That dog-themed mural painted on the side of an Arlington, Virginia grooming shop is being painted over, but the owner of the shop says a new one will go up — one she assures won’t be construed, like the first one, as advertising.
The whimsical, 960-square-foot mural on the side of Wag More Dogs ran alongside the Shirlington dog park, and was commissioned by store owner Kim Houghton for $4,000 shortly before the shop opened in 2010.
Even before the opening, Arlington decided the mural was not art, but advertising. Given city rules permit signs of only 60 square feet, they ordered it reduced or covered.
Houghton covered the mural with a blue tarp and sued Arlington in federal court.
In February 2011, U.S. District Court Judge Leonie M. Brinkema issued a 31-page opinion, siding with Arlington.
The judge concluded that Houghton “cannot reasonably assert that the dog mural is anything other than a business sign, erected as part of a business strategy to advertise and promote the Wag More Dogs brand.”
Houghton, a former advertising representative for The Washington Post, appealed, but this May the 4th Circuit federal appeals court upheld Brinkema’s decision.
Houghton’s attorney said this week that he disagreed with that decision.
“Today, Arlington County has muzzled free speech. If the mural displayed cats, dragons or ponies, it would be fine,” he told the Washington Post. No further appeals are planned, he said.
Houghton started painting over the mural Tuesday.
“I’m sad to see the mural that was an expression of my joy of being on this dog park, of my love of dogs, be wiped out, after a long struggle,” she said.
She said a new mural would replace it, free of commercial content, and unrelated to the shop, which grooms and boards dogs. The original mural contained some of the same cartoon dogs in her company’s logo.
(Photo: Tom Jackman / The Washington Post)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advertisement, animals, arlington, art, boarding, court, dog park, dogs, federal, freedom of speech, groomer, grooming, kim houghton, mural, over, painting, pets, removing, ruling, shirlington, sign, virginia, wag more dogs
This week, I was accompanying a friend who was shopping for a car when I noticed this gentleman and his dog seeking handouts on an Interstate 40 exit ramp in Winston-Salem.
Given the alternative was dealing with a car salesman, I left Ace and my friend at the dealership, explained that I had to go take some photos and walked down the road to meet the man with a cardboard sign and his dog, tied to the guard rail.
When I asked if his dog was friendly, he said, “No, she can be a little temperamental,” which, he added, is how he wants her to be. He was fine with me taking some pictures, though.
He explained that he got Dog in Wytheville, Virginia, where he “camped” — his preferred term — before he and Dog hitchhiked down to Winston-Salem.
Dog was among several dogs that were being transported from a southern shelter to a northern one, where they had a better chance of being adopted.
She wasn’t part of the original shipment, but apparently was picked up as a stray along the way, he said.
He admired her for a while and felt a connection — “She was a stray and so was I,” he said — and he asked the driver if he could have her.
They’ve been together ever since, about a year and a half now.
She’s a barker, and helps protect his sleeping bag and other belongings, he said.
Dog barked nearly the whole time I was taking her picture, and when she wasn’t barking at me, she barked at trucks that passed by.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cardboard, dog, dogs, exit ramp, guard rail, guardrail, handouts, hitchhiker, hobo, homeless, money, north carolina, panhandling, pets, photography, photos, sign, winston-salem
An Ohio woman who hoped to get her dog on Ellen’s show has been ordered to remove a billboard, not far from the studio where the show is taped, that pictures her golden retriever in a blond wig and DeGeneresque attire.
The billboard read, “Ellen, Denali the Dog Wants to Meet You.”
Madalyn Ruggiero, a freelance photographer, had rented the billboard for six weeks, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“She says she likes dogs, so I thought she’d love my dog,” explained Ruggiero, who dresses her golden retriever in funny costumes and sells the images as greeting cards.
Instead of an invitation to be on the show, Ruggerio received word from a billboard company lawyer that the sign, after it was up for five days, had to be taken down — apparently as a result of complaints from DeGeneres’ staff.
“Our CBS Outdoor Attorney has advised that we take down the Denali The Dog bulletin ASAP due to the fact that the clothes the dog is wearing in the copy and the use of the name Ellen appears that they are trying to trade on the public image of Ellen DeGeneres,” wrote Tim Fox, director of governmental affairs for CBS Outdoor.
Fox noted the billboard campaign was stopped “at the demand of the representatives of Ms. DeGeneres and her show.”
A publicist for DeGeneres’ show said she was unaware of the billboard controversy.
