Learning Intermediate Spanish From DVDs Makes a Bit Futurama Uneven

If you are in school, you can pick up a language in class.  Of course you have that pressure of having to make the grades.

Not everyone is up to that, but if I remember right, everyone had to have a language in High School.  Some folks can’t pull it together to learn a second language.

I got out of High School and then learned a stack of languages, all for programming computers.  I still am learning some, but for the most part they tend to be a variation on a given theme.  All for the Web at some level.

Right now, I’m teaching myself Spanish.  Partly with TV and Partly with Computer Based Training.  Getting to a basic level of comprehension is not too tough.  There are some excellent websites out there to get you the basics.

The Apple Is Red.

The Socks are here.

What Is Your Question?

You can go pretty far with the basics.  Once you get past that, it does get more difficult.   Remember back to your own childhood and how you learned.  It was random words, then built basic constructs, and you got feedback on how badly you spoke.  Your family, friends, and neighbors would correct you and you would get better.

That may be the problem here.  I’m doing it in isolation.  I used Duolingo.com to get myself past the basics, listen to Spanish language radio and watch TV on my own.  After a while, the TV Programs get repetitive, so you change one series out for others, and move on.

I got bold. I started watching movies dubbed in Spanish, and always the Closed Captioning helped.  I am fairly dependent on closed captions.  When you are older, or merely an adult, you read better than you speak.  When you are younger, you speak better than you read.

Or so I have been told.

I got to the point where I was watching Plaza Sesamo, which is Spanish Sesame Street, and can quote dialogue on some of those sketches because I have seen them too many times.  It’s time to try other things.

One day I started looking at my DVD collection and wondered about some of the shows I liked watching.  Are They Dubbed?

It turns out that some of them are.  “Disponible es Español” it says.   Available in Spanish.

That’s it!  I was thinking about watching Futurama again, why not in Spanish?

Fry’s first glimpse of New New York

Futurama picture from wikipedia.com

Put in the disc, got to the menu, chose Spanish Language and Closed Captions in Spanish.  Play!

I watched as Fry was playing a Donkey Kong knock off in a Pizza Parlor in New York City on December 31, 1999 and quickly realized the problem.

Voices were wrong.  Not only wrong, but they didn’t match the closed captioning.

That’s kind of a problem folks!

I’ve seen Futurama a couple times through.  That first episode I probably saw as many as five or more times.   It isn’t that I am obsessed with it, I watched the series with my programmer at work during lunch.  My office was the one that had all the laughing coming from it because we’d be watching comedy TV while stuffing our faces.

Now, mind you, while English to Spanish translations are fairly faithful, each language has its quirks and a Literal Word By Word translation is never completely correct.  Idioms don’t always sound right when literally translated.

But…

This was just weird.  It was as if someone said “Lets mess with them”.

There are a number of ways to say one specific thing.  Something can be a plant or a bush or a shrub and they are all correct.  Add context and calling something a plant when it is obvious that a cactus is more appropriate became glaring.

Any given language has phrases where certain thoughts are said multiple ways.  The concept of truth can be said as “De Verdad” or “Claro” but translated slightly differently when brought back into English.

Whoever did Futurama did it wrong.  They had the script, chose the words, spoke the first set but used the closed captioning for the second.

Try reading along with that one on your own.

The other mind warp that happened?  The voices are just wrong.

Fry, Leela, and Bender on a buggy on the Moon

Futurama picture from wikipedia.com

Leela is a “standard New World Spanish” accent.  Not Spain Spanish, probably a Mexican Standard or perhaps Colombian.  In English, she’s got Katie Sagal’s voice, a fairly unaccented woman with a powerful voice.  Pleasant.  We like Leela, Leela’s a babe.

Ok, they got that right.  But…

Hermes went from being Jamaican to being Standard.

Fry went from a slight NYC accent to being Standard.

Bender went from being a thick working class NYC accent to being Standard.

Picking up on a trend there?

Yeah, it is like they scrubbed the entire “character” out of the voice character.

I guess it’s like when you go to another country for the first time and turn on the TV and watch I Love Lucy dubbed into French.  Ricky swearing in French just doesn’t have the same impact.

I’ll have to find I Love Lucy and see if I can understand Ricky’s swearing.  Might pick up a few words here and there!

