina worries that Gordana’s dress is “sort of a disaster.”

Nicolas complains that “ruffles make me sick.” They were created to hide flaws, he says. Poodle Bitch must grudgingly admit that she agrees with him, to a certain extent. She is not made ill by ruffles, but she is not a designer. Perhaps if she were, she would feel more strongly about them.

She feels very strongly about black olives.

Woodland sprite has a “mini freak out” in her head. She apparently does that every night. Irina says their stuff looks like “it was like bought in a discount store.” Poodle Bitch would not be quite so harsh in her assessment; but, the designs do not compare favorably with Irina’s.

Poodle Bitch is curious as to just how much Shirin did to make Team Woodland Sprite's designs so palatable to her. She finds it difficult to believe that Carol Hannah could have come up with clothing that did not thoroughly irritate Poodle Bitch's sensibilities.

Next day, Irina interviews that she is not nervous. Yet, her dress makes her feel sad, because of the blue.

Gordana is frustrated by what she terms a “lack of direction” from Irina. This is not good. Poodle Bitch is again feeling nervous about Irina’s chances.

Christopher believes his is “the dream team.” Nicolas is glad he has immunity.

Poodle Bitch is quite happy to see that Michael Kors is back. Zanna Roberts, senior fashion editor for Marie Claire magazine is sitting in for the sadly absent Nina Garcia, and Martine Reardon is the last other judge.

Heidi says “one or more will be out.” The contestants give one another ominous, portentous looks. Will two of them be going home? Three? If they sent home everyone who didn’t “deserve to be there,” then, at least according to Gordana, none of them will be going home.

Irina is content, and Gordana confident, with their designs.

Irina's beautiful dress. What is there to say other than, Poodle Bitch wishes she were human, if only for five minutes, so that she could luxuriate in it? As it is, she would be happy to lay upon it, on her pillow under the bed.

Logan’s and Althea’s skirt keeps riding up the model’s legs. It is the first interesting thing that either of them has been involved with on the show.

The rest of the designs are rather unmemorable, Poodle Bitch has to say. At least, she can’t remember any of them.

Irina and Gordana, and Woodland Sprite and Shirin, have the highest scores. Poodle Bitch is relieved and delighted.

Irina tells the judges that she wanted Gordana to come out of her shell more. Gordana is a designer, and she should take Irina’s “lack of direction” as a compliment. Irina did not believe that Gordana needed a lot of direction. Heidi tells Irina that she would wear her dress today. “You actually gave us a pattern,” Michael Kors says.

The judges are complimentary to the team woodland sprite designs as well, but Poodle Bitch is too happy to hear Irina’s compliments to pay them much attention.

As for the lowest scores, Louise and Nicolas leave the judges confused. The ruffles are very overstated. “This looks like a bride’s maid’s dress with a shower loofah rouched up the front of it,” Michael Kors says. “No modern girl wants to wear that dress.”

Heidi tells Nicolas he’s lucky he has immunity.

Heidi is blown away by what Epperson and Christopher put together. This is not a compliment. Part of his dress looks like it has a bib at the top. The shirtdress, the one that Mr. Gunn said had the potential to be reinventive, looks like a librarian’s shirt dress from 1979, according to Mr. Kors. “It looks like a tablecloth.” The other is a “teal, charmuse disco pumpkin… Did you really think they went together? They don’t.”

Christopher starts to cry. But it is too difficult to feel sorry for him, for-

Irina wins! Poodle Bitch could not be happier. Once again, for some reason, the judges made the proper decision. (Could it be because Michael Kors has returned? No- Poodle Bitch seems to recall that he was around during at least one of the weeks when Mitchell was retained.) Poodle Bitch is pleased.

Poodle companion Irina and the dress she designed for Macy's Inc line.

Louise and Christopher are in the bottom two. Heidi informs them “one, or both of you, will be out.” She then witheringly puts them in their place. She uses language that is so brutal that Poodle Bitch is surprised that either of them is able to remain standing.

Unsurprisingly, Louise is out. Also unsurprisingly, Christopher remains to design another day. Did they really think we would fall for that “one or more of you will be out” statement?

Poodle Bitch wonders if Louise's design was so much worse than the stripper chic Althea sent tramping down the runway?

Irina and Inc dress photograph source.
Design photographs source.