The disputed ad has been taken down from the billboard, at Cahuenga Boulevard West and Broadlawn Drive, and replaced with a public service message for the Marine Corps.
Ruggiero, 37, of Maumee, Ohio, said dressing the dog as Ellen was the suggestion of the billboard salesman. She was originally going to use a photo of her dog in Elvis attire.
CBS Outdoor says it will attempt to give Ruggiero at least a partial refund for the billboard ad, for which she paid $6,000.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advertising, animals, cbs, costumes, dogs, ellen, ellen degeneres, los angeles, madalyn ruggiero, outdoor, pets, publicity, show, sign, television, tv
Whether you’re Catholic, Presbyterian or just plain gullible, you might have seen and fallen for this series of photos that seems to capture two neighboring churches having a theological debate, via their church signs, on whether dogs go to heaven.
But nay, my friend. Do not be decieved. See the light, which, you might notice, is exactly the same in each shot, as is the cropping, as is the background — including one car that is parked in the same place the whole time the alleged sign debate is going on.
Yea, verily, the devil’s workshop (now available online).
This particular one — the place where these false images are fashioned — is called Church Sign Generator. You can find it on the Internet, should you care to venture into that sinful rat’s nest of temptation, deception and pop-up ads. (May God strike me down if I ever resort to them.)
We (by which I mean me) are not truly bothered by Internet-generated church signs, though we’d argue that being able to put any words you want on one takes away some of the thrill of spotting real church signs that contain humor, wisdom or interesting typos. (Like seeking kudzu dogs, that’s one of my hobbies.)
Some of the Cumberland Presbyterians — especially since they seem to come out on the losing end of the debate — are less than thrilled with it though, calling the text that appears on the signs “inappropriate.”
The misleading series of photos is most often passed along via the forwarded email — forwarded emails being the Internet equivalent of swarming locusts.
“This forwarded e-mail continues to rear its ugly head time after time,” writes editor Pat White in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church newsletter, “so I am resurrecting this message that explains that this is not a theological issue for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.”
“These signs are a prank,” he adds. “If you receive one of these forwarded e-mails, please respond to the sender to be sure they understand that this is not a true Cumberland Presbyterian church sign.”
Alas, his remarks are too little, too late.
As with with locusts, once forwarded emails go viral, the damage is done, and the Presbyterian Church, or at least the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, or at least the Beulah Cumberland Presbyterian Church – if there really is one — is left looking God-fearing but dog-hating.
White does not address whether all dogs go to heaven, but we are quite certain they do.
We read it on a church sign once.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: all dogs go to heaven, beulah, catholic, church, church sign generator, church signs, cumberland presbyterian, debate, deception, devils workshop, dishonest, doctored, dogs, email, engineered, forwarded, hands, heaven, idle, internet, misleading, our lady of martyrs, photos, photoshop, presbyterian, religion, sign, signage, signs, viral, website
I’m pretty sure this is a work of art designed for Facebook posting, as opposed to an actual billboard.
And it’s slightly innacurate — while Ohio law pretty strictly regulates pit bulls, the state isn’t removing them from homes and exterminating them on sight.
But we love the sign/art anyway, and it does make a good point.
To be cracking down on pit bulls — all while a suicidal ex-convict is being allowed to keep dangerous wild animals on his property — makes Ohio seem something of a laughing stock.
Was Terry Thompson, who freed 53 wild animals from their cages at his private reserve before commiting suicide this week, required to have $100,000 worth of insurance, as state law requires of pit bull owners?
If he had two of the same breed, could wardens arbitarily seize one, as allowed under the Ohio law with pit bulls?
Was he subject to fines and worse if his animals weren’t properly muzzled, or securely fenced and enclosed, as pit bull owners have been?
Some Ohio cities, like Cleveland and Toledo, avoided the state’s strict line on pit bulls by passing their own kinder and gentler dangerous dog laws — laws that didn’t automatically presume all pit bulls to be vicious.
And the state legislature, we should point out, is considering removing wording from its dangerous animal law that currently labels all pit bulls as vicious — a move that would bring an end to the over-reaching restrictions.
Until it does pass, the state will likely fall victim to the kind of ribbing this Facebooker came up with.
(Photo: From the Facebook page of John Sibley)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, billboard, citizens, danger, dangerous, dogs, facebook, hb 14, house, house bill 14, laws, legislature, ohio, pets, pit bulls, politicians, preserve, priorities, safety, senate, sign, terry thompson, tigers, welcome to ohio, wild animals
A friend sent me this photo, taken at the Barnes & Noble in Towson, which shows “DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend” getting some pretty decent display (at least better than the bottom shelf of the astronomy section, as was the case at an area bookstore that shall remain nameless).