I’m sure some of the dubbing on other series will be better.   After all, the kids shows I watch, plus the Nature Documentaries that I catch are all captioned correctly.  If the voice on the TV says a word, the text comes out correctly based on the spoken word.

That may be my problem.  The Crutch of Closed Captioning has reached its end of use.  I need to set it aside.

The last episode of Futurama I saw I watched in Spanish with English subs.  Easier, but I may as well watch it in full English.

I’ll leave the captions off instead.

Who knows, it may help me get better at things.  Until then I’ll stick with watching my DVDs in Spanish and annoying myself with bad captioning.

“En serio?”

“Sí”, it gives me an excuse to watch the stuff, right?

Teaching Rack How To Dog

I found myself standing in the backyard.  I wasn’t alone.  I think, strictly speaking, I am never alone in the yard.  There are always wild critters back there.  Lizards, snakes, iguanas, and more.

No, I had my own critter with me.  Rack.  The McNab SuperDog(TM) was staring at me.  I wasn’t the font of all knowledge, but he seems to think so.

I went back to puttering.  After a glancing blow from Hurricane Matthew, I stood the lawn chair upright, and found that I had some weeds to pull.  There are always weeds to pull in a temperate or tropical yard and garden.  You can always find something that doesn’t belong.

Freeport Bahamas got slammed by that storm, we didn’t really have anything that a line of Thunderstorms would have caused.

I reached down to pull some philodendron vine that had decided it wanted to live in the turf that passes for grass here and bent back upright.

He was still staring.

I said “What?” as I walked toward the grey bin to drop the fist full of vines and other unwelcome guests.

Rack trotted away, bouncing at each step.

Me being the clumsy type, I bumped into the trash can.

At that point, Rack shot into hyperspace.  I felt the breeze waft past as he ran past me at something over the speed of light, Einstein not withstanding, and heard the pop as he passed behind the shed.  Rack had disappeared into the alternate universe and paid a visit to his other family in the dog universe.

Simultaneously I heard another pop behind me as he re-materialized and dropped back into normal space.

Hard to believe that this was the same fearful dog that I had adopted around three years ago.  Having spent his first six months with some moron who thought hunting was the right thing to do with his free time, and that a herding dog would be the right thing to have with it, and the next month and a half in a veterinarian office getting more fearful by the day, I had a dog who has something that would best be described as having PTSD.

Not to mock anyone who has PTSD, but a fearful dog like Rack will drop to his belly if you drop a spoon into a cup of coffee, and I have seen him flatten out in the middle of a four lane highway when he heard a large semi-truck a quarter of a mile away blow out his brakes.

Hunting Dog, Indeed.  Go do something constructive with your time, moron.

Rack dropped to a prance across the pool and looked back and smiled.

I have to teach him How to Dog.

I have always had fearful dogs.  By the time Lettie passed away, she was literally bulletproof.  I could take her anywhere and she would simply deal with it.  The first walk I took her to Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia well after dark, she slammed herself against a wall in fear, shivering, when the Route 23 bus came down The Hill from the Chestnut Hill Station.

Fearful dogs, I get.  I know what they’re going through.  They just take longer to come out of their shells.

Not everyone wants a goofy puppy who bounds around and acts like they are into everything that you are into.  That’s a lot of work in a very short period of time, and most people are not up to task.

Goofy Puppies are great, you can mold them, and sometimes you even get it right.  More often than not, you don’t get it right.  Then you have a horrible yappy Havanese, Maltese, or Yorkshire Terrier who barks at anything and everything, fiercely, and tries to kill it.  “It” could be a bird on a tree limb across the yard, or the 5:15PM flight into the local airport coming in from overseas.  It could also be me or one of mine, out for my evening walk, and your dog went insane.
Why?  Simple, you forgot to let it be a Dog.  You tried to Humanize the creature and you ended up with a mental case.  You forgot to guide your dog and teach it acceptable behavior in what to it is an alien environment.

I jumped looking at Rack’s smile.  He went back into Hyperspace and re-materialized with me under the Mango Tree.   I had the most Florida of experiences.  I was rubbing my dog’s belly while he was wiggling around, under a mango tree, next to the coleus, adjacent to the pool, next to the sea grape tree.

