This Sounds Like It Bites…But Cesar Should Be Used To That

Steve sent me this article about Audible launching a service for dogs, and then sat back and waited for the response. It didn’t take long.

My first response was fascination. Could there actually be kinds of books a dog would like? We already had music, so could there be books? My hopes began to dwindle quickly when I realized a partnership with Cesar Millan was involved. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who aren’t Cesar Millan fans, and because of that, and watching his show, I don’t think too much of him.

Here’s another article on the same subject, which includes a description of what is going on in the video.

The dog in this video clip, named Holly, is a 2-year-old female Labrador Retriever. Holly appears to have moderate to severe food aggression or food resource guarding issues. This is a common behavioral problem with dogs (yes, even Labrador Retrievers) and there are standard behavioral training protocols used for treating it.
Please note, what you observe in this video are things that are not endorsed by dog behavior professionals (e.g., ACVB, IAABC, APDT and CCPDT). I do not recommend that you try the things that are found in this video as they are both dangerous and can exacerbate behavioral problems.
Let’s examine this video more critically.
The implied premise of most dog training television is that the dog’s issues will be remedied in one visit. Holly didn’t learn this behavior quickly nor is there a quick cure for most behavioral issues. Real and lasting animal behavior modification takes time and patience.
Note how Holly is eating her food with no issues at the beginning of the video. However, the cast and crew continue to move closer to her until she is forced to respond. It’s very important to note that this all occurs in a fairly small backyard with limited escape routes for the dog. Forcing oneself into a dog’s space like this is a recipe for aggression.
In my opinion, the dog appears to be deliberately taunted for the cameras. Continually confronting Holly, who is obviously stressed, is going to dramatically increase the probability of aggression. Shortly into the video we find that it’s no longer about food aggression any longer. Holly is obviously feeling threatened and is sending out multiple signals that she wants this to stop (e.g., she lies down). But they persist.
Remember that there are cameras and crew standing behind and to the side of Holly as this unfolds. This adds an additional level of stress to the dog.
I have no idea what Cesar Millan’s intentions are as he starts posturing as if he is going to attack Holly with Kung Fu. I sadly believe this is another attempt by the show to add some mystery and drama for the cameras.
I object to the silly pseudo-science used in this episode. What does “brain got stuck” mean?
And when Holly can’t deal with things any longer, she bites. It’s really hard to believe that anyone would put his or her hand on Holly’s muzzle after everything she has just been through. She is then kicked which may have actually extended the length of the bite (in the full length version of this episode you see the dog hit in the neck prior to the bite). After the bite, you hear Cesar Millan say, “I didn’t see that coming.” Would you have put your hand in Holly’s face? I wouldn’t have either.
Near the end of the video note how Holly’s jaw appears to chatter. This is an extreme indicator of anxiety for dogs – one that you rarely see. This dog is very afraid. I’m surprised she hasn’t aggressed more than what we see on the video considering all that she has just been through.
In the full episode, the off-camera commentary talks about Holly’s aggression getting worse after the episode was shot. I am not the least bit surprised by this information.

I am so glad he said the whole pseudoscience bit because whenever I watch the show, I can’t figure out what the hell he’s on about, but I always assumed I was missing some major visual piece of information. But what I can’t stand is the way the clients act as if he makes perfect sense and they worship him. This guy makes me squirm.

Anyway, back to Audible for Dogs because that’s what started this whole thing. There is nothing special about this service, which you would have to pay for.

Dog owners can play Cesar Millan’s new Guide to Audiobooks for Dogs—which is both written and narrated by Millan—for initiation purposes, along with a curated rotating selection of dog-focused audiobook titles including Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, performed by Trevor Noah; Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, performed by Rosamund Pike; and W. Bruce Cameron’s A Dog’s Purpose, performed by William Dufris. Each title features a special video introduction by Millan, in which he explains why the book is suited for doggy ears. (Pro tip: According to Audible’s research, dogs prefer narrators of the same gender as their primary owners, and books played at normal volume on an in-home listening device.)

So, there is nothing special about these books that is actually suited for dogs. They have stories about dogs in them, I read the Trevor Noah one and it only had one dog story I can think of, and if you’re smart, you’ll pick narrators that sound like you, and that’s about as far as it goes.

At that point, why not save yourself the money, record yourself reading a story, put it on a loop and be done with it?

People really are dumb.

I Hope You Drop Your Stupid Phone In Your Stupid Selfieccino

I should stop typing right now. I should pay this no mind. I should move on and let it die like I hope happens to anyone who legitimately thinks this is a good use of money and bandwidth. But sometimes my get off my lawn impulse shouts down my if you ignore them they’ll go away impulse and we all wind up with posts about some asshole paying eight dollars to print photographs into his goddamn cappuccino foam.

