Tag Archives: dogs

YouTube Watch: The dogs who stole Christmas

Dog Vs Wild Turkey There’s never a real sense of danger in this video. For one thing the poodle – yapping away and bounding about – clearly just wants to play. The turkey could defend itself if it wanted to, its beak-jabs make that clear. You forget (especially just after eating one) what imperious, silly creatures they are. Those enormous frills! That neck! Note how the dog has tried to blend in with a similarly garish collar. A nice touch.  2/5

Dog Eats Christmas Tree Here at YouTube Watch we have mixed feelings about embedded captions. On the one hand they can offer a lively commentary on the goings-on. On the other they can point out things you might not have noticed. The “This is the horrible part XD” speech bubble that appears a few seconds into this excursion is clearly meant as the latter. But even then the action – disrupted by a catastrophic camera shake – isn’t clear. What has, or hasn’t, the dog eaten? We may never know. 1/5

Pearls Christmas This is more like it. When the video begins Pearl is sat devouring a candy cane – a symbolic item that’s both decorative and tasty. In a very real sense Pearl is ingesting Christmas itself. She has the loveliest long muzzle and is a joy to watch. But everything that this video gains from its falling snow graphics it loses from its misleading description, which claims that the candy canes were stolen. We see Pearl both taunted and wilfully rewarded with these festive shibboleths. 3/5

bulldog stealing christmas presents Right, HERE’s the drama. And what drama! And so much noise! They’re right to warn us not to watch with the volume all the way up. It’s pandemonium. And that’s the thrust of this post: for Christmas to be successful it needs to tread a fine line between control and debauchery. A dog is the random element that tips the scale towards chaos. And all the better for it. 4/10

Dog Robs Store for Bone On Christmas(Dog Steals a Bone) Well this has been doing the rounds for a while. And rightly so. Allow CNN’s cheesy “Dog’s Eye View” camera reconstruction, the meat here is the genuine CCTV footage of a fearless, optimistic dog marching into a store and boldly taking what’s rightfully hers. Merry Christmas x 5/5

When animals attack Shakira

Shakira loves animals. But nature is cruel! Earlier this year she was attacked by a sealion who, she reckons, mistook her BlackBerry for a fish. She escaped with only a small scrape to her hand but of course the whole thing could have been fatal. 

Then the other week she posted a picture of herself cosying up to a killer whale. It seems she’s learnt nothing. Worse, there was no sign of her on Facebook or Twitter for days afterwards. We were all very worried.

So for all our sakes I’ve gone through her videos to find out just how much animal danger she’s been putting herself in through the years.

The video for her very first single Estoy Aquí opens with a shot of a chicken. Perhaps you think that’s an innocuous sort of an animal. No – in 2011 a man was stabbed to death by a chicken in California.

No Creo finds her petting a dog on a lawn. Harmless enough? Think again. In 2008 a man was shot dead by a dog in Texas.

In Ojos Así we see a snake – it’s all set up to look like Shakira’s charming it but we never see them in the same shot. That’s probably best. Four years ago a Louisiana guitar enthusiast tripped over a snake and fell into a toilet.

In Whenever, Wherever of course she dances in the path of a horsey stampede. Oh Shakira. A few months ago a horse blew up a medical centre in Kentucky.

There’s a matador dream sequence in Te Dejo Madrid as Shakira runs – with scissors! – from a stock footage bull, before breaking to play the harmonica. Last year a spillage of bull semen on a Tennessee highway caused traffic delays of several hours.

Dia de Enero sees her hanging out with a flock of deadly GULLS. Only two weeks ago a gang of gulls stole a Greggs steak bake from a teenage girl in Kirkcaldy high street.

And so She Wolf. It’d be churlish to complain about this one when a) it’s one of the best pop videos of all time b) the wolf only pops up briefly and isn’t on set with Shakira c) it’s all about getting in touch with your inner animal anyway. Shakira’s inner animal is amazing. And besides, in a much more interesting story than that football one that’s always being trotted out, wolves once brought peace to the First World War trenches.

NO, SHAKIRA!

The Olympics opening ceremony vs Richard & Judy

Four billion people are expected to tune into the opening ceremony of the London Olympics this Friday. Massive numbers like that are hard to process so let’s compare it with some other globally important TV moments and their reported viewing figures.