I stood up, and bounced on the balls of my feet.   Rack set himself upright, bounced into the air.

McNab Dogs can jump.  He’s out of practice, but he can jump five feet off the ground and put his paws on my chest.

 

Oh well, I’ll have foot prints on my chest until I can change, no big deal.

He did a tight figure eight around the mango, then the palm, added a loop behind the bougainvillea, and came back with a leap and …

A Woof.

Ok, this is new.  He actually barked.   Once.  Fearful PTSD Dogs don’t do that.  They may whine or cry.  They will hide, cower, shiver.  But bark?  In Joy?

Holy crap this is good!

You see, at a little past four years old, my terrified, scared PTSD McNab Dog learned that it can be alright to bark in joy!

I looked at him, upside down begging for more tummy rubs and said “Woooof?”.

He flipped back onto his feet, did another figure eight plus a half loop for good measure where he bounced off the back wall of the house, rebounded, and said “WOOF!”.
I thought that 7:45 in the morning may be a little early for WOOF! but we’ll see.  It is past the 10PM to 7AM quiet time.  Nobody was in Vern or Joe’s yards, I thought I’d hear about it later if there was a problem.  Rack needed this!

I jumped into the air and played keep away weaving through the pots near the pool, next to the banana tree, stopped and bounced.

Rack ran back around and lept into the air, coming down and “WOOF!”.

“Woof?”

“WOOF!” Rack replied.

I responded with some more windsprints back and forth and running with Rack.  I remember that I used to run 10Km around Valley Forge National Park in Pennsylvania and there was this one 45 degree hill there that I would power up on my runs…

One more lap around the mango tree and Rack ran over to the spa.  When I saw him drink from the water there, I knew it was time to wind him down.  He was still excited but it was time to go in.  He needed the cleaner water from the bowl in there.

But that’s the key.  Knowing what to do.  No matter the breed, no matter the size, from Rudy the Chihuahua down the block to that Great Dane that is more horse than dog, you can have a balanced dog of a lifetime.

I’m believing that it is more about taking things at the dogs pace and being a guide instead of a leader.  Making sure that what you do with the dog is not too much but just right.  You need to uplift your fearful dog rather than calm down an aggressive dog.

After all, if the dog gets to be a hair trigger barky dog, it’s up to you to teach it to calm down.
It may be a bit too much to expect these days.  The “Rational Man” that society used to depend on to get things done has been taken advantage and worn down and replaced by the “Entitled Man”.  The Me First of the 1980s mindset ended up with day care for kids and for dogs and society is where it is today as a result.

But if you take things steadily and rationally, you may actually find that the returns are still there.

You may actually get a WOOF! of joy instead of a mental case pacing from front door to back barking at the jets in a holding pattern getting ready to land at the big city airport down the road a piece.

It’s OK to Troll Your Dog, or How to Adjust Training When it is a Little Off

It’s OK to Troll Your Dog, or How to Adjust Training When it is a Little Off

We all live with little recorders, we who have dogs.  I suspect cats are the same way but my allergies have not gone away to the point where I could consider staying in a house with one let alone letting one into my life.

Over the 40,000 years, give or take a few, that we have lived with what descended from Wolves, we have co-evolved.

They learned that if they keep these weird bipeds around, they will get food for them, provide shelter and security, and perhaps even help make their lives easier.

Being intelligent and social animals, what eventually became Dog learned.  They learned how to live with human’s quirks and figured out how to read us.  There are many stories of how dogs know what you’re doing before you even do.

Trust In Dog, this is my story.

You see, I’ve learned how to troll my dog.

Anyone who has a herding dog understands that you have to give them opportunity to exercise.  Both mind and body being worked leads to a happy dog.  In my own case, my own happiest times were when I was working out for Inline Skating.  My schedule was five days of weightlifting plus 100 miles of skating per week in peak season.  My dogs couldn’t keep up with that so I also had to walk them three times a day.

While you’re out, your dog is watching what is going on.  Taking it all in.  Being a recorder of what is going on and how you react to it.

Life is a bit more settled here, I’m not quite so active, and I have a fairly rigid schedule.  I’m up early, sometimes as early as 4:30 in the morning.  I walk Rack, my McNab SuperDog (TM), out into the heart of Wilton Manors and pass by City Hall about the same time daily.  I know when the shift change is happening for the police, and when the Fort Lauderdale Police are speeding down Wilton Drive every morning to get their donuts at the Courtyard Cafe.

