September 13, 2012
Back in the days when school vice principals carried a big paddle, which was purportedly used against students who did not respond to conversational discipline, we used to train pet dogs not to misbehave by swatting them on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.
We are now a kinder, gentler society, and so when dogs misbehave, we don't hit them (a language they understand), we hold them up to public ridicule. Go to the website http://dog-shaming.com/page/2
, and see what I mean.
The Dog-Shaming site consists of pictures of dogs standing or sitting beside signs that list their misdeeds:
"I unravel the toilet paper to get the cardboard tube and I am not sorry at all!"
"I escaped the yard, broke into the neighbors' house, and woke him up by climbing into bed with him and licking his face. Then played with his dog til my owner came and got me."
With this last one, a man was holding the sign in one hand while with his other hand he held the dachshund in place. So arguably the man was declaring his own sins. Which conjures up disturbing images.
If you don't own a dog, come to this site to remind yourself of why your life is much simpler and easier.
It is obvious that in fact this website is about owners of dogs who are proud of their precocious little darlings' misbehavior.
What really disturbed me about the site is signs like this – which are the rule, not the exception:
"I spent the day in people prison because I ran away at my grandmoms and they could not find my parents."
"I enjoy jumping up and pulling down my dad's gym shorts in front of the neighbors instead of going potty."
"Grandmom's"? "My parents"? The dog's "dad"? Really? And the dog goes "potty"?
Sounds more like a sign for somebody's 2-year-old kid, if they took their kid out in the yard to do his business.
But to use babytalk and depict the dog as calling its master "daddy" is a weird combination of anthropomorphism and humiliation. What shames the dog is not that he embarrasses his owner (after all, it's the owner who chooses to take the dog out while wearing gym shorts), but that his owner pretends that their relationship is parent-child instead of keeper-prisoner.
Dog-owners are free to call their beasts by any name they choose; we've been evolving side-by-side with dogs for at least a hundred thousand years, so I suppose "prisoner-keeper" is as incorrect a depiction of the relationship as "baby-daddy."
What really matters is that this website is often very funny. Like the sign in front of a sleeping dog: "I am a 100 lb pitt bull ... and I am ... terrified of the vacuum & thunder – Hooch."
Or the cheery-looking fuzzball dog looking through a balustrade, with this sign beside him: "I try to kill my family by biting their feet or pulling their shoelaces when they try to walk down the stairs."
Yeah ... it's funny. But it's also true. My post-80-year-old father's frisky dog managed to trip him up and knock him down with his boisterous behavior; dogs that get underfoot when you're carrying burdens or climbing stairs can in fact kill you. But my dad kept the dog.
Anyone who watches Tosh.0 knows that falls down stairs can be surprisingly entertaining, as long as you don't care whether the person lives or dies.
And dogs don't care.
That's not really true. Dogs love you. They can be devoted.
They just don't understand indirect consequences. It's fun to bite at flapping shoelaces. It's fun to watch people fall down stairs. There is no way for a dog to understand that the reason that person no longer brings it food or takes it for walks is that the shoelace-biting led to the owner's neck getting broken.
The pet behavior that hasn't quite killed us yet can be so endearing.
But schoolteachers, take note. Since misbehaving children can no longer be physically punished, and their helicopter parents don't discipline them at home, and you can't even suspend them anymore for shockingly disruptive behavior, if doing so would cause a racial imbalance in the district statistics, try this:
Use your cellphone to take a snapshot of the mouthy student; put a caption on the picture that repeats verbatim the words the student was saying to you; then post it online. Since the child actually said it in front of the whole class, and since the school authorities have determined that it's not bad enough behavior to suspend or otherwise discipline the child, who could possibly object to showing off this "cute" behavior to the whole world?
"Brat-shaming" would be a funny, endearing site, don't you think?
Oh, the parents object? But how can they? They certainly didn't think it was a problem when the child actually behaved that way. Why in the world should they regard it as a bad thing to show the whole world what their little darling says and does in class?
Oh, they'd rather bring back the paddle? Yeah. I thought so.
My office is in an attic room, with a ceiling that slopes down with the roofline. The vertical walls are completely filled with bookshelves, just to hold the books I use as references when I work. So I have almost no space for the display of art.
I need to look at art. Excellent art. Lots of variety, and from nearly every period. But my office has no place for it.
For years I have compensated by building a large electronic collection of art and photography in every genre, which I display digitally on my computer as "wallpaper." I look at my computer a lot. It's my art gallery now.
In this age of 1,920-by-1,200 pixel screens, I can have two pages side-by-side on my word processor and still see a third of my screen – so can see my art cycling through at 10-minute intervals the entire time I'm working. It's my art gallery, and it's an important part of my life.
When I first started collecting digital art, I expanded it to fill the whole screen. When displays were 800 or 1,280 pixels wide, that made a kind of sense; at 1,920 pixels, it doesn't. Even when I scan it myself, it shows every flaw of the original. The way to get sharpness is to "stand back" by scanning at 1,920 or bigger – and then shrinking it down to make a sharper, clearer image.
By shrinking all my art to be no more than 600 pixels high, and then having my WallMaster Pro software tile the art, any corner of the screen that remains visible displays a clear copy of the entire image. That's way better than seeing only a corner of a much blurrier or more pixelated copy of the art.
So I needed to reduce all my too-large, can't-see-the-whole-thing-anyway digital files. That's several thousand.
I didn't want to do it one file at a time, and my CompuPic Pro software that I use for image-cropping had been acting flaky lately. (I later fixed it by a complete removal of the program and a new installation of it. Sometimes programs deteriorate with use as files get corrupted.)
So while my CompuPic Pro wasn't usable for such large batches, I decided to try the well-reviewed AVS Image Converter program.
AVS Image Converter is part of a package that includes video and sound manipulation and conversion programs, and for all I know those programs all work fine....continued on page 2