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Adding Insult
Lucki Melander Wilder

Lucki, I think we're kindred spirits on the advertising thing.  I notice many of the same little nuances,
and have often thought I should keep a notebook handy to write them down.  -- Tom Ligon, SF author

It's surprising (or perhaps not) how many times I "Say what?!" to TV advertising, and want to share the fun with someone (everyone?) else.

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Opposite Poles

Look, I think the statuesque insurance company's avian ads are sometimes pretty funny. I don't get all bent out of shape about treatment of animals 'cuz, while they do film live animals as templates, they use CGI to get their lead and supporting avians to look like and do what they do.

But their latest spate of ads, though they are individually humourous, are confusing and contradictory when taken in tandem. One is, like, 15 seconds long, the other 30. And while they were apparently shot at the same time in the same place, and use some of the same footage, they conflict with each other in punchline.

Both versions feature our intrepid lead-billing avian, his usual second-billing non-avian sidekick, an alarm, the lead's verbal warning ("Squawk."), and the camera following the sidekick as he slides down a firepole to the bottom and then stands there. But things do diverge.

In the short version, the sidekick slides briskly (and swooshily) down one apparent level from his office to the parking floor, sees the lead avian, and expresses surprise.

In the long version, the sidekick slides slo-o-o-o-owly (and squeakily) down a double-length pole, greets and is acknowledged by his chief on the floor between his office floor and the parking floor, finally reaches the bottom, stands there reacting to how the friction made his upper limbs feel, sees the avian, and expresses surprise.

Restrictions: First of all, you:

= do NOT ever never go down a firepole more than one story tall;
       (This is imperative. See here how one 3-story firehouse solved this.
       If your screen resolution matches mine, the story should start with
       the last paragraph you can see onscreen: The other kind of "house"....
       Also, scroll below there to the picture of the solution if you want to. )

= do not go down with the skin of your arms or legs unprotected; and
= do not use your hands to control your slide; or you
= will get badly friction-burned
= and fall before you're halfway down.

Instructions: This is how you go down a firepole (if you have the sense God gave an amoeba, never mind an avian):

= Put your hands tightly on the poll at chest height.
= Pull your torso to the pole while wrapping your legs tightly around it to control your slide.
= Once held in place, loosen but do not release the grip of your hands.
= Wrap your stronger arm around the pole so as to hold it in the crook of your elbow.
= Position that hand on the pole at about neck height
= Position your other hand on the pole above your head.
= Place that other arm over the stronger arm at an angle that holds it steady.
= Gently release some of your leg-hold to start your careful slide.
= Steady your descent with your upper body (your hands should not have this job).
= When your feet are on the surface at the bottom of the pole, release your grip.
= Move quickly away to make room so anyone coming down behind you can also land safely.

Pretty much none of which the sidekick does.

[ASIDE] Naturally, I shared this entry up to this point with Number One Son, Rey the Chicago Firefighter. Real one, not on TV. Though he did work on that show for a bit as a BG actor in Season 1, but got bored. (Where did I go wrong?) And he chuckled and said that I forgot the very first restriction, wihch is "DO NOT NEVER EVER go down a firepole head first."  Ohh-kaay, I stand corrected. [/ASIDE]

But what's most confusing is the very ends of the two versions. 'Cuz they contradict each other.

"Spider Dan" Goodwin climging the Sears Tower facade in his Spiderman suitIn the short version, when the sidekick reaches bottom, he sees the lead exit an elevator. And said sidekick expresses surprise that there IS an elevator. Gotta wonder how he missed that on the way in. Climbed up the facade of the building, maybe?

In the long version, he sees the lead exit the elevator. Looks up at the empty pole. And expresses surprise that the avian wasn't right behind him coming down the pole.

Look at the chronology. Say there reallywere two different alarms that the pair responded to.

If the 30-second version happened earlier, then the sidekick wouldn't be surprised that there was an elevator in the 15-second version 'cuz he'd already have seen the lead using it.

OTOH, if the 15-second version happened earlier, then the sidekick would never again be surprised that there was an elevator. So by time the 30-second version came around later, he'd know the lead was going to use the elevator rather than follow him down the pole. Especially with the lead knowing its sidekick is dumb enough to stand around at the bottom of the pole instead of getting the peck outa the way.