 

Seriously. Donuts.  Literally.

When I get home, there are more “scheduled activities”.  Rack gets fed.  I get my coffee.

Rack watches.  I go through my own machinations waiting for sunrise.  I simply didn’t realize that I was training him for that.

Between 7 and 7:30 in the morning, my drip feed irrigation gets turned on by computer.  The orchids get watered, hibiscus cuttings are being rooted, and my flower pots are getting a thorough drink.  Somewhere around half way through, I tend to go outside.  Drip Feed Irrigation works with small sprinklers and small sprinkler heads and they all get clogged up fast.  I have to go out to clear them all.

To go outside, I take the wireless keyboard off my lap, set it on the table, pick myself up and… DOG.

I put two and two together.  The next day I would test my theory.

It was right about sunrise that morning.  I was sitting in my low Poang chair and moved my feet close to my body against the tile floor.

*SCRAPE*

I heard trotting to the back door.  Rack thought it was his time.

I simply sat there.  Was looking at a news article on the BBC news that moment.  Rack got bored at the back door and went back to the corner.

 

*SCRAPE*  my soles said to the floor.

 

Rack ran to the back door again.  “Got bored, did you?”  as he trotted back to the corner.

*SCRAPE*  again.

This time, as Rack trotted past, he looked over at me.  I was having aspersions cast at me.  Yes, my dog was giving me Shade.  I had attitude being given.  My left lip curled in a half smile.

I waited until he sat down, gave him a couple minutes.

*SCRAPE*.  This time, not so fast.  He walked over and I felt his whiskers brush against my left arm.

“What’s a matter boy?  What do you want?”

On the word “want” he was over at the back door.  “You’re early!”

He went back to the corner.  I gave him a couple minutes.

In time, I moved my hand.  The keyboard creaked a little.  Plastic on plastic.  Rack ran to the back door.

“You’re early!” I said in a sing song voice.

I did take it easy on him and followed through.  I did take a mental note, keyboard works too.  I always put that on the table when I get up out of my little chair.

We went outside and he watered the big palm.

The next day was the same.  The Scraping of my feet against the floor was less of a trigger though.  I started out with the keyboard instead and he was back at me.  This time it was nose under my arm and two brown eyes boring holes into my soul.

“Rack, I’m not ready yet”  Forgetting that “Ready” is a trigger for him as well.  I caved early and took him out.

What I was up to was trying to reeducate my dog.  Certain breeds of Dog like the McNab and other top ten intelligent breeds really should be looked at as a “Peer”.  A sentient being with a different kind of and different level of intelligence, but intelligence none the less.

Rack is an extremely intelligent dog.  He learned that scraping of the shoes on the floor or the creaking of the keyboard means Out.  He learned by my telling him he’s being early that he wasn’t going to get that ice cube I use to cool down my coffee.

He also learned that the second mug of coffee was when he gets ice cubes.  You don’t want to give a dog as many ice cubes as they will eat since they will wear down their teeth or even break one.  I’m only giving him one a day.  If he gets one off the floor, that’s a different story.

So this particular morning, I see a smiling black and white face looking at me from around the corner.

“Rack, you’re early!”  I had my pretzel roll in the toaster, eggs in the microwave, the water hadn’t even been boiled for the coffee.  That sent him back but I knew he was listening.  I had to blunt this particular sharp edged dog.  Begging for food and treats is not something he is known to do but he does understand that I am a soft touch, especially for his prized unsalted hard pretzels.

The microwave beeped.  “Rack, you’re early” as he looked in at me again.  Hard to resist that smiling face but I had to.  Time to get schooled!

The Tea Kettle whistled, and got poured into the iced tea glass, coffee mug, and the herbal iced tea in the decanter for later.  “Rack, really you are early!”  sent him back to the corner.

I decided I would see how close he was listening.  My egg,cheese, and onion on a pretzel roll sandwich was partly consumed as Rack decided to check things out again.  I didn’t particularly expect that but I never feed him in the kitchen.  He was still waiting on that ice cube.