(click it for full size)

There you go. It’s on the large side. It’ll influence how the rest of the world sees the UK for many years to come. But maybe you still don’t want to watch. So how are the other channels competing? Well BBC2 have got Hermione Norris narrating a documentary about isolation in Snowdonia, which seems like quite a pointed attack on anyone not interested in the Isles Of Wonder show.

ITV1 has pretty much rolled over and surrendered, with a repeat of the first episode of Vera, while Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky 1 are going for business as usual/heads in the sand with The Million Pound Drop, Big Brother eviction night and Stella respectively.

Well done to those channels offering something genuinely different on the night then. BBC3 are turning their backs on Britain with dog frolic pic Beverley Hills Chihuahua (in which Drew Barrymore voices a spoilt lapdog who runs off with a gruff, sexy German Shepherd). BBC4 are celebrating Irish rock with a profile of Thin Lizzy. And best of all, the gold medal goes to ITV2 who have an episode of The Only Way Is Essex prepared – it’s a genuine alternative to national pride.

The Project Manager’s guide to Doctor Who: The Android Invasion

In this series I’m applying the methodologies of my day job to classic Doctor Who stories. Project management is a subtle profession requiring people skills and precise organisational abilities. Let’s find out if Styggron’s got what it takes.

‘And when I turned round, they were ALL wearing eyepatches!’

1. SET A CLEAR GOAL

The Android Invasion’s the whole reason I started writing this series. Chatting to Dan about it one day I blurted out that from a project management point of view, the Kraals were terrifying – and the seed of looking at Doctor Who stories from this angle was sown. So as I sit down to tear their famously awful, convoluted plan to pieces it would be embarrassing if I had my own personal ‘Oops no sorry look actually my eye was there all the time’ moment, wouldn’t it. I mean, no-one in their right mind thinks this plan makes sense, do they. Do they?

2. ESTIMATING AND PLANNING

No-one could say that the Kraals were under-prepared. They spend a full two years preparing for and rehearsing their invasion. They ransack the contents of their kidnapped astronaut’s brain and create exact plastic copies of Britain’s Space Defence Station and its surroundings on their home planet. Then they populate their rhino Legoland with perfect copies of all the real people in the original area.

The androids were not very frightening

 The standard criticism of this is that it seems pointless, when their actual plan is to wipe out humanity with a virus. Why make androids pose as a ragtag assortment of villagers and test them until they achieve full, terrifying mastery of the art of hanging around in a pub at lunchtime? I say why not. The virus will take three weeks to disseminate, we hear, and it seems that it needs to be added to water and food supplies. So why shouldn’t their androids be copies of publicans, butchers and shopkeepers and practice their daily routines?

Actually no, this one gives me the shits

Resource and timings are the biggest issues facing any project manager at the start of a large campaign. And if it seems that Styggron has gone over the top with his methodology, consider that he’s got, effectively, unlimited resource at his disposal. Compare how casually the fake village is destroyed with a ‘matter dissolving bomb’ with how, the one time we see an android being created, it just appears out of nowhere around a skeletal frame. I think the Kraals have mastered the conservation and recreation of matter, and can spend as much energy fashioning McEwan’s Export bar towels, little boxes of York jelly fruits, copies of the Daily Express and posters with pictures of cheese on them as they like.

The Doctor recognises their enormous technological abilities and ponders – along with everyone watching – why they don’t just take Earth by force with weapons. But considering they’re trying to escape from a radiation-ravaged planet, not ruin an unspoiled one, I think that question answers itself.

3. CONTINGENCY

Leaving aside that the very first thing we see on screen is a wonky android lurching to robo-suicide, Styggron’s got all the details under control. ‘Strategy is formulated upon knowledge,’ he declares when criticised for baiting the Doctor with an android Sarah. ‘It is important to see that our techniques are flawless.’ He even prepares for the unlikely event of an android revolt with the production of a weapon that deactivates them.

Are the dogs androids too? They’ve done the tongues well

As a project manager you rarely get the chance to test your processes before going live. Everything is done on the hoof. Styggron defies this with a constant insistence on testing. Again and again we see him pushing at the limits of the plan to eliminate any weaknesses, immediately eager for instance to factor in a trial run of the virus on a living human organism, a test which only suddenly becomes possible when the TARDIS arrives.

4. MANAGING THE TEAM

Styggron’s an extremely shouty, bullying manager. ‘Do as I say!’ he bellows at a cowering Crayford, unneccessarily adding ‘You SHALL do as I say!’ before unleashing some sort of pain wave. But then it must be stressful when you constantly need to distract your main team member from looking – or even scratching – under his eyepatch. To be honest the further I get into this analysis the more respect for Styggron I’ve got.

Apart from the androids, who obey him without question, the only other person Styggron has to liaise with as chief scientist is Marshall Chedaki. Military credentials on Oseidon are apparently conveyed by a nice chunky bit of gold bling around the neck, and Styggron treats his colleague with the disdain he deserves.

5. TRACKING, STATUS REPORTING AND CHANGE MANAGEMENT

‘There can be no variation in the schedule!’ screams Styggron at one point. All of us project managers feel like that from time to time. But flexible adaptation to the ongoing requirements of the project is the key to success and we can see that he does that alright. For instance his initial wave of androids has already been updated to reflect the latest staff changes at the Space Defence Station – presumably he learned about the Brigadier’s trip to Geneva from Crayford’s recent radio contact with Earth.

The range of phones pictured is available at Tandy’s

As for keeping track of things, he’s always firing up his communicator and shouting ‘Report! Report!’ if he hasn’t heard from his underling enough. The first time we see him he’s immediately noticed that the order for all units to recharge hasn’t been followed and is barking at Crayford about having detected a random unit. He’s clearly keeping a very close eye on progress.

DEBRIEF

  • The project manager was responsible for controlling a complex, large-scale operation with flair and great attention to detail
  • An extensive pre-project testing programme was carried out with unqualified success. The dogs were good
  • Application of the latest scientific techniques was well-deployed and benefit-rich as regards the through-the-line implementation of the plan
  • Management style bordered on the bullish but was thoroughly appropriate to the evolving needs of the process
  • ‘And all brilliantly planned by Styggron!’

Project WIN!

(I mean, if the Doctor hadn’t blundered into things, the Kraals’ plan would have succeeded. Within minutes of Crayford’s rocket touching down on Earth, the commanding officer and the key military staff of the Space Defence Station have all been seamlessly replaced by androids. We’d all have been dead from ginger beer by the 28th July and Blade Runner would never even have been made.)

YouTube Watch: Dogs who tilt their heads

I’m picking my way through the best and worst of YouTube’s most popular genres so you don’t have to. This time, I’ve looked at the elusive art of filming the doggy head-tilt…

My dog Sam tilts his head – Dog head tilt video – SUPER CUTE! You can see all the challenges of the genre in this introductory video. There’s a balance to be struck between piquing a dog’s interest enough to initiate a tilt and getting it so excited that it starts running around. The signs are good as this video opens with an adorable mutt in the almost existential arena of a large bare room with a sandy carpet, but some basic mistakes are made. And by the end the lure of licking its own arse wins out over all other considerations. 2/10

The Pug Head Tilt With 4.3 million views and an As Seen On TV! endorsement this is YouTube’s most viewed canine tilt video. “For a ride, for a walk, or to bed?” This doggy Daddy Or Chips conundrum is the catalyst for a trio of cricked pug necks. Nicely framed on an attractive rug with excellent taunting, you can see why it’s become so popular. I like the closing zoom on the last dog, who it seems didn’t care about any of the mooted activities and was enjoying head-swivelling for its own sake. 4/10

How to make your dog tilt their head Oh no, no, no. This isn’t what we’re looking for at all. “Scratch their ear and they will tilt their head in that direction.” Show, don’t tell! And despite repeated attempts the poor confused dog is more interested in licking her owner’s arm than anything else — there’s hardly a decent tilt to be seen. Soundtracking this farrago with Eminem talking about one shot and one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment just adds insult to injury. 1/5

Shiloh’s Birthday? Dog head tilt Sledding – Fan Friday #26 At six and a half minutes this is a video for hardcore tilt fans only. So is it worth picking through? Well, it’s enlivened with occasional crash zooms for a start, and you’re guaranteed dramatic muzzle angles with a long-faced dog. A Q&A from viewers plays throughout, the highlight of which is the very ambivalent look from the dog on the sofa when they discuss the possibility of turning its fur into yarn. 3/10

聞いてるんだよ (I’ve Been Listening, according to Google Translate)

It takes some serious trawling to find this one, readers. No English search tags at all. But that’s why I’m* here for you! (*Actually @baradar85 found it for us.) So, abandoning any pretext of subjective opinion, this is clearly the loveliest and most watchable dog tilting its head on YouTube or anywhere else. The most alert and loving of faces. The most pleasing of tilt angles in quick, regular succession. The gentlest of coaxing voices. And if you watch right to the end — a lovely little yelp. 5/5

Tied up with string: February

SOME SONGS

There have been some amazing songs released this month. Here they are:

Usher’s Climax might well turn out to be the best song of the year.