Sorry, you can have one, or you can have the other, but you can't have both.   Just sayin'.

P.S. In my mind, I had the PERFECT picture to put up there, But I couldn't find a copy, despite at least two hours' research (including email dialog with an expert on Chicago history) spread out over several days. Dear reader, have you or anyone you know taken or found a pic of the "Going Up or Going Nowhere?" building-facade (646 N Franklin, I think) sculpture just west and a bit above eye level of Chicago's from-north-to-Loop L tracks? Please email me a copy. I'll credit you...
       ...and move (not delete) the pic I have above of activist  "Spider Dan" Goodwin in his Spidey suit climbing the 1,454-foot (then tallest building in the world) Sears Tower in Chicago with suction cups attached to his hands and feet. (I think he also carried cams and sky hooks, but I don't know if he used them much - or at all - during the 7-hour climb.) All this despite efforts by firefighters, the first responders he was demonstrating for, to interrupt his climb. (On his second Chicago climb, the Hancock, the then mayor told the firefighters and police not to try to stop him midclimb, just to wait for him at the top.) And yes, you read all of that right. No one had ever climbed a building that tall, and he did it with no parachute, no safety lines, no net. Heavens!!!

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Entries During

2024-07-08 Opposite Poles

2024-06-07 And A Miss

2024-05-16 Birdbrains & Brawn

2024-04-01 Coulda Fooled Me

2024-03-01 Classless Act

2024-02-01 Eww de Toilette

2024-01-03 Doggies Do

2023-01-02 Heads Up


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And A Miss

Two months ago, I registered a rant here about an ad for the conspicuous cellphone company that had a conspicuous lack of black representation. And I've gotta assume I wasn't the only person to protest. There must've been a reasonable amount of blowback. 'Cuz the company's newest ad featuring the spokesman in the (think DoC-jumpsuit) orange sweater apparently took a swing at remedying the innate racism. And it coulda been a hit. I was even rooting for the company and ad agency to get a solid hit. Maybe not a homer, but at least a two-bagger. But....

Let's leave aside the fact that they're pushing their corporate stores, of which there are to-date fewer than thirty, in fewer than ten states, so not real convenient for most folks.  (I leave it to you, dear, reader, to research how many of those stores serve diverse communities. I think I know, but let me know if you discover I'm wrong.) ) Let's give 'em the benefit of the doubt that they're still in the capacity-building stage.

And let's leave aside the negative optic that there's only one customer, (Or maybe two, 'cuz the one we see enter the store while the spokesdude is outside is not wearing the same outfit as the one we see once we're inside. Maybe that second person is being served by the other employee we only see an orange sleeve of.) Maybe they couldn't afford a bunch of background actors, but we're supposed to assume there's lots of customers in the part of the store we don't see...but which I didn't.

Anyway, as far as I can tell:

= There's no black customers in the store.
= There is an orange-overshirted black employee passiovely standing around, hands demurely folded.
= Unlike the spokesperson, she must show the company logo and name tag so foks'll know she belongs there.
= And all she gets to do for the first third of the 2-minute commercial is stand around silently.
= She doesn't get to reach out to or even acknowledge the existence of her customer(s)
= Even when the guy gestures as if introducing her, turns out he's just gesturing at the phones near her.
Big white male figure / small black female figure -- red NO symbol with a question mark embedded on the diagonal= 40 seconds in, she finally gets 6 lines amounting to a whole 15 words (not counting a throat-clearing).
= And I swear they tried for the most inconspicuous, innocuous, diminished character they could cast.
= For over 25 seconds from when she comes into frame till her first line, she just looks up at the guy. Or just at the cellphone in his hand.
= A trend that continues except for the few seconds whenever she has a line.
In fact, she always looks to him when he's speaking, while he reciprocates maybe half the time.
= And I do mean she looks up, 'cuz she barely reaches his shoulder joint, while her shoulder is near his elbow.
= Talk about being made to look less than...especially when they're shooting from his waist up.
= And as he blathers on, her only "acting action" is to hand him 5 phones in succession.
= But when they finally let her go off on her own to do her thing, he manages to lose track of her completely.
= That's right, he assumes she's locked in place and doesn't even look to check if he's right. Not funny.
= Did I mention she doesn't even get to deliver all the female-voice lines?
= Nope, by far, most of the female-voice lines are delivered as voiceovers by another female.
= One we only see - headphones, mic, screen, et al - in the last 5 seconds...and yeah, she's white.