 

When I finished breakfast up I realized he wasn’t coming back out.  I was washing dishes, clearing and drying the counter, and then opened the freezer.  Very carefully, quietly, I reached into the ice bin.  He didn’t hear it. I was able to get five cubes for the coffee and go on my way.

He never got his cube that morning.

So moral of the day is that if you think you are being watched… you are!

In other words, you aren’t paranoid if they’re actually watching you!

Rack, You Don’t Get Your Ice Cube Until The Second Mug Of Coffee

The deal with a McNab Dog is that if you can’t train one, you can’t train a dog.

They’re “Gentle Souls”, terrible picks for hunting dogs.  I’ve been told that about mine, and I have seen it born out on the McNab boards on Facebook and other places.  I may be wrong, but Rack being my second one, I don’t think so.

Don’t raise your voice, Don’t yell, don’t… you get the picture.  They like things fairly calm.

Think Border Collies that can Relax.  Mine is curled up in the corner next to me.  Flattened out like a pancake, yipping and running in his sleep like he does almost every day.  All the fun and none of the twitchiness you see in other smart breeds.

They watch what you do.  Intently.  If I get up and go to use the bathroom, he will walk over to the door and sit outside of it until he hears that I am finished.  I’ll hear his tags chime as he walks away.

If he could speak, he would be saying “Just checking in on you, Dad”.

While he never quite got the “Show Me” behavior, he does have my routine down.  Show Me was where I would tell my old girl Lettie to show me what she wanted and she would go there and point at it with her snout.  It wasn’t always food or water either.  Once I had something on my shoe and it bothered her so she made sure that I knew it before I went into the house.
A real Dog Of A Life Time.  Rack has big shoes to fill and he’s doing pretty well to fill them at that.

Things have an order to him.  He’s like a Business Analyst.  There is a process to things. Everything must be done in a certain way and at a certain time.  He has learned not to bark at the UPS Truck loudly.  Loud is reserved for people at the door.  He has a quiet “woof” to do the truck just to let me know.

We have our routine.  He waters the sign post near the house while I look up and stare at Mars near the Moon, or the clouds on the horizon over the Ocean in the predawn hours.  We have our route of about a mile and a half in the morning, and he holds me to it.  Every turn is mapped out and I have no doubt he could make it home on his own as long as he doesn’t get spooked by the evil 50 Bus or a Diesel powered Cube Truck.

We come home, he gets fed, I get fed, I get online for my routine while sipping coffee.

I have told him that he doesn’t get an ice cube then so he wanders off and goes off duty for a while.  Herding Dogs need a job.  If they don’t have one, they will make one for themselves.  Ranchers out west know this, and I certainly have become my own dog’s job.

Later it is time for breakfast.  The sun has long since come up, we’ve gone out back and done a perimeter search and examined the Zone 3 Drip Feed Irrigation that is overwatering my plants.

I get all the ingredients out and make whatever it is that I choose to have, and this always varies.

Rack has not shown up yet to beg.  I’ve been in the refrigerator, the freezer, boiled water, poured cereal. He may have walked through, glanced up to see what I am doing, but it is more of a “Hi, I’m Here, I’m Doing My Job, I’ll be back when you need me” thing.

Coffee is a ritual.  Boiling water hits 21 grams of espresso grind coffee beans.  If I roast them and they’re not commercial coffee, it’s always a Medium Light roast.  Three packets Sweet N Low, two and a half measured teaspoons of creamer.

Yes.  Two and a Half.  Not Three.

I have a 22 ounce French Press coffee mug, steep the grounds for five minutes.  I have added about 16 ounces of water, maybe less – it is a By Eye measurement.  Then I finish off the coffee.

Here is where I get Rack’s attention.

Borrowed from Facebook

Open the freezer door.  I reach for the first ice cube and there is the chiming of the dog tags.  I get six cubes – five for me, one for Rack.

I try to be slick but we both know that won’t work.

I start adding the cubes to the coffee to bring the temperature and levels to where I can just drink it and:

“Hi Rack, What do you want?”

Twin brown eyes staring intensely at my hands give away his desires.

I hand over the prize.  He gets his ice cube of the day.  Happy place for a dog to be.

As he walks away I say with a smile “Boy, you have a cushy life here!”.

He rounds the corner with a quick wag of the tail and goes back to crunching the cubes.

I swear this dog speaks English.

