For those of you who expect dog news — and only dog news — on this website, I apologize, but I thought I’d share this tale of how I, as a savvy consumer, got nearly an entire set of free kitchen knives for $1,678.
It was through a “game” (those are sarcastic quotes) called Kitchen Kaboodle. So much fun! (That’s a sarcastic exclamation point.)
In Kitchen Kaboodle shoppers at my grocery store — Lowes — were awarded stamps for their purchases that they could later redeem for kitchen knives.
Having no sharp kitchen knives, never being any good at sharpening them and always looking to save a buck, I jumped right in.
Lowes is a North Carolina-based grocery chain, not to be confused with the home improvement chain that uses an apostrophe in its name. Lowes grocery stores consider themselves a “community” (more sarcastic quotes). They reinvented themselves a year or so ago, revamping their outlets to look more like country stores, with lots of cracker barrels. But it was an upscaled kind of down-home feel, with higher prices, built-in coffee shops, never-ending wine selections, cooking classes and such.
They named the cash register lines after local roads, and clearly trained their employees to exude a cult-like howdy neighbor ambience. Employees are (with rare exception) that oozy kind of friendly you find in the south and never are convinced is sincere (even though it sometimes is).
Announcements over the public address system now begin, “Attention Lowes Community …” We’re no longer “shoppers” but instead we are friends … member of an extended family that reunites every week or so when our milk, bread or coffee run out.
That’s assuming the stamps survived the trip home. They are so small — about the size of a dime — they often didn’t.
I generally tossed the green and white stamps into one of my green and white plastic Lowe’s grocery bags, where they become all but invisible. Sometimes, after returning home and putting the groceries away, I have fished through 12 empty bags in search of them. Sometimes I found them later, adhered to my bologna in the refrigerator. Sometimes I never found them.
Given the game is probably most popular among older folks, Lowes could have made the stamps a little bigger. In addition to having trouble seeing them, and remembering where we put them, peeling them off the strips and putting them in the book can be challenging to those whose fingers have lost some of their dexterity.
(I would suggest they made it harder on purpose, but that is no way to speak about one’s community.)
As a child, after my mother convinced me how much fun it was, I would lick them (that couldn’t have been healthy) and stick them in the books until my body was totally saliva free.
In the 1960s, collecting the stamps was highly popular among otherwise bored suburban housewives. S&H claimed it issued three times more stamps than the U.S. Postal Service. Its reward catalog was the largest publication in the country.
It was a sticky way for a family to bond, and it wasn’t uncommon to find a stray green stamp stuck to your clothes or homework.
So maybe it was green stamp nostalgia that made me want to play Kitchen Kaboodle. More likely it was my love for getting things for free.
The kitchen knife set consisted of the following: Knife block, cutting board, sharpener, shears, steak knives and seven other knives.
It quickly became clear that — however hard I were to spend — I was not going to get the whole set.
As the deadline for collecting stamps approached (Feb. 12), I’d review how many stamps I had and lower my expectations, ruling out the cutting board, the shears, the sharpener, the steak knives and some of the others I didn’t see myself using much.
Bread knife? Bread already comes sliced, and I have an old and never-used one, anyway.
Slicing knife, for carving meats? It is rare that I, living alone, cook a big hunk of meat that needs slicing. I deemed it non-vital.
Santoku knife, with a scalloped blade? I have no idea what that is for, so it was easy to mark it off my list.
I didn’t foresee a need for the Chinese cleaver. But I had to have it.
The most expensive of the knives offered, at 80 stamps, it’s an impressive looking piece of cutlery that would allow me to hack through bones, and signify to visitors that I know my way around the kitchen.
In truth, I’m not a real sophisticated chef. I don’t make things like Peking duck. I could, I suppose, use the Chinese cleaver to cut up Chinese things, such as bok choy, but I don’t make bok choy.
In fact, I can’t remember ever having a need to cleave.
Still I wanted it, and I had to have the knife block, too, because it had a big slot into which the cleaver neatly fits.
As stamp collecting time ran out, I made one last trip to the store, buying things I didn’t need at all, buying expensive brands instead of generic ones, looking around for something I could buy and later cleave. (I settled on green beans.)
Back home, I pasted and tallied things up — two full books of stamps, and five more, or 165 stamps.
I weighed my alternatives and made my final list. The knife block was 15 stamps plus an additional $15. I would get the chef’s knife, for 60 stamps, and the utility and paring knives, at 30 stamps apiece.
That left me with 30 stamps — not enough for the Chinese cleaver, unless I forked over an additional $13.00.
With $28 of cash money, and 165 stamps (gained from $1,650 in purchases over about four months), I sought redemption and, after only a little bit of confusion with all the math that had to be done at the cash register, achieved it.
Back home, I proudly inserted my new knives into the appropriate slots of my new knife block, where they sat for a week before one was required to cut an onion, at which point I nicked one of my fingers.
That led me back to the Lowes Community for some Band-Aids. After that, I decided I may hold off on using the Chinese cleaver — at least until Lowes adds a community emergency room.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 8th, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bargains, chinese cleaver, cleaver, community, consumers, cutlery, green stamps, groceries, grocery, humor, kitchen kaboodle, knives, lowes, marketing, promotion, promotional games, redemption, s &H green stamps, saving, savvy, stores
This may work as comedy, but I don’t think it’s going curtail this Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s snoring.
The video was posted on YouTube this week by Tal Solomon, who describes himself as a comedian.
Judging from the comments the post has received, not everybody’s laughing.
“Typical male behavior,” one comment reads, “his dog is probably a female and since the male in this video doesn’t have a wife to harass he abuses his female dog with sleep deprivation. It’s so sad what the male population is up to nowadays, the patriarchy, which we can see in it’s clearest form in this video, is disgusting!”
Whoa. I don’t know how the comment-maker reads all that into the video.
I doubt this method will work on dogs, or people.
But my bigger question is, if a recording of the dog’s snoring wakes him (or her) up, why doesn’t his (or her) snoring wake him (or her) up?
And that pumping up of the volume? We wouldn’t call it abusive, but it’s pretty unfair.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 4th, 2017 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, cavalier king charles, dog, dogs, humor, pets, recording, snoring, snoring dogs, tal solomon, training, video
Devices claiming to translate what your dog is thinking into human words have been popping up on the Internet for a good five years now, and some of the more gullible among us have bought them — and even contributed to campaigns to bring them to market.
There’s No More Woof an electronic device — still in the testing stages, of course — that Swedish scientists say will be able to analyze dogs’ brain waves and translate their thoughts into rudimentary English.
There’s the slightly more real but far more rudimentary Bow-Lingual, which claims to be able to translate your dog’s barks into emotions, currently unavailable on Amazon.com
There are apps — real and prank ones — that offer dog-to-human translations, virtually all of which have disclaimers saying that they should be used primarily for entertainment purposes.
And there are legitimate research projects underway around the world, with real scientists and animal behaviorists seeking to determine and give voice to what is going on in the heads of dogs.
But wait a minute. Do we really want to know?
As this bit of satire shows, we might not like the result.
It was produced by Los Angeles-based Rogue Kite Productions, an independent film company created by writer/producer/director Michelle Boley and camera operator/editor Taylor Gill, who pursue projects of their liking when not doing their day jobs.
Their spoof depicts a speech articulating device much like one a group in Sweden claims to actually be working on.
No More Woof aims to “break the language barrier between animals and humans,” the Sweden-based Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery (NSID) says on its Indiegogo page.
NSID says the device records electroencephalogram (EEG) readings from a dog that are then analyzed by a Raspberry Pi microcomputer and translated, through a small speaker, into simple phrases like, “I’m hungry,” or “Who is that person?”
Popular Science declared the project almost certainly bogus — and yet money keeps pouring in from donors.
The No More Woof indiegogo page says more than $22,000 has been contributed to the project.
Not to cast aspersions on the Swedish group’s attempt to move technology ahead, but I think Rogue Kite Productions could put that money to better use.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 31st, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, apps, articulating, bow-lingual, bowlingual, communicate, communications, devices, dog, dogs, emotions, funny, humans, humor, minds, no more woof, owners, pets, reading, rogue kite productions, speech, thinking, thoughts, translate, translation, video, words
Bryan Lewis is pretty sure his dog is a Democrat — certain enough, at least, to write a country song about it.
He premiered “I Think My Dog’s A Democrat” on radio station WTVN, and the YouTube video of the debut has garnered close to a half million views since early March.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bryan lewis, country song, democrat, democrats, dog, dogs, humor, i think my dog's a democrat, music, pets, politics, republicans, singer, song, video, wtvn
Not too far into 2015, an amazingly asinine Internet discussion began over what became known as simply “The Dress.”
Millions wasted valuable hunks of life debating what color it was.
Between social media and news media, the dress became one of the most viral images of all time.
Now, as 2015 nears its end, comes an even more asinine debate — over dog pants, specifically over how dogs should wear pants.
