just for fun

Just Sayin’…

Another Historical Shaggy Dog Story

Today’s shaggy dog story comes from Science Daily, by way of the University of York (England) and the Smithsonian. The research attempted to confirm or deny the possibility that Salish weavers (from the Pacific Northwest and western British Columbia) wove blankets and other textiles from dog hair. Another story, recorded by 18th-century Eurpoean explorers, mentions that the Salish raised shaggy dogs for their hair, and kept them apart from the short-haired village dogs to prevent interbreeding. (The findings are published in their entirety in Antiquity.)

Although the tests proved inconclusive — none of the specimens tested were made solely from dog hair, but they all had a lot of dog hair on and in them. This should come as no surprise to anyone who lives with dogs, shaggy or no. If you share your life with a dog, having fur trim on everything just comes with the territory.

It’s just like the song says: There’s dog hair in everything I do!

Review and Giveaway: Awkward Family Pet Photos Book


You have them. I have them. Everybody we know has them. Maybe they’re hidden in a shoebox someplace. Maybe a family member is just waiting to post one to Facebook and tag you in it on your next birthday — just when you thought you’d successfully lived down the hairstyle you had in 1982! (Actually, this photo was taken in 1991 or 92. That’s Duncan, my second Beardie.)

Awkward Family Photos, and its equally successful and hilarious sister website Awkward Family Pet Photos, are THE go-to websites for whenever you’re having a bad day. No matter how tough things are where you are, you can’t help but burst out laughing when you view some of the classic photos on each site! (Don’t try this at work. I’m warning you now.) Part of the laughter is schadenfreude; no matter how bad your old awkward photos might be, they have to go pretty far to match some of these beauties!

Special holiday season bonus: All of the awkward pet photos with Santa. This is Dinah, circa 2006. This one was scanned from the original Polaroid for extra vintage glory.

Based on the extreme popularity of the Awkward sites, authors Mike Bender and Doug Chernack have recently released the Awkward Family Pet Photos book. The book contains some of the finest examples of glorious awkwardness from the AFPP site — plus never-before-seen photos, essays, and graphics.

Does the cover make you laugh? Wait till you see what's inside!

Awkward Family Pet Photos contains family portraits with dogs, cats, rats, ferrets, pigs, horses, chickens, reptiles… you name it. There are birthday party photos, Christmas card photos, candid kid photos, and not a few wedding photos of varying vintages. Each one is even cackle-out-loud funnier than the last.

Of course, the one thing all these photos have in common is that they show how attached we are to our pets. They’re members of the family, so of course they should be included in the family portraits! Even if we dress them in ridiculous outfits and make them do silly things in front of the camera, they still love us. They might even love us more for all our goofiness.

This book is practically irresistible — just leave it someplace, and people will pick it up, open it, and start to laugh. Even before I had the chance to open my review copy, Greg picked it up and started cracking up at the photos inside. He never messes with the dog stuff, but he just couldn’t resist the pull of Awkward Family Pet Photos.

Just for the fun of it, I decided to test the irresistible nature of Awkward Family Pet Photos in the least funny place I know: the office. I took my review copy to work, left it on a corner of my cubicle, and waited.

The first person to pick up the book was a co-worker who is also a devoted cat lover. Her reactions to the photos ran the gamut from “Oh, that is SO wrong!” to helpless giggles to “Really? A capybara?!”. The other folks to pick up the book experienced a similar spectrum of reactions, heavy on the giggle end. Everyone found something that was just too funny for words. Invariably, they’d just point to the photo and dissolve into still more laughter.

I am absolutely taking my copy along when I visit my family this week. I guarantee you that everyone will get a Mastiff-sized charge out of it.

You can find the book in all of the usual outlets, such as Amazon (they have a Kindle edition!) and Barnes & Noble, or you can order it directly from the store on the website.

You Know You Want a Copy!

Yes, that’s right. I can’t possibly keep all this awkwardness to myself, so I’m giving away a copy of Awkward Family Pet Photos right here on the blog! You probably know the drill by now, but here are the Wicked Simple Rules for the giveaway…

Wicked Simple Rules

  1. Leave a comment on the blog. Describe the most awkward photo you’ve ever had taken with a pet. Facebook comments, while welcome, don’t count toward the prize.
  2. Like the Awkward Family Pet Photos page on Facebook. If you do this, come on back to the blog and leave another comment for an additional entry.
  3. Entries close on Friday, December 2.

Charlie (circa 1998) says, Good Luck!

A(n) Historic Shaggy Dog Story

Bailie of Bothkennar, whose call name was David, was one of the foundation sires for the Bearded Collie in Britain. Along with Jeannie of Bothkennar (an unrelated bitch whom the kennel owner, Mrs. Willison, received from Scotland when she thought she was getting a Sheltie), Bailie of Bothkennar produced the first Bearded Collie litter to be registered with The Kennel Club.

This little Flash video from the British Pathé film archive, shows sculptor Lavender Dower crafting a rubber model of David as well as the molds for the sculpture. The original newsreel is dated April 6, 1953.

To watch the video, click on the image below. Enjoy!

Another Old Shaggy Dog Story!

This British Pathé newsreel is in color and dates from November of 1956.

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