Okay, maybe just for trying, they should get credit for first base. Personally, though, I think the sister in the magnificent micro-braids is being mostly macro-trivialized. But maybe that's just me.

Sun, Jun 16, 2024 at 11:02 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I don't think I've seen this one, but I'll know it when I do. It sounds like they had the black lady standing around or doing repetitive things like a robot, just something you use when you need it and then forget about it. Yes, a miss.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Tell me about it. I didn't think about that "robot" optic. A sort of non-person. Thanks for the extra insight..
Mon Jul 1, 2024 at 6:30 PM, Kim B wrote:
  Sad about that commercial.  People don't see it.
  Do you ever give kudos to GOOD ones?  I'd like to see a commercial you think works.
  Lucki responds to Kim B:
  Ain't that the truth. People are paid beaucoup bucks to ensure that commercials go right past our logic centers and straight into our subconscious, so we buy stuff we never thought we needed until then. And in the process, they load us with all these spurious negative cultural memes. And half of them don't even realize it. (Though I'm pretty sure half DO.)
  Well, of course, the title of this blog is Adding Insult, so I don't usually talk about ads that don't so blatantly and gratuitously insult my - and, of course, your - intelligence. But there has to have been an exception or two. Lemme see can I find one,
  ... ... ... Ooo, here's What A Crocket! where I said the commersh itself was effective but I poked fun at myself. ... ... ... And I really did give kudos to Spin Dizzy. ... ... ... And look at just the top (car) half of Good, Bad, Ugly. ... ... ... Also, the bottom (bear) half of Autos on Parade. ... ... ... And, of course, the "something completely different" in High Dudgeon.

  So, okay, a handful (well, three and two halfs) in thirteen-plus years. Oh, and Abiding Blog also got into the act once, sort of, this year. Good enough?

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Birdbrains & Brawn

So this pair of spokesbirds.... No, that's not right.

Umm, so this pair of spokespigeons are.... Nope, that's not quite it either.

Okay, so this pair of ANTIspokespigeons for this provider of linear TV service are discussing a recent innovation. One whereby the TV service can be provided on the stream. While admitting that the service provides a really great picture and lots of channels, they're complaining that the new technology deprives them of the great resting places they're accustomed to.

And like the whole series of these ads, this one is kinda fun. Steve Buscemi is super as bitter Bobby and Henry Winkler is hilarious as fumbling Frank. As they check out the menu of major-league ballgames on the screen, Bobby gets sidetracked by another pet peeve. And boy-oh-boy, is he piqued (in both senses of hte word) as well as beaked.

Standard city piegeon (rock dove) sporting an insulted stare"Think about this," he demands in high dudgeon, "blue jays, cardinals, orioles. What's missing?"

Frank the optimist thinks BIG; so what's the biggest bird in the world? (The biggest flying bird. He obviously doesn't consider the truly biggest bird to be of any import, 'cuz he can fly and ostriches can't. 'Nuff said.)

"Andean condor?" he wonders. Correctly. Except I guess he doesn't watch ice hockey.

"No, walnut-brain," Bobby retorts. "Pigeons! They'd rather name a team after SOCKS."*

"To be fair," Frank admits, "we're not very athletic."

Really? What a stupid line for a writer to give a city pigeon, aka rock dove (the original species from which all the fancy breeds also came). I'm surprised Frank AND Bobby didn't irately object to the director re having to deliver that line. Self-deprecating is one thing, and there's some of that in Frank. But disparaging your whole species? The writers thought that was nice? Or even true?

Excuse me, but how athletic are the writers? Especially in comparison:

= Can they pull their whole body up into the air at will? Without a bar to pull up on?

= Can they flap their arms hard and fast enough to fly? At more than 50 to 90 miles in an hour? 500 to 800 miles in a day?

= Can they, while standing, lift twice their body weight?  Carry some 20% of their weight while in flight?

= Can they do synchronized close-order aerobatics, never falling behind and never crashing into another flyer? Even in very windy weather?

= Can they not only walk a current-carrying tightrope but even go to sleep on it? Ditto a string course?