Hello magazine reports that the Tea Terrace cafe on the top floor of London’s House Of Fraser department store has a special printer that allows imprints of photos in cappuccino foam. Customers send a photo to the barista, who then prints out the image in foam using a fine art printer. Many people are going with the tried-and-true selfie, hence the name. But the machine can also upload pictures of a beloved pet, for example, which you may enjoy looking at right before you drink its foamy head off. The visual drink costs £5.75, or about $8. Tea Terrace owner Ehab Salem Shouly explains to Hello: “Due to social media the dining experience has completely changed. It’s not enough to just deliver great food and service anymore, it’s got to be Instagram worthy.”

To each his own and all that, but this sounds like a really good way to become my former friend. I still haven’t been able to accept people who would rather film their food than fucking eat it, and now we’ve managed to make it worse. Seriously, just go away.

Trumpy Bear?

The other night I fell asleep watching TV. There’s nothing really out of the ordinary about that, but what I awoke to was a commercial so strange that I was half convinced that I must have been dreaming it. I was pretty sure I was with it enough to tell the difference between dreamland and reality, but I shuffled off to bed not knowing for sure.

It was still bugging me the next day, so I asked Carin. She laughed, said she’d never seen it and thought that maybe it could have been one of my dreams. I don’t often remember my dreams, but the ones I do remember can be pretty weird so it’s not like she was being dismissive of my foolishness and trying to get me to leave her alone. Yeah, I’m shocked, too.

So with nowhere else to turn, it was time to hit the Google. And…well…how about that!

Seriously, what in the hell is this? A tribute? A parody? Both? Nobody really seems to know (although Ad Age gave figuring it out a decent try).

Whatever it is, it’s just a wee bit ingenious. It sure as hell grabs your attention, for a start. And if you’re the sort of person who is inclined to buy things from the television, you might just want this no matter which side of the aisle you’re on. There’s just as good a case for it being an epic troll job as there is for it being a real albeit ridiculous attempt at making a loving collectable, and it even comes with a certificate of authenticity. Who can resist that? I’m sure it’s worth slightly more than the paper that Fleshbag Trumpy’s speeches are written on, assuming he ever bothers jotting any of that shit down outside of Twitter.

I have no idea what it’s supposed to be, but at least I know it wasn’t a dream. Now on to sorting out whether that’s good or bad…

The Bank Just Figured Out How To Get You To Like It More. A Dancing Robot

Should you find yourself both in Calgary and in need of a bank, there’s a chance you could be greeted by…that thing.

ATB Financial has teamed up with SoftBank Robotics America to unleash Pepper, a friendly 3-wheeled robot designed to make the banking experience better or something. They say that she is capable of recognizing human emotions (that ought to be fun) and that her purpose is to “draw more people into the bank and provide them with a fun and engaging experience that keeps them coming back.”


Pepper’s interactions will be fairly basic at first.
The three-wheeled robot will be able to dance, recommend products and services, pose for selfies and interact with people via a mounted touch screen tablet, or verbally in several different languages.

I like how they just sorta slip recommend products and services in there between all the pictures and the dancing and the interactivity.

Why is this happening? Why is the bank becoming an arcade with ads? That’s because the company’s research (Research I say!) has shown that people think banks kinda suck.

ATB Financial says it partnered with SoftBank Robotics America after customer research found many people carry a lack of trust and high levels of discomfort in dealing with the banking industry.

“We found out that there’s some people who don’t really love banking, and don’t love coming into banks,” Boga said. “We want to bring happiness to people using banking.”

You know what would make people happy about the bank? Being honest and fair with them and not dinging the everloving bejeezling shit out of them on every transaction, you motherfuckers! Or you could let them take selfies with a commercial slinging robot that knows their names. Whatever works.

“Wait wait wait…what’d you just say, Steve?”

Well, I was about to say that option two sounds a lot like something somebody who just “found out” that a not insignificant number of folks believe that dealing with giant financial institutions traverses the universe in search of new dicks to suck would do, but I get the sense you’re wondering about something else.

“Yes, we are. What was that thing about our names?”

Oh that.

Yes, eventually the plan is that Pepper will know everything in order to shill more efficiently.

But ATB has hinted that Pepper’s functionality could eventually be expanded by connecting it to an artificially intelligent system. This would allow the robot to perform biometric authentication via the camera installed in its head, making it possible for Pepper to address customers by name and provide them with personalized banking recommendations based on their stored customer information.

You know, that personal, one-on-one service in every bank commercial you’ve ever seen.

The company insists that Pepper is not intended to replace human jobs, but rather to allow the human staff to engage on a more personal level with customers. As for what exactly that means, you’ve got me. A bit of small talk and some attempted upselling pretty well sums up every meeting with a bank human I’ve ever had, so I’m not sure what’s left. And now that I think about it, none of them have ever done a little dance and taken a picture with me at the end, so advantage robot.

If I were a banking human I just got a wee bit nervous, and I may have also signed up for some dance classes and photography lessons on my way home. You know, so I’ll at least have the smallest snowball’s chance of keeping that job I’m totally not being automated out of.

Stupid Smart Products Nobody Needs But Somebody Will Buy Anyway

Since this is a favourite infuriating topic of ours, some of you might enjoy this round-up of smart gadgets that really don’t need to be smart and probably have no legitimate reason for existing. Highlights (if you want to call them that) include a $209 frying pan that can keep track of what you’ve put in it, a $10 egg carton that can send you notifications if you’re running out of eggs or if the ones you still have are getting old and a bluetooth connected tampon and dongle that can let you know when you’re full and in need of a change.

Who Took The Cookies From The Cookie Jar? Why Not Ask the Built-in Camera

Normally when I hear about one of these internet connected household gadgets, my first thought is who the hell is this for? But that’s not the case with SKE Labs’ smart jar. Once I get my hands on one, it’s going to be easier than I ever imagined possible to tell something to kiss my ass while I stuff my face with Oreos, which is an awesome use of the future any way you look at it.

SKE (Smart Kitchen Ecosystem) Labs is on a mission to make your kitchen work for you rather than the other way around. Its first product is Neo, a sensor-equipped smart jar that keeps track of what’s inside it, which is communicated to a connected device via Bluetooth. This might sound trivial, but having a ‘conscious’ jar in the kitchen can go a long way to making your life easier — and healthier. As Neo can track the weight of its contents, measuring scoops of flour or sugar for a recipe, for example, is as easy as looking at the app. And Neo can tell you if you’ve eaten one too many cookies by showing you the nutritional contents of the food you’ve removed from the jar right down to the calories, carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
The smart jar can also assist in meal prep. When the food in the jar gets low, Neo will send an alert to add its contents to your grocery list. The app will suggest recipes based on what’s inside, and it will track ‘best before’ dates to avoid using spoiled food in a dish. On top of being smart, Neo also hits some necessities on the container side of things as well. The smart jar is dishwasher safe, has an airtight lid, and looks pretty good as jars go.

Alright, ya got me. Who the hell is this for?

  1. If you need a computer to tell you to take it easy on the Chips Ahoy, you’re either a child, an imbecile or were raised by wolves in a jungle somewhere far away from an education system. And what if I’m being nice and grabbing a couple cookies for myself and a couple for someone else? The stupid jar is going to be giving me the “Hey fatass!” warning unfairly and probably judging me from the cloud for the rest of time, the dick.
  2. Best before dates are garbage a lot more times than you’d think. There are plenty of things that, assuming they’re stored correctly, last weeks or months longer than the date on the packaging would have you believe. If you’re the type to blindly follow what a shiny display tells you without a smell, look, touch or heaven forbid a tiny taste test, you’re going to wind up throwing a lot of things away unnecessarily, costing yourself quite a bit of money in the process. Then again if you’re the sort of person who would intentionally purchase a jar with internet access, perhaps that’s not much of a concern for you.
  3. There’s a much cheaper way to figure out if something needs to be added to your grocery list. If you know what you’re making, make sure you have everything you need before you start. If you don’t, put it on the list and go get it.
  4. It runs on bluetooth and says it charges wirelessly, but it has to get its power from somewhere. Something still has to be plugged in. Who has enough outlets to plug in bases for all this crap? And I’m not sure if you’ve been paying attention, but hydro bills are already high enough without having to plug in all your fucking canisters.
  5. I know they claim it’s dishwasher safe, but a lot of things claim to be dishwasher safe, specifically things that warp and melt after repeated exposure to intense heat. Plus I’ve got this hang-up about putting anything with electronics in it near water because it’s just not a good idea.
  6. Maybe I heard this wrong, but I believe that video said that it knows about everything in your home. Do they seriously expect me to sit there and punch in every morsel of food I own? If yes, I expect them to go to hell and take their stupid jar with them.
  7. If your internet goes down, are you going to forget how to cook? Since you’ve paid good money for a jar that can tell you how to scoop and gives you recipes, signs point to yes. See you at your funeral once you starve to death, assuming there are enough family members left to get the GPS working.

There’s so much technical talent and brilliance in the world. It’s a shame to see so much of it wasted on shit like this. If these folks could channel all of that energy into solving problems that are actually problems instead of building toasters that can surf Pornhub, we’d have one amazing planet.

J…I Say J A…

So…this is a thing that happened. Yes, in Florida.

Police say James Dizney Fields, 58, of Port St. Lucie wore a mop on his head like a mask while banging on a neighbor’s door on Jan. 13, according to a report.
According to a police report, when the neighbor opened the door, he saw the mop-adorned Fields and couldn’t understand him, so he closed and locked the door. Fields continued his door-knocking antics and added in some doorbell ringing with the end of mop.
The neighbor identified Fields as the man who “terrified his entire family,” police said.

When asked just what in the king hell he thought he was doing, Fields told police that he was short on eggs, needed some to make a cake and was hoping somebody would hook a guy up, but stopped short of explaining how the mop fit into the equation.

Police were happy to hook him up…with a charge of disturbing the peace. At last report he was still in jail on $9,000 bail. if that seems a little excessive, don’t worry, it’s not all for that. It seems he still had some unresolved charges from an earlier incident unrelated to cleaning implements, chicken abortions or the culinary arts. Surprising, I know.

Gee Guys, What Do You Want To Do Tonight? The Same Thing We Do Every Night, Walk Naked In The Parking Lot

But for one detail, this would be little more than your standard ambling exhibitionist news item.

The strange call came in to police just before 10 p.m. last night. The caller reported seeing a naked man strolling in a parking lot near Milner Avenue and Morningside Avenue,  police say.

However, before police could arrive, the man got into a van with more naked men and left according to a Toronto Police Operations tweet.

Yes, there was a troop of them. What could they have been doing, I wonder. Were they just trying to get noticed? Were they playing truth or dare? Did one of them lose his wallet? It’s not as though he had anyplace to put it, so that’s as likely as anything else.

Unfortunately, we may never know. The person who called them in didn’t manage to get their license plate number and it seems police were unable to track them down.

Welcome to the newest great mystery of our time, ladies and gentleman…clothed or otherwise.

Please Leave A Message At The Tone, Unless You’re Caller Number Four

I have a question.

The other day, my dad called me. While we were talking, he said that he had been trying to call my sister but her voicemail was full and he couldn’t leave a message. I texted her to let her know, and when she wrote back, I was floored.

“I know it’s full,” she said. “It only holds three messages. I had something saved and then two people called me close together.”

Um…what? A voicemail box that only holds three messages including saves? Somebody managed to build that and sell it to companies while keeping a straight face? I’m sure the companies had to be in on the joke and bought in because they know they can get a segment of the customer base to pay for literally anything no matter how stupid and for all I know it was one of those very companies that commissioned the thing, but still, this is just…wow.

Bell’s call Answer could hold 25 messages in the 1990s. Those old digital answering machines could generally hold at least ten. Hell, the ancient cassette using ones could hold lord knows how many depending on the length of the tape you put in and how long you set the message length. But now, in 2016, when digital storage is so cheap that companies like Apple are giving it away for basically nothing, at least one of our country’s largest cell phone providers has deployed something with the ability to hold three whole messages? And worse yet, they’re making people pay for it?

I don’t know what sort of plan my sister is on, but if I ever found out I was being charged honest to god Canadian currency for the privilege of using a mailbox that small, I’d be on the phone demanding that *they* pay *me* monthly to keep using it. Seriously, why the hell even bother to have voicemail at that point?

It’s So Nice To Be Out, Just The Two Of Us. What’s That Honey? I Was Pretending I Was Somewhere Better

As I sit here, thinking yet again that maybe I’m just getting old, it strikes me that while I know many types of people from many different age groups, I have yet to meet a single one who either finds or would admit to finding that a nice dinner out with friends or a loved one isn’t fulfilling enough and would be greatly improved by everyone wearing virtual reality gear on their heads like a bunch of goddamned idiots. Seriously, if I ever meet a person who willingly pays to do something like this for any reason other than it’s his job to test this crap, it’s going to be very hard not to hit him until his stupid goggles fly off and take his head with them. Eat your food and talk to your friends like a properly adjusted human being, you fucking dick.

You dine on the first course of the meal in a garden in Tuscany, surrounded by flowers with a winery in the distance. You adjust your Samsung Gear VR glasses as a cool wind blows and you catch the rich fragrance of the gardens. But when your main course arrives, you now find yourself underwater with dolphins playing and fish swimming. Your Italian table setting has been transformed into an underwater experience and the light in the room has changed to reflect the underwater scene. You can even see bubbles arising from your drinks and water splashes on the table in 3D.
Now imagine that all of this occurred without leaving the Ibiza hotel, or the seat you were in. The magic you see, hear, taste, smell and feel comes from virtual reality technology. By using Samsung Gear VR, restaurants can take the already sensory experience of dining to a new level. While there is a wow factor to using this cutting-edge technology, the impact of virtual reality is a natural fit for restaurants that want to create a complete experience around a meal, not just serve a plate of food.

At best this is a gimmicky way for bad restaurants to cover up worse food, but let’s call it what it is. It’s a terrible idea. One we should, now that we’ve had our moment with it, kill with indifference. And fire. Yes, kill it with fire.