Monthly Archives: February 2016

More Fun With the Oscars!

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It’s Oscar time again!  As you may recall, last year my colleague Otis and I teamed up for a special blog about the canine world’s top Oscar picks.  I am sorry to say that Otis, a black Newfoundland, had declined to participate in the Oscars this year, joining many who are staying away because of the lack of diversity among the Oscar nominees.  I respect and support Otis’s decision in this matter and hope that next year there he will enthusiastically join me again.  Otis did ask that I convey his sincerest best wishes to this year’s host, Chris Rockweiler.

As I noted last year, we dogs are typically not allowed in movie theaters[1]or on the “Red Carpet”.[2]  Yet we persevere and use our innate investigative skills to obtain needed information.  Thus, my Oscar picks are based on what information I have been able to sniff out through the public sources available to me.[3]

There were many fine performances among those nominated for best actor this year, including the favored nominee Leonardo di-Corgi-o.  I simply cannot support this candidate as I hear his movie portrayed many casualties to the animal world.   I am also intrigued by the nomination of Eddie Red-mange in the “Great Dane-ish Girl”.  Is this movie about a human who really wants to be a big dog? My pick is Matt Dalmation for his role as a stranded astronaut.  Next time he goes into space, he should bring a dog with him and maybe it will be easier to find his way home.

The best actress category is also full of excellent performances.    The favorite nominee may be Bri-ard Larson in “Room”, but another talented actress is Char Pei Rampling for her performance in “45 Years”.  Is this dog years or human years?  My pick is the talented Cate Basset, who has won many awards, including the Oscar for her terrific performance in “Shih Tzu Jasmine”.

There are also many talented stars in the best supporting categories.  Among the males, the standouts are Christian Aierbale, Mark Ruff Ruff-alo and Sylvester Sta-bone.  Although Sylvester is the name of a popular cat, I still hope that Mr. Sta-bone will get the award for his performance in “Breed”, a movie about a boxer.

One of the favorite nominees for the best supporting actress is Kate Whippet in the movie “Steve Jobs”.  It takes a great actress to succeed in a movie that is only about apples, right?  Alicia Vik-Cairn Terrier was nominated for her excellent performance in the “Great Dane-ish Girl”.   My pick?  Jennifer Jason Col-lie in the “The Hateful Crate”.  I am a staunch opponent to crate training.  How can I protect the premises if I am locked up?

And now the moment you have all been waiting for:  Harley’s Best Picture Pick.  Although all of the eight nominated movies have received much favorable press, three stand out for me.  There is “The Big Short-haired Pointer”.  I am glad to see there is a movie about a dog that takes on Wall Street and wins[4].   Then there is “Mad Max:  Furry Road”.  I am not sure what this movie is about, but I like its name.   “Max” is the name of many of my canine colleagues.  My pick is “Spot-light”, which I assume is a movie about a dog named Spot who has lost a lot of weight.  I applaud the movie industry for recognizing the health and fitness goals of members of my species.

As a dog of a certain age, I would like to close this year’s blog with a special tribute to the seasoned actors and actresses who are still living and who have won at least three Oscars.[5]  They include the iconic Meryl Sheepdog, Jack Russell Nicholson and Spaniel Day Lewis.  They prove time and time again that old dogs are still full of new tricks!

Otis, I hope you will join me next year!

Otis: A dog of principle

Otis: A dog of principle

Your best friend,

Harley

[1] Thankfully, my service dog colleagues are allowed to accompany their human partners into theatres.  That’s a little progress!

[2] Some of us are not allowed on any carpets!

[3] My record from last year was not good:  I did not pick a single winner.  Do I detect a whiff of anti-canine bias in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences?

[4] You might be thinking: “What about the Wolf of Wall Street”?  Please!  Not my species!

[5] Cat Hepburn won four Oscars, but I am not including feline winners.

A Valentine’s Day Proposition

Harley valentine's day

This Valentine’s Day I am making a proposition to you:  I want you to have a special love affair.  You can follow this provocative suggestion no matter what your marital status, and no matter if you are already in a loving and permanent relationship with another living being.

Do I have your attention??

I want you to have a love affair with the truth.

You may wonder if your best friend Harley has been dipping into the fermented kibble.  Not so!  But I have been paying a lot of attention to human media lately and I am concerned that for some members of your species, the truth has become a question of interpretation, a guideline instead of a rule[1], a matter of style, or worse yet, optional.  It troubles me that fact checking the pronouncements of humans who aspire to powerful leadership positions has become a full time job for many.

What happened to telling the truth?

We dogs are incapable of guile[2].   We think it, we bark it.  Oh sure, we occasionally overreact to a perceived threat, like a postal delivery or a squirrel, but our communications are always a good faith desire to communicate accurate information based on our astute factual observations.  You trust us to be true.  This is the foundation of our strong bond with humans.  Many of us work side-by-side with humans and some of you literally place your lives in our paws.  That is about as true as it gets!

I ask you to consider the people in your personal and professional life.  Perhaps they fall into different categories.  There are people who tell you something and you secretly roll your eyes and feel the instinctive need to verify every word, every time, to be sure it is true.  Would you stake your career on this person’s work product?  Would you give this person a critical assignment?  If your life depended on it, would you trust this person’s word?

I hope you also know people whose words you can always “take to the bank”.   Good or bad, you can trust that the information you get is true and unbiased.  What kind of person do you want to be around?  What kind of person do you want to be?  What is the example that you set?   Do you create a culture in your professional and personal life that supports a commitment to the truth?  It’s not easy.  It might result in more uncertainty, more work, and more investigation.  It’s easy to be sure of yourself when you don’t dig past the surface.  You might have to admit you don’t have all the answers.  But in the end, it’s the only way to be.

Why this Valentine’s Day message about being a lover of the truth?  Because truthfulness is an essential ingredient to trust.  And trust is what makes every kind of relationship great.

And, since it’s Valentine’s Day I want to say:  I love my people!  And that’s the truth!

Your best friend,

Harley

[1] I recall the popular line about the Pirates’ Code from the movie Pitt Bulls of the Caribbean:  “The code is more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.”

[2] In the interests of harmony on Valentine’s Day, I will decline to comment on whether all species that live with humans are trustworthy.

The Groundhog is Back!

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Last year on this day I warned of the dangers of “workplace groundhogs”.   I am republishing that blog below because I can now see with greater clarity that the groundhog problem goes far beyond the workplace.

By “groundhog”  I am referring to someone who enjoys the perception that he has superior insights or skills, without any facts to back him up. People follow and reward the groundhog because they are afraid to challenge him.  He seems so sure of himself.  He must know what he is talking about, right??

Recent events convince me that there are groundhogs  at very high levels of our political system.  I won’t mention any names, but I am so concerned about the lack of substance by certain people who aspire to be powerful leaders, that I have been prompted to study the U.S. Constitution to see if I am eligible to run for public office. My people are working on it.  More about that later!

For now, I renew my advice from last year’s blog:  Dig deep for the truth, my friends!

Your best friend,

Harley

Beware of the Groundhogs in the Workplace!