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson with feathery wings= Can they, after being dropped in a distant location they've never been in or even seen before, navigate their way home - as much as 1,300 miles - without GPS or even a compass? (OK, they actually do have GPS and a compass. They're born with it.) And sometimes get back home even before the person who transported them to the release point does.

= Can they build a home? With their hands "tied" behind their back, relying on feet and mouth alone to handle their tools?

= Can they show us the military medals they won for saving lives and winning battles in two world wars?

= Can they - if males - dance and soar long and energetically enough, with precise enough choreography, to attract the finest life-long mate? And help nurse the babies? (Yes, female and male pigeons exude a form of milk to feed their young. And it's richer in protein and fat than human or even cow's milk.)

Not very athletic? Show me some writer (or, for that matter, some action-hero actor) who can do all that and I'll agree s/he deserves the appellation "The Rock Dove".

*Should we tell Bobby about the New York Pigeons? Maybe even show him a pic and the team logo? (Yep, pigeons can recognize all the alphabet's letters, photos and even diffferent people in the same photo, and themselves in a mirror.) Would he be partly mollified or even more petulant?

And sorry, city pidges, but if you're living in Chicago, ya gotta be down with the White Sox (even if your heart belongs to the Cubs). Or if in Boston, ya gotta look to the Red Sox, 'cuz the Boston Doves flew the coop over a century ago (and eventually landed as the Braves in Atlanta).

Fri, May 17, 2024 at 12:10 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  This was very interesting. I learned a lot I didn't know about pigeons. I didn't know they had milk. Wasn't there an actor named Pigeon? And I liked that picture of The Rock looking like Lucifer.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Glad you liked it. Crop milk (aka pigeon milk) is a secretion from its crop lining that the parent bird regurgitates for its young. It's richer in fat and protein because, unlike mammal milk, it has no carbohydrates. Like pigeons, female and male flamingos also produce it; while in emperor penguins, only the males do.
  You have a good memory, and you're close. The Canadian-American actor was Walter Pidgeon, who died in 1984 (two days after his 87th birthday). The New York Times said he was known for his "portrayals of men who prove both sturdy and wise". Another feather in the avians' cap, yeah?

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Coulda Fooled Me

Cell tower with red "NO" signThe conspicuous cellphone company brags about not owning any towers. It's true; instead, they have handshakes with the alpha copany and, for future use, the high-tea company. So they wax very expressive about all the products and services you can get at lower costs. Well, maybe.

At least their spokesguy does take you on an interesting (for such a mundane company) tour of HQ. (Assuming you ain't acrophobic. And can duck walk.) And since they target the 55+ market, you'd think I might be interested. Only I'm pretty unimpressed by the end of the ad. Actually, almost from the start, but I'll get to that as I end this article.

See, they've been located - intentionally, I'd assume - for almost 30 years in a small suburban town of about 55,000 people. And that choice of  location certainly shows up in their commersh. Wherein they show at least 40 staff members, at their jobs and in a staff group photo. (Wow, when did they do it, that they could afford to have that many staff NOT on the job?)

And boy howdy, is one fact blatantly obvious through the commercial. 'Cuz, unless I'm totally missing something, they have only a meager handful of black staff members. Not one of whom got even one non-chorus (yeah, everyone got to holler a group "hi" at you one time) line, which might've meant additional money, folks. And only one of whom got to sit in the bottom (front) half of the photo "bleachers" where he could be clearly seen even by people like me with age-related loss of visual acuity. Naturally, being in a suburb with only 1.3% black population could account for that. But again, they chose to HQ there. Plus which, they're only about 15 minutes away from the state's megacity that's 5.9% black in a population of at least 645,000 (bigger than the next four or five large cities combined), so definitely a bigger labor pool to draw from if you actually want to.

Blue clock showing 4 seconds past the minuteBut even that employment inequity didn't seem quite as blatant compared to, for example, the ads by the guy I definitely do not get my pillows from.

No, the script (which coulda worked with minor mods) already had me disinclined. From about 10 seconds into the 2-minute advert. When the spokesguy first insults me as possibly being too stupid to know a good deal when I see one; then offers to give me, and I quote, "a minute" to smarten up. And then only gives me 4 lousy seconds! If I can't even trust the dude to be honest about how much time he's gonna give me, why should I trust his company to be honest about anything it says it's gonna give me?