Command Shrapnel and the Collateral Damage Dog

Admit it.  Most dogs are badly trained.

Actually I should say that most if not almost all owners are badly trained and their dogs show it as a result.

Walking around the neighborhood, I see far too many stereotypes of small dogs.  Yapping, barking, straining at the leash.  The owner is apologizing, or worse.  Whispering comments of “No, Dear” does not instill any confidence.  The three pound bedroom slipper had decided a long time ago that this clown at the other end of the leash is not the leader, so I will be.

BarkBarkBarkBarkBark.

If you think it’s only yappers that do that, you’re mistaken.

See, I don’t normally worry about the middle of the pack.  The comfortable 40 to 50 pound dogs.  For some reason people see them as the sweet spot.  Not consciously, but in how they treat them.  It is rare that I see a midsized dog acting stupidly untrained as a bedroom slipper.  But it does happen, rarely.

However, you get to the big boys and now you have a different problem.  The Loaded Gun.  Somehow that 70 plus pound dog realizes that Mr Owner is not quite where he could be.  Mrs Owner is trying to walk a 100 pound beast and the pup knows that she can get pulled down.  So they’re sly and wait.  There will come a chance when they can have a little bit of freedom.  They may be runners, or barkers, or worse.

What happens in any of those cases?

I’m learning that Rack is learning.  We know that the easiest thing that you can do with a Herding Breed dog is to get them out and keep their minds busy.  Long walks.  Very long walks.  It helps that I am up before 5AM every day for the most part.  At 5AM the neighborhood is quiet.  Trucks are just starting to refuel the businesses for the next day.  The bus lines are beginning to get moving.  But not like another hour later when everyone is rushing for the office.

So, walk we do.  That first walk is usually around a mile and a half.  Helps keep the weight off both of us.  I’m rather happy not to be a stereotype of the fat dude sitting polishing a chair all day with his butt.

The good thing is it also keeps Rack happy.  He gets going and it requires a lot of management.  Lots of Come On, and Good Boy, and Lets Go, and This Way.

Where it gets amusing is when Command Shrapnel hits my dog and causes him to become Collateral Damage.

We’ll be walking along and I’m doing basically what boils down to Threat Assessment.

 

You hear barking first.

Then you spot the dog.

It’s already seen you, but you knew that.

Rack’s tail had been wagging, then it stopped.

Now the tail is hanging behind him.

Ears were perked, but have been flicking nervously.
I start to hear the commands.

The other person is saying things like “quiet” or “down”.

Then a “Sit!”

Rack Sits.

The other owner gets confused.

He barks another order.  “Come here!”.

 

While his dog is being insane about the presence of another person and heaven forfend, another dog, on its planet, he is firing off a volley of commands to his dog.

 

None of them work.  He simply does not have any kind of control over his relationship with the dog, the environment, and basically life.

What he has done is to give us a lot of information among the firing range approach of commanding a dog.

Not that it works, mind you.

But what he has done was to inform us that he has no idea what he is doing with his own dog.

He’s also amazed.  Rack Sat.  “How did you do that?”

He’s a McNab dog.  If you can’t train a McNab, you can’t train a dog.  I say “I didn’t, he listens.”

“But?”

 

“He’s collateral damage.  He was listening to you, decided this was for the best.”

I’m getting a really confused look at this point from the other owner.

“Rack?”  I get brown eyes in a field of black with a white stripe looking up at me.  A Smile on Canine lips.

“Rack, come on, lets go!”

Rack happily agrees and we plod on our way.

He’s learning.  While other dogs can be fun, the crazed leaping of a greeting is only to be reserved for friends.  He is also part Mountain Goat, especially where D. O. G. is involved.

D. O. G. is one of two Rottweilers in my area.  For a while, they were the dog-weapon of choice.  Now they moved onto Pit Bulls and have ruined that breed’s reputation.  D. O. G. is just a sweet pile of 165 pounds of love inside a big block of a head.

So much so that he will whine when he’s out front of his house so that I will come over to visit.  Now mind you, the entire time, I’m firing off my own Command Barrage.  Rack DOES listen, but when he’s excited there’s a limit to that.   D. O. G. is one of his favorite “people”.  He will actually whine at my front door when he spots him through the glass.  His owner makes Rack forget just about all training and become a stupid wiggly puppy goofball love sponge that doesn’t understand how to follow the rules until he blows off some energy.