I can think of no other sign I would like my book to be under — except maybe ”New York Times Bestseller.”
Alas, it’s not there yet, but it did rate the “Page 99 Test,” a website by Marshal Zeringue dedicated to the proposition that the quality of a book can be judged by turning to, and reading, its 99th page.
I lucked out in that page 99 of “DOG, INC.” contains a revelation — namely who it was that located Genelle Guzman, the last survivor found after 9/11, and held her hand until she could be freed from the mound of debris she was trapped under.
(Clue: It wasn’t the volunteer firefighters who took credit for rescuing her on CNN)
If you’re wondering what this has to do with cloning dogs, you can click the link to Marshal’s blog or, better yet, buy the book and allow your thoughts — and perhaps more — to be provoked.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 9-11, 911, animals, author, barnes & noble, best in show, book, books, bookstores, cnn, display, dog books, dog cloning, dog cloning book, dog inc., dogs, firefighters, genelle guzman, genelle guzman-mcmillan, ground zero, john woestendiek, last, marshal zeringue, new york, page 99, pets, rescue, revelation, sales, sign, signs, survivor, thought provoking, towson, westminster, world trade center
It occured to me, when I heaved open the heavy metal door to the storage unit that has held most of my possessions for the past eight months — unveiling disarray, peppered with mouse poop – that what was revealed wasn’t just a metaphor for my life.
It was my life — up to now — in a box.
Virtually all my worldly possessions, except my dog — and, though he’s worldly, I don’t really possess him — are in there.
Cash value? Not much. Emotional value? Depends on which box you open. Overall importance? Given the fact that I didn’t miss any of it in eight months, next to nothing.
But when I moved out of my house in Baltimore to hit the road with my dog last May, I packed it all, and hauled it all, and stacked it all and secured it all with big strong lock.
Because, for me to be truly liberated, all my stuff had to be incarcerated.
We in the free world are slaves to our stuff. We are slaves to our jobs, which allow us to get more stuff. We are slaves to our mortgages, and utility bills, and the Internet and other technology we grow to depend on. Most of all, we are slaves to health insurance.
That, maybe more than anything — especially for those 40 and above — is why we stay in jobs we hate. Sometimes we hate them so much it makes us physically sick — especially when our workload quadruples so that stockholders can get a second yacht. But that’s OK because we have health insurance.
Unable to afford both health insurance and housing, I’ve opted to go with an alternative health plan whose protocol will be followed in the event of serious illness. It’s known as CIACAD (Crawl Into A Corner And Die.)
For my dental plan, I’ve chosen LTARAFO (Let Them All Rot And Fall Out).
For vision — it being more important than to me than life or chewing — I’ll likely pay my own way, as opposed to going with SAGAMG (Shutup And Get A Magnifying Glass).
I need to check into all these health insurance reforms, but my guess is whatever Obama-care benefits might apply to me probably, with my luck, are scheduled to kick in the day after I die.
But this post isn’t about death. It’s about life, and how we choose to live it — and how that, for most of us, is in a really big box, divided up into smaller boxes, some with plumbing and appliances, and all, of course, filled with stuff.
I started off loading it in a very organized manner, but running out of time, sped up to the point that much of it isn’t organized at all. Some boxes are labeled; others are mysteries. There are many boxes that say books, but there are only four or five books I need right now, and going through 20 boxes to find them – all of course trapped back at the very rear of the unit — would be a real time absorber.
So how is my storage unit a metaphor for my life?
First, it’s in disarray. I’m guessing an x-ray of my brain would look a lot like the inside of my storage unit. My stuff is not organized, not immediately locatable. My stuff is in limbo. My stuff, like me, has no idea where it will be a year from now.
There are some treasures in there. A baseball with Willie Mays’ autograph; photos of my son arriving from Korea; the goofy white cap I had to wear at my first job, selling burgers; my Pulitzer Prize (it’s just a sheet of paper); yellowed newspaper stories written nearly 35-plus years ago.
There are four or five boxes of strictly sentimental value. They contain memories. But I don’t remember where they are.
The stuff I need — certain books, forks, long underwear — are all buried somewhere at the back of the unit. The stuff I have no use for right now – my bicycle, golf clubs, tennis rackets — are all right at the front.
Part of me thinks it would be nice to have a place of my own, where I could unpack my stuff and organize it and live amongst it. Part of me thinks that would again make me a slave to my stuff, and all those previously mentioned other things that tie us down.