King of Hearts by Cassie makes me melt.

I love everything about M.I.A.’s Bad Girls. The song, the video — perfection.

A PERFORMANCE

Madonna’s Super Bowl extravaganza was extraordinary. For someone who takes herself quite so seriously most of the time, it’s a relief to see her revelling in her own ridiculousness. The staging! The costumes! The moves! Especially that little ‘doing a quick poo on the move’ move. Love it.

ANIMAL OF THE MONTH

It is this happy and excited DOG, whose DOGCAM ANTICS Kate was lovely enough to make sure I saw. It’s worth watching to the end, to see the FUN THAT DOGS HAVE when ALONE TOGETHER.

THESE DOGS ARE INNOCENT

I’ve started a Tumblr. The theme’s fairly self-explanatory I reckon. You can see it or follow it from here: THESEDOGSAREINNOCENT.tumblr.com

Favourite albums of 2011

20. Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam

19. Lupe Fiasco – Lasers

18. Lady Gaga – Born This Way

17. Rihanna – Talk That Talk

16. Theophilus London – Timez Are Weird These Days

15. Drake – Take Care

14. Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi

13. Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting

12. Lil B – I’m Gay (I’m Happy)

11. Selena Gomez & The Scene – When The Sun Goes Down

10. CocknBullKid – Adulthood

9. araabMUZIK – Electronic Dream

8. Cher Lloyd – Sticks + Stones

7. Riz MC – MICroscope

6. Beyoncé – 4

5. The Sound of Arrows – Voyage

4. Toddla T – Watch Me Dance

3. Britney Spears – Femme Fatale

Britney’s people have told her that every song on her album Femme Fatale is inspired by a different femme fatale from history, myth or fiction. Poor Britney just can’t work it out though! Can YOU match the lyrics from the album to the  foxy ladies in question? Answers below.

2. The Weeknd – House of Balloons

Poor Abel Tesfaye has just got the artwork for his epically miserable comedown album back from the designers, but it looks like they’ve strayed from his original vision! Can YOU spot the five subtle differences hidden in the new cover?

If you are having trouble spotting all five differences here are some hints!

  • I wonder who else was at those debauched parties he sings about?
  • There’s a subtle theme running through the album but we’ve “inflated” it
  • “Well doesn’t that put the cherry on top”
  • Track titles ‘MAY’ not ‘ALWAYS’ be correct!
  • A dog’s face

1. Katy B – On A Mission

Here are Katy’s missions explained track-by-track:

POWER ON ME

Attributes: Slowly unfolding; sweeping musical vista; quite long. Mission: 1986 film THE MISSION. (From the IMDB plot synopsis: “Initially, the Guarani warriors prepare to kill him, but after Gabriel plays an unforgettable solo on his oboe, they allow him to live”. And we’ve all had days like that.)

KATY ON A MISSION

Attributes: Bold, purposeful, brill. Mission: KATY’S MISSION STATEMENT

WHY YOU ALWAYS HERE

Attributes: Elegant; structured; accomplished. Mission: MISSION REVIVAL ARCHITECTURE.

WITCHES BREW

Attributes: Startling; Bleepy; Full of twists and turns that leave you feeling dislocated. Mission: Doctor Who‘s 1965 MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN episode with its imagination-gone-mad monsters and lack of regular cast.

MOVEMENT

Attributes: Propulsive; No nonsense; Designed to make you move. Mission: A SEARCH AND DESTROY MISSION.

GO AWAY

Attributes: Dignified; Luxurious; Satisfying. Mission: The DIPLOMATIC MISSION where the Ferrero Rocher-stuffed Ambassador’s Receptions are held.

DISAPPEAR

Attributes: Solid; A bit old-fashioned; Cheery. Mission: THE GLAD TIDINGS MISSION FROM 60s CORONATION STREET, over which Ena Sharples presided; a handy refuge in case of a gas leak on the Street.

BROKEN RECORD

Attributes: Bright; Bouncy; Pretty. Mission: MISSION BELL (the flower, stupid.)

LIGHTS ON (FEAT. MS. DYNAMITE)

Attributes: Passing the torch from one generation of singer to the next; Shiny; Confident. Mission: THE CONTINUING MISSION of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Enterprise-D.

EASY PLEASE ME

Attributes: Fun; In your face; Sassy with the fanfares. Mission: The original series of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.

PERFECT STRANGER (WITH MAGNETIC MAN)

Attributes: Romantic; Irresistible; Destined to help Magnetic Man be warmly remembered even though most people shrugged at their album proper. Mission: A RESCUE MISSION.

HARD TO GET

Attributes: Charming; Laidback; Basking in the glow of all that’s come before. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Tied up with string: August

AN ACTRESS

I bloody love Ann Mitchell. She was a childhood hero in Widows and now here she is as a regular in EastEnders, dispensing unpalatable truth in that gravelly voice like it’s 1983 again. Her brilliant performance has elevated a certain piece of dialogue into being the most quotable EastEnders line in ten years:

FYI, the previous ‘most quotable line of ‘Enders dialogue since 2001′ was given to Syd Chambers (Nina Toussaint-White, seen in Doctor Who this week as “Mels”), who introduced herself to Bradley with the dog-related chat-up line “My Sugar’s taken a shine to you.”

(Poor Sugar.)

AN ALBUM

Toddla T’s Dance With Me is a big favourite already. I have all the time in the world for thoughtful party albums, and what a party this is. The whole thing is stuffed with beats and dripping with sex, quite literally in the lyrics of Cherry Picking, in which Róisín Murphy quotes Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and boasts she can break a lover’s fingers with her vaginal grip before climaxing with what we can only call an ‘I’ll have what she’s having’.

ANIMAL OF THE MONTH

It is the spider in my bathroom, who, for setting up in a high, quiet corner and deciding to stay all summer, is Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web to my mind. We’ll have to gloss over the evening when I drunktweeted about trying to hold a conversation with her. And let’s not think about the County Fair and the coming of Autumn. I can’t bear it.

Celebrity Families: The Lloyds

“We’re all a little bit excited,” says mum Siân in that soothing voice of hers as she ushers me into the family home. “My little girl could be going to number one today!” She rushes over to Cher Lloyd’s side as they huddle around the radio. For some reason the radio is a giant contraption being worn on grandad Christopher’s head. “My dad’s an inventor!” explains Siân proudly.

“Shut UP mum!” snaps Cher. “We’re into the Top Ten, I bet Reggie phones me any minute!” Siân clears her throat loudly and Cher notices me at last. She springs up, brandishing a terrier. “Hello hater!” she says. “This is my dog Wagger.”

“I wanted to call him Einstein,” says Christopher sadly. I pet the dog, who limps away with the stiffness of age.

I assure Cher that I’m not one of her haters, that in fact I quite like her. She kisses her teeth. “You can’t stop looking at me, can you? You can’t stop writing ’bout me!” I explain that it’s because I’m here to interview her for a magazine profile. “Well I’m laughing all the way,” she counters with unnecessary petulance.

Christopher shoots her a wild-eyed look. “You really are a cheeky girl, aren’t you.”

Siân looks round as if a gun’s been fired in the room. “What? Where?”

Fortunately there’s a sudden distraction as the phone rings. It’s Reggie Yates, confirming that Cher has indeed gone to number one. The girls turn the radio up loud and dance around, crying happily.

Christopher reaches into the sideboard and hands Cher a tattered envelope. “Time to open the sealed letter I wrote you in 1985!” he blurts.

Cher narrows her eyes, commenting that she hadn’t been born then, as she opens the envelope and reads out the letter. “Dear Cher, If my calculations are correct, you will receive this letter immediately after learning that you have reached number one in the popular charts…

“That’s amazing Dad!” lilts Siân. “What does the other letter say?”

“What?”

“There were two letters in the sideboard – one with a Y on the back and one with an N.”

“No there weren’t,” says Christopher defensively. “When was the last time you did a forecast anyway?”

I clear the air by asking Cher where the inspiration for her song came from, but only a croak comes out as her little mouth opens and closes. She begins to weep.

“Too much excitement!” shrieks Siân. “You need vitamin C!” She rummages in the fruit bowl. “Oh my darling. I know there’s a clementine buried in here somewhere. Don’t even try to speak!”

But Cher has found her voice again. “Mum stop trying to shut me up! I’ll talk about my success if I want to!” She looks daggers at Siân. “Gagger!”

“Bragger!”

“Nagger!”

“Blagger!”

“Have you both quite finished?” I interrupt. A silence descends across the room. It is broken by a sad bark. Wagger staggers in.

[continued on page 119]