Just askin'.

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Mon, Apr 1, 2024 at 7:36 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I recognize the company. It's stupid when they treat you like YOU'RE stupid.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  I hear you. It's irritating when, instead of inviting you to join them in laughing at themselves, they make you the butt of their ( we can't see it?) ridicule.


Classless Act

Alan's obsessed with his new bike. I mean REALLY obsessed. Seems to bring it into every conversation. Such as when he gently brags about his new acquisition to his three workmates sitting around the table at the sidewalk cafe he rode up to. And yeah, that could get old.
Happy young black male on motorcycle
Still, they make sure to remind him that his workplace is the nation's #1 motorcycle insurer. [ASIDE] Note that they don't ID by what criterion it's considered #1. So let's guess: Number of policies sold? Dollar amount of policies sold? Size of sales force? Highest profit margin? Number of claims paid? Number of claims denied? Most customer kudos? Most customer complaints? Highest ROI for investors? Etc. Who knows? How slippery. Like an Orient* on an oil slick. [/ASIDE] After which, his most curmudgeonly colleague gets on his case about wedging his new ride into everything. By which we assume she means verbally, not physically (though some doubt is raised later on.) Which he, of course, doesn't think he does.

Cut to an art gallery. (Or whatever it is. And why would he be there now with his team leader? Both of them still in their company togs?) Where he and she are gazing at an abstract painting consisting of a mottled tan rectangle covering the top half of the canvas and a mottled gray rectangle covering the bottom half. Which, he tells her, reminds him of his bike. She doesn't say anything, but she certainly gives him one of those looks.

Cut to a man-on-the-street interview, him with an out-of-frame reporter's mike in his face, talking about the wolf he spotted in the neighborhood. OK, I can dig that. We have such wildlife in Chicago. Coyotes, coywolves, and wolves. Mostly in the forest preserves. But caught on camera, during the pandemic lockdown, even loping through the Loop without a care in the world. But unlike our obsessor, I don't think anyone ever compared one to their new motorcycle...which "Have you seen it, by the way?"

Cut to grandma's birthday party. Where he presents her with a cake decorated, you guessed it, with a motorcycle. To which his wife(?), sister(?), hired caregiver(?) responds "Really?" (And why is the curmudgeonly colleague there with him? Both of them still in their company togs?)

Oh look, back to the art gallery (Has a TARDIS, too, does he?), where he starts explaining in depth why the painting reminds him of his bike. Oh, poor put-upon Flo. Or so her expression tells us.

One more cut, to him showing up at the very posh party his third colleague is throwing in his very fancy digs with his very beautiful wife. The naive colleague who's repeatedly, mercilessly ridiculed by almost everyone he works with. (Except the first time they all visited his home and were flabbergasted at its size, how gorgeous and loving his wife was, and all the celebs he had there.)

Said young man welcomes Alan with a huge smile and wide-open door. Until Alan introduces his plus-one. And yeah, you guessed it, it's the motorcycle. At which point, his host slams the door in his face.

It was actually halfway humorous up to that point. But then it ticked me off. After all, if anyone should've had some semblance of sympathy for Alan's naive plight - which isn't gonna last forever, after all, 'cuz the "new" is gonna wear off sometime - shouldn't it be the guy who has to put up with that kind of sarcastic abuse every day himself?

Just sayin'.

Oh, and for the second time in three months, there's another commersh kudo with a relationship to this month's ad takedown here. But once again, you'll have to go to this month's Abiding Blog to read about it. In an opposite take from this article, it's about a real class act.

*First ever USA production motorcycle.

Thu, Mar 7 , 2024 at 12:02 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  Yes, I saw this one a few days ago. It seemed to go like a dream, where you just initially go and run from one place to another with no connection, but some of the same people are still there. Strange.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  I didn't even make that dream-chronology connection. Thanx for the new insight. Who knows, maybe Alan is just dreaming, and at the end it turns into a mini-nightmare of slammed-in-the-face exclusion. Sorta like those thrillers where the hero's innocuous sidekick turns out to be the serial killer, yeah?

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Eww de Toilette

Hey, she's a pretty handy gal. Uses an app to determine what's wrong with her toilet and how to fix it. Has the tank uncovered and everything. And is told it's a minor issue and she can fix it now and be done with it.

By gum, she's "Done!" that fast. In one fell swoop. Well, not quite yet. But even before she actually fixes the chain, she starts singing "We fixed this toilet on video!" And for all I know, she got transported to an alien starship or something. 'Cuz she's suddenly surrounded by eighteen spinning dancers in floofy white skirts. And - we see from above - the toilet is sitting off-center in a mandala of some sort.

Simba exclaiming "Eww gross!"After which she actually fixes the chain. And then, and I kid you not, she opens the bowl's seat cover. And flushes the toilet (begging the question: where's all the water going?). And stands right next to it the whole time.

At which point, I have to question not only her smarts but whether the guy on the phone has any, either? 'Cuz he doesn't bat an eye as she stands there. Doesn't advise her to close the seat cover, turn her back, or at least close her mouth.

Come on, expert, the toilet seat is covered with a lid for more  reasons than just to sit on. The rush of flush actually aerosolizes some of the tainted water and spews it up and out about six feet. There was no reason to lift the cover in the first place. Get it together. Put the seat cover down. (OR if there is no cover: Quickly step away. Turn your back. At least cover your face. 'Cuz you can wash off your hands easier and better than you can wash out your eyes, mouth, nose, throat, and lungs).

So, no way! Shut the front door. EWW!

P.S. General quibble: The "experts" in this cluster of fix-it adverts - the three I've seen so far, anyway - are all dudes. Why couldn't they have shown at least one being female?

Thu, Feb 1, 2024 at 8:14 PM, Kim B wrote:
  Condolences on the passing of your dear friend.
  And thanks for the laugh.
  Lucki responds to Kim B:
  Thank you.
  And you're welcome.
Thu, Feb 1, 2024 at 11:58 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I haven't seen this one, but I can just imagine. That's awful. I always put the cover down before I flush. I open it again when it's almost finished, to check that it worked. But to just stand there. Yes, EEWWW!!.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Yeah, gives me the willies. Ick. Yuck. Bletch. Etc.
  I'm with you on waiting until it's almost finished. By then the initial aerosolizing splash has passed.
Mon, Feb 5, 2024 at 9:36 AM, Bri L wrote:
  I didn't know the water could splash out and you don't even know it. How come nobody ever warns you about it? I'll never leave it up again!!!
  Lucki responds to Bri L:
  I don't know why. :-{  Maybe back when our parents were teaching us, nobody really knew about it. Or sellers didn't want to gross people out and maybe not sell their products. Or were afraid of getting sued if someone got sick. I'm just glad I found out somewhere along the way.

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Doggies Do

Nice to be back again, so let's just jump right into it.

She saved so much money on her car insurance - with the statuesque insurance company, of course, 'cuz there's the mascot back there over her right shoulder - that she started a small business. Dog walking. Easy. Nothing to be nervous about. After all, it's just walking, right?

Yeah. So she's on the waterside boardwalk with five varied sitting dogs in leashed harnesses. And one little tyke held in her left arm. Well behaved, they seem. As well they should be.

Urban hare/rabbitUrban squirrelAfter all, most dog-walking services regularly require by contract that the dog being walked - more than just not being all aggressive - is responsive to (a) a call to return and (b) a calming technique. Always.

Especially when encountering not only other humans and canines but also felines, <--- Leporidae, and rodents. Especially -- oh, my! -- the dreaded, demoniacally addictive, must-chase Sciurus --->.

So, what are the warning flags? Well, let's see: The leashes are attached to the harnesses on the spine side. Not the best connection, as distractive control is much easier with leashes attached on the chest side. Then there's the number of dogs, especially for an inexperienced dog walker. To say nothing of the disparate sizes. Along with which, how does carrying a dog constitute "walking" it

All of these idiocies can probably be chalked up to the fact that - with a mere $700 to invest in her business start-up - she obviously didn't have anything to invest in expert training, an internship, or even consultative advice. I'm surprised if it even paid for registering and licensing her business, getting bonded and liability insurance, and developing a website, business cards, and contracts. But what do I know?

Oh, wait, I DO know. During my decade in a minority small business development corporation (which she could've obviously used), rising to Director of Education & Training, I even wrote three books on starting your own small business: on business planning, management, and financials. When Reaganomics dictated that minority small businesses were no longer of any importance (talk about defunding civic agencies!), at least one of the Small Business Administration programs picked up the three books and used them until changes in technology and business models made them obsolete. Oh, well.

Anyway, back at the commersh, you can guess things were about to come apart. And sure enough, a bunny* comes slowly hopping along the boardwalk. Which is ridiculous in and of itself; 'cuz I don't care how urbanized a wild bunny is, it ain't gonna willingly approach a pack of dogs, with or without human in tow. Especially not on a large flat surface with neither hiding places from nor obstacles to any predators apt to give chase. Even more so, it wouldn't go back and forth at a ridiculously unconcerned pace.

Naturally, it's the little dog that's the most feisty. And the most unrestrained by the dog walker. Not wearing a harness at all, just a collar. Oh, and a colorful little coat.

Bunny hops up. Which, if its wrangler wasn't too hare-brained, surely shoulda had in its contract actually being shot on its own separate film layer.

Littlest doggie jumps down. Well, of course it does. Spokeslady didn't even get the hint and tighten her grip on the little rascal when it uttered its first growly bark - which focused the attention of all the dogs on the bunny - before launching itself free of her hold. And as far as I could tell, she never had a leash in hand for it, either.)

And the chase is on. All except the biggest dog, who elects to play the role of slightly curious, slightly bored observer.

"No!" our entrepreneur hollers at the five dogs giving chase, "It's just a bunny!" As if they didn't already know. And as if knowing should give them pause to reconsider. "Calm down," she continues, as everyone reverses direction. Including where the biggest dog's attention is. She continues to harangue them through another direction change. But none respond even when she addresses them by name. (So they're not call responsive. And she doesn't know any calming techniques for them to possibly, or not, be responsive to.)

In a final act of idiocy, as only some of the dogs respond to the bunny's final change of direction, she gets tangled in the leashes, twists herself and them into a pretzel, and loses her balance. Her being flat on the boardwalk finally catches the dogs' attention away from the bunny - who I'm sure is glad to be forgotten as it heads back the way it originally came - and onto herself. Even though at this point she's not holding anyone's leash.

And wouldn't you know it, the littlest rascal comes back and "helps" her in doggy fashion by climbing up on her chest to sympathetically lick her face.

"Uhh," she says, "you're lucky you're so cute." Really? Having that incompetent a dog walker doesn't seem very lucky to me. Not lucky for the dogs and not lucky for their owners. But what do I know?

Oh wait, I DO know. Yeah, I'm definitely a cat person. But I have had three happy, well trained dogs in my life (one, Rex, a rescued singleton; the other two, Kint and Taff, littermates) and gotten along with many others (like, check out the three ""Dog Power" artiicles in the '19-'20 Abiding Blog archive page). And I've known dog walkers who know what they're doing. So I know she wasn't one of them.

On the other hand, just to give credit where credit is due, the dog actors were, in fact, well trained. Early on, the large dogs seem focused on the trainer stage right, and the smaller ones on the trainer stage left. And the littlest is mostly looking down, probably a combination of (a) not being comfortable in the arm hold and (b) watching for the "wild" critter it knows will soon be let loose (if some well-trained bunny isn't on a separate layer). Then, for safety's sake, the little dog doesn't actually participate in much of the melee. And the biggest dog is obviously trained to a different command protocol than the rest, as it spends the chase simply sitting and looking at the others go back and forth (actually looking at one trainer on command, then at the other when called to).

Oh, and one other commersh kudo. But you're going to have to go to this month's Abiding Blog to read about it. Trust me, it'll make sense when you get there.

*Actually, "bunny" - of which our chasee was an extremely well trained example - really means a baby rabbit. But most people use the word indiscriminately, not bothering to differentiate between juveniles and adults or even between rabbits and hares. In fact, of all things, Bugs Bunny - with his long ears, long hind legs, and gray coloring - is actually a hare.

1.  Keeping my promise to Rezvanieh to complete Anasazi Anthem.
     Progress has definitely not been as fast as I hoped, but it's been more or less steady. The draft manuscript is now one-third completed and online, and the eighth chapter is also about to be posted.
2.  Making several of my books available as e-books.
     My grandShoghi, the techie wizard in the family, is willing to help me accomplish this during his gap year between high school and college. I'll keep you updated.
3.  Working with Tom Ligon on the fourth novel in his new series.
     Tom's progress on the first of the novels has been adversely impacted by a major obstacle over which he has no control. We talked about a way I can help him get past that this year, and I'm all in on the support side.

Sun, Jan 7, 2024 at 11:13 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  Yes, that story has so many things that's wrong. For one thing, why would ALL the dogs even stay with the rabbit? All one way, then all the other. Weird. They're free; they could go anywhere in all directions.
  Yes, the biggest one is very well trained to not join in. But you know, maybe the littlest one was her own dog, so she thought she didn't need a leash. But how did she expect to control all those other dogs while carrying hers?
  And the rabbit would be GONE! It wouldn't be on the pier anyway even with no dogs; it would want to stay on grass. And really why would it go back and forth like that instead of just running away?
  All that together is just ridiculous. And getting $700 back on her insurance isn't very reasonable.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Yeah, tell me about it. Oh, wait, I already told me about it. Yeah, if she saved $700 on her new insurance, ya gotta wonder how crappy it is compared to the insurance she had before.
   And while I definitely agree that a bunny would've preferred to not go on the boardwalk, I don't take exception with its going back and forth. I just take exception with its going back and forth so calmly. Coursing in a zigzag at top speed, with split-second direction changes, especially around obstacles, is a big bunny defense mechanism. Sure, most chasing predators can turn on a dime; but a bunny (especially an adult hare) - with its short forelimbs and long hindlimbs giving it speed, agility, and energy efficiency - can turn on a trime. (That's the silver three-cent piece that's the smallest coin the US Mint ever made, about 3/4 the size of a dime.) Every time a larger predator has to change direction, it loses ground in a weight-driven skid. That gives the running bunny one heck of a fighting - or rather, flighting - chance.

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Heads Up

It's time for me to take a big fork in the road. Turn my efforts to two, or possibly three, major writing projects:

= The first is keeping my promise to my spiritual mother, Rezvanieh, when she insisted that I must complete Anasazi Anthem. As you probably already know, I've published the prolog and four chapters. That leaves eighteen chapters and the epilog to go. I have the complete outline and tons of story notes, along with various supporting material. But all that does not a finished novel make. So I need to binge watch the show again, and then get on the ball with the real writing. I'll let you know as things progress.

A silver fork stuck tines-down in the yellow stripe in the middle of a tree-shaded road= The second major task is responding to people who have asked me about making several of my books - most notably but not limited to Twigs of a Family Tree and (ah yes, another Andromeda-inspired tome) 2*4*7 - available as e-books. That's not as easy as it sounds. It also has to start with research into, for example, how best to Kindle-ize highly formatted material like poetry. I'll also keep you abreast of that progress.

= The third task is more iffy. I don't know whether it will fall (if it falls at all) after the first two tasks or between them. But it's an intriguing project. Tom Ligon has pretty much completed the first in a new series of (he hopes) four novels set in the universe of his two Analog novelettes: "El Dorado" (Nov 2007) and "Payback" (Jul/Aug 2009). As a result of an in-person brainstorming session last year, Tom has invited me to collaborate on the fourth novel if the series sells. That's obviously an offer I can't refuse. Needless to say, I'll brag about progress on that front, too.

All of that means, though, that much as I enjoy writing Adding Insult (and Abiding Blog), it now hasta take a back seat to these projects. So as of tomorrow, it's going on hiatus for part or all of 2023. Aphorisms & Memes, though, will continue to add weekly posters, since all 66 for 2023 were created in 2022 anyway. And I may send you the usual announcements, but quarterly instead of monthly.)

Still, you'll remember that I promised to write an average of one entry for every month this blog has existed. By the end of 2022, I needed at least 144 articles to keep that progress; so by end of 2023, it would need 156. But this is actually its 161st article, so taking up to a year off still won't mean missing my cumulative goal. If you're fairly new to this blog, that'll give you a lot of past articles to read for fun and info. And if you're a long-time reader, maybe you'll enjoy looking back at some of your favorites over the years, or even discovering one or two that you somehow missed. Just use the ToC in the rightbar to browse through the archives.

May 2023 be a safe, peaceful, productive, and fun year for you and yours. And please wish me luck on all three projects.

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