Here is what I am wondering — after the eight months Ace and I lived in a boat, trailer, tent, my car, cheap motel rooms, and the homes of friends and strangers as we traversed the U.S.:
Is what’s stuffed in that big metal box my life? Or, is my life over there, down that road winding into the horizon?
Do we treasure our past and present to the point that we shortchange our future? Is it possible, for those eking out an existence — as opposed to rolling in money — to have both security and adventure? Is it possible to properly nourish relationships with friends and family — in more than a superficial Facebook kind of way — without living right where they live?
In a way, it should be less complicated for me, having no “partner,” except for my big fuzzy one; having not just an empty nest, but no nest at all.
I should be able to figure this out.
If you’re wondering who that woman is in the back of the storage unit, that’s my beer sign lady — a cardboard cut-out, who, like much of my furniture, I rescued from a Dumpster. I picked her up last winter, but, in the months that followed, found her a bit one-dimensional and not at all good at conversation.
When I moved my stuff into storage, I assigned her the task of watching over it all.
She did a lousy job.
Somehow, all my (mostly) neatly stacked boxes started leaning, and teetering, and falling. She did nothing, and apparently wasn’t much help in scaring visiting mice away.
I think, when I finally do locate myself, I will get rid of her.
The bigger decision, though, is where I belong — warmly ensconced in a home of my own, or among the realm of vagabonds, like those RV nomads who kept their wanderlust in check until retirement kicked in and have been happily rolling along ever since?
When the road calls again, and I’m sure it will, will I answer?
Posted by jwoestendiek January 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, adventure, america, animals, baltimore, beer, belongings, box, boxes, cardboard, decisions, dogs, health insurance, home, lady, liberated, life, lifestyles, memories, organize, pets, possessions, road trip, rv, security, sentimental, sign, slaves, storage, storage unit, stuff, things, travel, travels with ace, vagabond, value, values, wanderlust
The trailer in Arizona where Ace and I are spending December is just a mile from Carefree Highway. Maybe two miles. Possibly three. It doesn’t matter.
“Carefree Highway” is also a Gordon Lightfoot song — one, it seems to me, that’s more about the dangers of being carefree than the joy of being carefree, about how, if we’re too carefree, some important things might slip away. It happens to be one of my four, maybe five, possibly ten or 15 — let’s not sweat the details too much — favorite songs.
I’m a fan of the song, the highway, and Carefree itself, though the town — as with being truly carefree — is a place you can dwell only if you have a lot of money.
Being truly carefree, I realize — though the word is commonly used to market retirement communities, vacation packages and cemetery plots — requires great gobs of money and tuning out all that’s going on in the world, as in “I spend winters in Carefree and the rest of the year in the state of Blissful Ignorance.”
I’m not sure carefree — the state of mind — is a destination I want to reach, but it’s something to strive for.
I’d imagine being truly carefree is pretty close to boring. Yet, in seeking carefree, by losing some of the unnecessary baggage that’s making us go bald and get ulcers, we can perhaps find ourselves in a place where we’re not so burdened as to be unable to enjoy all the wonder and beauty life has to offer.
Did that last paragraph sound like a self-help book, or what?
Anyway, Carefree Highway is where I go for groceries (Shopping list? Who needs a list?), and where I got my hair trimmed (“However you want to cut it is just fine”), and where, when I walked into the Home Depot and was asked by an official greeter if I needed help finding anything, I went blank. (“To tell you the truth, I don’t remember what I came in for. I’ll just walk around until it comes back to me.”)
Perhaps it’s the power of suggestion, or the fact that the desert soothes me, but when, or after, driving down Carefree Highway, I tend to feel that way — at peace, worry-free and prone to not letting anything bother me.
Even with all my inner peace (and no, I’m not on the Prozac Expressway), one thing did get to nagging me: Was the Gordon Lightfoot song written about the actual 30-mile-long road that stretches east from U.S. Route 60, south of Wickenburg, to the town of Carefree? Or was it just a name the Canadian artist dreamed up?
I decided we all needed to know the answer to this question: Which came first the road or the song, and was there any connection between the two? Not knowing the answer was prohibiting me from being carefree. So I turned to where we all turn nowadays for answers: No, not God. The Internet.
Lightfoot’s song was released in 1974 — 10 years before the town of Carefree officially incorporated — but the area was already being called Carefree, and had been since not long after local entrepreneurs K.T. Palmer and Tom Darlington formed a partnership and acquired the land for the town they foresaw in the 1950s.
