Friday, May 19, 2006


Radio is going to the dogs.
Well, that’s been obvious for years, particularly since a corporate monster whose name rhymes with "sheer flannel" stomped across the U.S. like King Kong on a steroid bender, devouring more than 1,000 stations along the way.
In this instance, radio has literally capitulated to the canine crowd – in the form of Internet broadcasting. The recently-launched features barking deejays playing vocal and instrumental music 24/7, reports the Bangkok Post.
Anupan Boonchuen, director of a dog grooming school, started DogRadioThailand because he believes listening to music has an effect on canine behavior. "I've noticed that dogs often respond to music. Some wag their tails. Some lift their heads while lying on the floor."
Not much different from my response when a Michael Bolton song comes on. Of course, I’m only lifting my head to gain momentum as I violently drive it back down against the cold, hard linoleum.
"We found that when we turned on music the dogs' mood improved," Boonchuen said. "They were more obedient and let us trim their hair easily."
Again – not much different from my reaction when I hear James Blunt caterwauling You’re Beautiful. I, too, become obedient. And by "obedient," I mean "brain-dead and drooling."
Ten human students from the school have been hired as deejays. Boonchuen said one of the main qualifications for the job included "must be good at barking." I’m guessing another requirement is "must lose anything even remotely resembling dignity."
The programming on will be primarily Thai pop music. I’d like to see this expand to include Western pop, which is a hit among the human population of many foreign countries. I envision a multi-genre play list catering to canines from all walks of life. For the old dogs, there’d be classics by The Beagles (featuring Paw McCartney), The Rolling Bones, Barky Manilow and Steppenwoof. Music-loving pups can shake their tails to the likes of Collie Clarkson, Garf Brooks and of course, Snoop Dogg and Bow Wow.
Eventually, the station’s offerings will include segments during which the disc jockey will talk and canine listeners will be encouraged to respond.
"At 9 a.m., we may have a dog greeting show, in which we'll repeat ‘sawasdee’ (‘hello’) over and over," Boonchuen said. "In some houses, the dog may lift both paws in response. In some houses, the dog may lift only one paw. It depends on how the dog was trained."
If DogRadioThailand catches on, it could lead to a whole new industry aimed specifically at man’s best friend. Imagine the first just-for-dogs sportscast:
"Here’s Jim Kibbleson-Bitts with the WWK9 sports news."
"Thank you, Steve. In yesterday’s go-fetch tournament, the Dayton Dobermans took a bite out of the Middletown Mastiffs, and Barkley the basset hound received a special award for being such a good boy."
One question – will the weather reporter be required to avoid offending the audience by saying, "It’s raining cats and humans"?

Friday, May 05, 2006


Madonna did it. So did Jamie Lee Curtis. And Bill Cosby and John Travolta and Jay Leno, among others.
No, the answer isn't "starred in some incredibly lousy movies." Well, yeah … they did, but that's beside the point, which is: They've all written children's books. For some reason, celebrities feel uniquely qualified to write books for an audience that largely has no idea who they are. With a few exceptions, these literary forays are as horrible as, say, Leonard Part 6. Or Battlefield Earth. Or Shanghai Surprise. Take your pick; they all suck like a Hoover.
Madonna jumped on the bandwagon a couple years ago with the explanation, "I'm starting to read to my son, but I couldn't believe how vapid and vacant and empty all the stories were. There's, like, no lessons. There's, like, no books about anything." (That’s, like, profound.)
Other scribes for the sandbox set include Sting, Jerry Seinfeld, John Lithgow, Talking Head David Byrne, Katie Couric, footballing brothers Tiki and Ronde Barber, ex-president Jimmy Carter, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, Prince Charles and Whoopi Goldberg. Ally Sheedy was 12 when she penned She Was Nice to Mice, which, incidentally, is much better than most of the claptrap scrawled by grown-up celebs.
Eighties songstress Kylie Minogue (Remember Locomotion? I’m still trying to forget it.) is among the latest stars to publish a kids’ book, The Showgirl Princess, due out in September by Puffin Publishing. According to a press release company, the picture book is geared toward "little girls who dream of dressing up and going onstage" as – what else? – showgirl princesses.
Right. Just the sort of aspirations we want to encourage in the women of tomorrow.
Even rogue rapper 50 Cent has taken his "get rich or die tryin’" credo to the publishing world with a book in which he draws on his past experiences to teach children lessons about life. ("See Jack run. See Jack run from the 5-0. Run, Jack, run!")
I can only imagine the lessons to be learned from the eloquent Mr. Half-Dollar. I can see it now -- stacked somewhere between Beverly Cleary and J.K. Rowling, will be such classics as:
* The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf and Got Smacked Down for Bein’ a Snitch
* Malice in Wonderland
* The Lord of the Bling
* The Crackhouse at Pooh Corner
* Goldilocks and the Three Pimps
* Little Red, Ridin' in Tha Hood
* The Chronic of Narnia
* Hush, Little Baby, or So Help Me, I’ll Give You Somethin’ to Cry About
* Harry Potter and the Chamber of Bullets
* The Gingerbread Man: Original Gangsta
* The Adventures of Sherlock Homeboy
* Little Bo Peep THIS
* Georgie Porgie: Playa of the Year
* Car-Jack and Jill
* Curious George Learns to Mind his Own *$&% Business
Thanks, but no, Fiddy. I'll stick to Dr. Seuss. On second thought, I MIGHT pay 50 cents for your books. But you're gonna owe me change.