I’ll hold him back to burn some of that off and let Kirby, D. O. G.’s Owner approach at his own speed.
Yes “Deeohgee”.  Or “Dio”.  Or giant love sponge.  You choose.

At this point the leaping goes nova and Rack is climbing higher to get closer to Kirby who he has been casting googoo eyes at through the glass all day.  Every time Kirby’s car or motorcycle starts, Rack does his ground hog impression and peeks at him through the window.

Yes. Rack has jumped on top of D. O. G.’s back.  And Dio is just too sweet to stop him.  Kirby pets Rack a bit, then helps him off or I help him off Dio’s back, I forget exactly which.

But yes, even well trained dogs have their stupid moments.  Luckily for me, my own Omega, Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) is  not snapping at others.

He just ends up being Collateral Damage from Shrapnel in a Command Barrage.

It even happens when watching TV.  He’s “Come Here” to the TV.  “Sit” to Cesar.  Even “Roll Over” to other shows.

I didn’t know he knew that and it didn’t happen often.

But what do you expect?  After all, he knows how to say “Yes” by nodding his head when you ask him if he wants to go out, or even in, or for a ride.

 

That’s a McNab.  They sometimes even train themselves.

On A Good Day, They’re Still A Dog. How Rack Is Afraid of Buddha

I used to take trips with my dog, Lettie.  She was what we call a “Mostly Mc Nab”.  Part McNab Dog, Part Border Collie.  She would curl up on the seat of the car and mind her own business until she thought there was something that needed attention.  Snap my fingers, there she was.

My own philosophy of training a dog is not to treat them like a human, but expect more of them than a dog.  In otherwords: complex behaviors yes, “Sit Up And Beg” no.

One trip from Philadelphia to Florida, Lettie was with me.  She was riding in the Jeep, sometimes top down, sometimes not.  We hit a shower with the roof down and she just looked up at me, judged me silently, and curled back into a DogBall with her tail over her face as if to say “Hey, stupid, pull over and put the roof up!”.

We pulled into the rest stop.  I got the roof up in the drizzle that was now ending, and she hopped out of the car.  I wasn’t too worried, she knew what she wanted.  The light pole at the end of the parking space was calling her.  I left the door open, she climbed up and went back to dog ball.

Next to me was a police cruiser.  I closed the door to the car, and the officer got out with his dog.  There was that same bond that I had with my Lettie.  You just seem to fit together, hand and glove.  We talked about that sort of training and he made his comment.  There are days when dogs don’t get it right because “On a good day, they’re still a dog”.

Just don’t expect too much.

On the beach we arrived.  I’d take her out for her march around town.  There was an apartment building there that was rather close to the walkway.  In front of the walkway was a concrete Lion.

Lettie got it wrong.  Fur went up.  Teeth bared.  She started barking at the ornament.  That thing didn’t belong.  I stopped her, got her calmed down, even showed her what she did.  The rest of the walk she acted much more toned down, even submissive, if an Alpha Dog could ever be submissive.

I was thinking about that the other night.  Rack has the same knife edged sharp intelligence as Lettie did.  He’s a pure-blooded McNab Dog.  At least we think he is because he looks like the textbook and acts like one.  We’ll never know because he’s a rescue.

He takes notice of things around town.  He knows where the restaurant is that they come out and fuss over him with cookies, and he knows where the ice cream shop is that he can go to socialize from time to time.  He’s learning which local dogs to avoid, and which businesses have an out of control yapper inside that will lunge at the door.

If your dog lunges out of control, you are not the boss, your dog is.  Train the dog.  You will both be happier.

It usually has those abstracts that all look roughly the same, smudges of color meant to look nice and inoffensive.  You might expect to see that sort of thing in a corridor somewhere.  I don’t really pay the gallery all that much attention.

All of the sudden Rack starts barking like crazy.  Something was out of place.  I looked at him and he was barking at the door.

There was someone looking back at him.  Buddha.

Sitting on a small table by the door was a concrete or resin statuary of Buddha.  About the size of a small child, it sat there serenely watching things go by.  The Thai art tradition, it had a head dress on it and a card next to it announcing the gallery’s services.

Rack did not like this at all.  It was out of place, and it threatened him by looking back at him.

“WOO WOO WOO WOO!”

Rack, stop.

“Grrr, WOO WOO Grrr”

He slowed down to a slow grumble.  His normal fearful self came out.  Leaning about 45 degrees to the ground on his purple leash, the fur on his back was standing as close to straight up as you could get.

It’s OK, boy, lets go.

He scrabbled an arc away from Buddha and we went on his way.

Yep.  On his best day, he’s still a dog.   We’ll have to work on that one.  I bet next time he will become one with the Buddha and approach enlightenment that the statue shall not harm him.

I hope he will.  Silly dog.

Learning Spanish From The Big Green Chair

When my nephew was a toddler, say about 2 years old, I had a surprise.  One weekend I came to visit and he sat down with a book and started reading.  I asked my sister and she told me that he memorized the book, and he still can’t read.

I’m rather a bit past that with Spanish now.

I don’t skip over the Spanish Stations on the radio when channel surfing.  I have noticed that “Love Songs” are becoming more clear to me and I can actually follow them along … somewhat.  I can watch kids TV and follow the discussion and actually get the jokes most of the times.

I mean, after all, we’re talking kid’s shows.  Plaza Sesamo and Franny and her demented feet.  At least in what I jokingly call “Native Spanish”.  Franny is a Canadian Production and the first time I heard it in English, they all had bad British accents.  It sounds better in Spanish to me.

I challenge myself with the animal documentaries because of the slower pace of the dialogue.  I have always enjoyed documentaries, even when I was a wee brat.  Watching a documentary on the forests of Madagascar in English is something I’d do normally, let alone En Espanol.

Sorry, I don’t have the “enya” key.  You know, English Speakers, the n with the funny squiggle over top.  Oh, and the accents En Espanol mean something.  I never figured them out in French, but in Spanish it is a “stress” mark.  You stress that syllable.  Very logical system of spelling, everything means something, and it has been rationalized and normalized to be predictable.  Unlike English where Ghoti could be pronounced as Fish.

I’ve heard people do this all the time.  When learning a language, they will seek out media of that language, and pay attention to it.  Many people have said that they watched Telenovelas to learn Spanish, Cartoons for English, and so on.  I’m doing nothing new here.  I am certainly not splitting the atom.

Although, when I’m sitting in bed listening to the shortwave radio at night, and I find myself listening to a broadcast, I’m not exactly expecting to be switching back and forth between Radio Marti and Radio Reloj.  That particular programming shift is about as broad a shift as you can get, other than perhaps switching back and forth between South Korean and North Korean broadcasting.

They are, however, very easy to find here in South Florida.

Specifically, Radio Marti is the US Government’s programming that is “designed” for Cuba.  I suspect it has an intended effect of being designed as a knock on effect for Venezuela.  Whether it is effective or not, I will let others decide.

Radio Reloj is literally “Clock Radio”.  It’s out of Havana, Cuba, and I can hear it here on the AM radio even if I don’t try too hard.  Being a Cuban National Broadcast, it’s probably as balanced as any Cuban broadcast, which is to say about as balanced as Fox News or Radio Marti.

I’m listening to things specifically to learn the language, not for “information”.  I will say both services are less “shouty” and “strident” than they had been in the Cold War.

For the most part, it’s better to stick to Plaza Sesamo, Franny and her weird feet, and the documentaries.  Political Intrigue and Propaganda are a bit much when your level of comprehension is about 1/2 the way there.

More importantly though, it does one interesting thing.  It opens up a whole new world. Actually a continent and about a half, but it does open it all up.

If my learning methods are up to the task, that is.  After all, if you can’t learn Spanish in South Florida, you can’t learn Spanish anywhere.

So turn on the TV, turn on the closed captioning, and put on some kid’s programming.  The Closed Captioning make it much easier to grasp since you are reading at the same time as hearing the words.  The simplified sentence structure and subject matter will help as well since there are fewer Big Words.

I’ll try to remember to leave the politics behind.  After all, I’m not quite ready for that, although a nice documentary about a lizard habitat would be rather enjoyable today.

But if you are considering learning another language, and are just starting out, try Duolingo.com and pick your language.  The simple lessons get gradually more complex, and you can set your goals as low or as complex as you like.