Carefree Highway, also known as State Route 74, was already being called that, as well — pre-Lightfoot.
According to Wikipedia, the song “Carefree Highway” is about the highway in Arizona, and Lightfoot wrote it after passing the exit sign for it on Interstate 17. Some other accounts say he wrote the song in a rental car, while others suggest he just wrote down the name of the road, thinking it would make a good song title. Some say he put his note in a glove compartment and almost forgot about it, but Lightfoot told Crawdaddy magazine that he put it in his suitcase and found it eight months later.
The Internet can be pretty carefree when it comes to facts.
The closest thing we could find to first-hand information was a Carefree Times blog item written by Nancy Westmoreland, who says she asked Lightfoot the question after a performance.
“The story goes that he was on the band’s bus, traveling for an engagement at the Gammage Auditorium, when he saw the large marquee freeway sign along Interstate 17. He actually had the bus driver pull over so he could get out and snap a close-up photo of the huge off-ramp sign. When he arrived home, he had the picture blown up and placed on his living room wall. He wrote the song while on the bus, and it became one of his biggest hits, exposing millions around the world to the Carefree Highway.”
That’s a lot of exposure for a town, according to the town’s website, of about 4,000 people.
Carefree, which adjoins Cave Creek, the town I’m staying in, is a highly upscale community. As if to live up to its name, it does not assess a property tax. It seems to not get too uppity, either, when it comes to people slapping mansions onto the side of mountains. Its street names bespeak mellow as well. There’s Easy Street, Tranquil Trail, Nonchalant Avenue and Nevermind Trail. One can even find the intersection of Ho and Hum, which then branches into Ho-Hum Road.
There is no Don’t Get Your Knickers in a Knot Boulevard, no Don’t Worry Be Happy Drive, but give Carefree time. It has lots of growth ahead, and — once our worries about the economy are over – there’ll likely be lots of new streets to name. I’d suggest Lightfoot, for then — in addition to the name having a nice, tread softly, tree-hugging feel to it – things would have come in a full and harmonious circle.
For, as it turns out, Carefree Highway, the road, was the inspiration for “Carefree Highway,” the song.
I know this not because I could read his mind, but because, after navigating the misinformation superhighway, I finally stumbled upon this — a video of Lightfoot performing two years ago in Hanford, California. “Here’s one that got written while I was driving from Flagstaff to Phoenix and I saw a sign that said Carefree,” he says in introducing the song.
At 71, Lightfoot’s voice is not quite as rich and mellifluous as it once was, but — given both he and the song are classics — that doesn’t matter. In other words:
I don’t care.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 15th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: arizona, baggage, burdens, carefree, carefree highway, cave creek, connection, dog's country, dogscountry, facts, gordon lightfoot, happiness, highway, inspiration, internet, lightfoot, music, name, road, road songs, sign, song, tourism, town, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, worries
Posted by jwoestendiek October 31st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bad route road, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, exit, exit sign, haiku, highway, highway haiku, interstate, montana, pets, poetry, road, road poetry, road trip, sign, travel, travels with ace
We didn’t know the whole story behind this, but sometime this summer a motel changed names in Lansing, Michigan.
With the simple switch of one gigantic yellow plastic backlit letter, what was once a Days Inn, became Dads Inn.
We guessed that the Days Inn franchise shut down, leaving a multi-story motel vacant. We guessed that some guy — likely a dad — stepped in and took over, and either didn’t want to be a Days Inn or wasn’t accepted by the chain.
In any case, “Days” became “Dads.” Maybe the “Y” was already missing or damaged. Maybe the new owner spent some time reviewing the possibilities: Dabs Inn, Dags Inn, Dals Inn, Dans Inn, Dars Inn, Dats Inn.
He opted for another “D” though, not quite the same width as the first “D,” and a little brighter yellow.
After having some fun conjecturing, we looked up the facts — as initially reported the Lansing Journal.
Seems the Parsippany, N.J.-based hotel chain parted ways with its south Lansing franchisee, Frank Yaldoo, after Yaldoo declined to spruce up the place. The chain wanted him to spend more than $200,000 to replace beds, update computers and — of all things — change its signs.
The article didn’t mention where the new “D” came from, or whether Yaldoo is a dad, but we’re guessing he’s a thrifty guy.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 23rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, chain, change, dads inn, days inn, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, franchise, franchisee, frank yaldoo, lansing, letters, lodging, michigan, motels, name, pets, road trip, sign, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace