What Motivates Dogs?

I read with great interest this article from the NYT about dog behavior: dogs responding positively to stimulus will wag their tail predominantly to the right, whereas dogs unsure or hostile will wag to the left, and this is tied to left and right-brain activity. When we tried to duplicate the results at home, we were stymied by the fact that our dogs were born without tails. Chico has a little stump, but instead of wagging back and forth, he does a counter-clockwise rotation, like a helicopter blade. However, my innovative research partner took the project in a new direction, and armed with snacks and a cellphone camera, researched a dog’s willingness to enter gainful employment for treats.

Dogs will work for Lil’ Smokies beef sausages.

These dogs offered to sit, stay, dance, wash a car, and complete tax forms (the E-Z, not the 1040) for the Lil’ Smokies that they were offered. The little one offered to write the sequel to Wild Hogs, the John Travolta motorcycle movie.

Dogs will not work for an apple. Please note the total lack of interest.

Fun In A Bottle: Capsule Toys

Modern postscript: Please thank my 2006 Sony Clie for these crappy photos!  I loved that thing.  Maybe as much as I love my iPhone.

Here is the bank of capsule toy machines in Singapore, with a child pretending to fight a cutout robot. They are the sophisticated, collectible cousins of the machines that sell useless crap in American supermarkets. The uselessness of the toys is not different, nor their inevitable fate as something unpleasant to step on in the dark. There are some “rare” toys that are more desirable, and entire sets can be bought at stores at huge markups, just to keep from having to pump dollar coins into the machines. There is a large box next to the arcade of toy machines to collect empty capsules for reuse. Here are some of the most special displays.

dig dug capsule toys singapore

Sure, every kid wants a trinket of Dig Dug, a game from when his parents were in elementary school.

how how dog capsule toys singapore

How can you think that the sound of a dog barking is How How?” This is one of the capsule toys that doubles as a cell-phone trinket, for the 8 year old that wants to distinguish himself apart from just having a Nelly ringtone.

frog mobile capsule toys singapore

Please note some of the things the frogs say as they are driving their vehicles: “I love surfing!” and “I am No. 1!” That’s what it is to be an American.

wooly mammoth capsule toys

Why would a child want an automatically sliced wooly Mammoth steak?

san-x capsule toys

A capsule machine from my favorite weird Sanrio imitator, San-X. That bunny is also a mummy, or possibly he’s just horribly injured.

ban-dai panda capsule toys singapore

This one is a panda machine operated by another, tiny panda, and it reads “Let’s try to find our future!” If my future involves evil dual Panda overlords, I don’t want to find it.

bandai hentai capsule toys singapore

Little boys still like sex, right?

lion dance capsule toys singapore

When lucky dragons attack! Holy Shit!

golden dinosaur capsule toy yujin singapore

Step right up and get your Golden Dinosaur!

yujin nightmare before christmas capsule toy

Jack Skellington’s career keeps on going in Asia, just like Roy Clark’s does in Branson, MO.

hackman capsule toy singapore

This one was so mysterious that I had to plunk three dollar coins in. What was it? Am I really gonna get a hunched-over, vomiting cellphone charm?

hackman guitar

And that’s exactly what I got. This one is vomiting up a tiny Flying V guitar, which makes him the “Rock” Hackman. If you are what you eat, surely you are what you later vomit up.

hackman toy designer

Bizarre small-world postscript: A friend was in Tokyo a week later, and met Hackman’s designer, who sent me another a Hackman capsule. She explained that Hackman comes in twos, because when you are sick, your friend will come to your aid.