As we ring in the new year, the question is getting more attention than many presidential candidates — despite the obvious fact that dogs shouldn’t wear pants at all.
There are few, if any dogs, who are shaped in such a way that pants worn over all four legs would stay in place. (Four separate doggie leggings, held in place by elastic, would be a much better route.) And traditional pants preclude a dog from being free to go to the bathroom.
(Please tell me I’m not seriously discussing this.)
In true “meme” form, we can expect many variations of the doggie pants question to arise. “How should a cat wear a poncho?” “How should a hamster wear a mumu?” And, around the time Donald Trump wins the presidency because we’re all preoccupied, “How should a camel wear a pashmina?”
I’m not a big fan of memes. I like them even less than mimes. And I would prefer to bound into 2016 with a song in my heart, as opposed to a meme on my mind. Memes do seem to get stuck in your head, like bad songs (see below).
This one got its start on Facebook, where it was posted by a 19-year-old techie type from Belgium.
After seeing a dog in pants, worn over the two hind legs, he started wondering if there was another way for dogs to wear pants.
“I thought that pants are a human invention so for us it’s normal to wear them like that. But dogs have four legs so technically, their pants should go on each leg,” the man, identified as Norbert K., told the Washington Post.
(That’s right, the great dog pants debate has made the Washington Post, or at least one of its blogs, called Intersect.)
After appearing on the Facebook page for “Utopian Raspberry – Modern Oasis Machine,” the image was shared and borrowed and ended up on other social media, including Twitter.
Jared Keller, who works at Maxim, played a large role in catapulting the image into the viralsphere — posting it to his Facebook page, then to his Twitter feed, and then writing a piece about it for Maxim, the Washington Post reported.
The Post even invited readers to take part in a poll by the newspaper on how dogs should wear pants.
But when we clicked on the link to vote we were taken to a YouTube video of Rick Astley singing “Never Going to Give You Up.”
As a result, we can share this piece of vital information with you: Rick Astley wears his pants really high up on his waist.
(Image from Facebook)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 30th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, clothing, debate, dog, dogs, facebook, how should dogs wear pants, humor, image, meme, pants, pets, ridiculous, social media, the dress, twitter, viral, wear
A doggy day care center is the setting for this Amy Schumer skit, poking fun at those dog owners who go a little bit overboard — especially when it comes to describing their own “heroism” in adopting rescue dogs.
The five moms trade stories after dropping their “fur babies” at day care.
One explains her dog “lost his legs when a cop shot him in St. Louis.”
Not to be outdone, another says her dog was a Sudan child dog soldier who was kicked out of the militia because he was gay.
Another comes in with a dead dog, explaining she adopted him after he was put down at the local pound: “And I was like, ‘I’ll take her.’ I’m just doing what any hero would do.”
Another relates the story of rescuing her dog, Mrs. Belvedere, from Hurricane Katrina.
“She was up on the roof with this little boy whose parents had drowned. And I just thought, ‘That little orphan boy can’t take care of a dog.’ So I choppered in and rescued her right off that roof.”
“What happened to the boy?” Schumer asks.
“What boy?” the owner of Mrs. Belvedere responds.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 26th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: amy schumer, animals, comedy, comedy central, day care, dogs, funny, fur babies, humor, inside amy schumer, pets, rescues
He isn’t exactly adept at catching airborne snacks in his mouth. Does that mean Fritz the Golden retriever should be made a laughingstock?
Probably not, but welcome to the Internet age, in which dogs (and humans) are more likely to become famous not for doing something right, but for doing something wrong — and the more “epic” the fail the better.
This video was posted on YouTube last week, and since has been reposted on major media websites, and broadcast on TV, like yesterday’s Today Show — all but guaranteeing it will go viral.
We hesitated before even posting it, because in a way we see it as laughing “at” Fritz, who, for all we know, might have a vision problem or other disability.
But we admire his persistence, and the look of determination in his eyes. We admire that far more than we admire the owner, and — assuming Fritz is eating everything thrown at him after it lands on the ground — the unhealthy diet he is providing his dog.
Fritz flubs it when he tries to catch, among other food items, a donut, a slice of pizza, a hot dog (on bun, with mustard), a chimichanga and more.
Not until the very end does he manage to catch an item — what appears to be a french fry.
The YouTube post provides few details, so we can only hope this was videotaped over time, as opposed to all in one day — for the sake of Fritz’s stomach, and his owner’s carpeting.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 25th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, catching, dog, dogs, error, fail, food, fritz, funny, golden retriever, humor, internet, miss, missing, pets, snacks, treats, video, videos, youtube