Dogs are amazing creatures that help mankind in a number of ways. Besides being loyal companions, they work as hunting dogs and herding dogs, can be trained to assist the police, assist people with different handicaps and physical issues, comfort others as therapy dogs or just entertain us.
I actually think that dogs who learn entertaining stunts think of it as play. Here are some dancing dogs and one “singing” one.
Sara and Hero
Sara and Hero almost didn’t continue in the America’s Got Talent competition, but Simon Cowell saw something in their debut act. You may notice that Simon, although he has a reputation for being harsh and critical, has a serious soft spot for dogs. Hero is a Border collie, and you will notice a few other Border collies in this list. The breed has a reputation for being agile and very trainable. I love the clever little heist story told through this act.
Ashleigh and Sully
Ashleigh first appeared on Britain’s Got Talent with her adorable dog Pudsey. Sadly, Pudsey is no more, but Ashleigh continued to act with Pudsey’s friend and Ashleigh’s second dog, Sully. This act has a bit of a boxing theme, but Sully doesn’t seem too fierce.
Marc Metral and Wendy
As a puppeteer, I find Marc Metral’s act fascinating. He essentially does a ventriloquist act with his little dog, Wendy. Someone mentioned in the comments that Metral uses a false jaw for Wendy which he can operate. This makes complete sense to me, since I’ve seen ventriloquists use false jaws on audience volunteers. I’m sure the fact that Wendy is such a fluffy dog helps to hide any attachments.
Jules O’Dwyer and Matisse
Here’s another little heist story with an ending so touching I teared up a little bit. It also has its funny moments and some demonstrations of amazing dog agility.
The following three acts are from Crufts, an annual international canine event held in the UK.
Lucy Creek and Skiffle
Skiffle shows himself to be “Lord of the Dance” in this act set to Celtic music. He also “plays” some sort of wind instrument which is rather clever.
Mary Ray and Her Two Dancing Dogs
The announcer gives Mary Ray credit for introducing “heelwork to music” to the UK. Her act to “Singin’ in the Rain” is very imaginative. I love the spinning umbrellas and the foot crossing little dance steps.
Lusy Imbergerova and Deril
This faithful “army dog” helps his soldier with her morning exercises and even performs CPR. I love the storytelling in this act.
I enjoy a good crime comedy and have written a few in the Action Men series. Sometimes, dopey criminals like Harry and Marv from Home Alone can be very entertaining, and sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction. You don’t have to look too far to find real-life inspiration for stupid thieves. Here are some real cases from the U.S., UK and Australia.
Two Thieves Thought an Escape Room was a Real Bank
On November 29, 2018, in Manchester, England, two thieves broke into the Lucardo Escape Rooms. According to the director, Ian Powell, the thieves seemed to think they had broken into a real bank. They used drills to remove panels and look in every drawer for cash. The drawers had only puzzles inside.
Fifty different CCTV cameras caught the two on tape. One of them partially removed his Guy Fawkes mask on camera. They also left behind a half-drunk can of Coke from which police hoped to get DNA evidence.
Thieves Couldn’t Figure Out How to Get a Stolen Ferrari into Drive
Two stupid thieves broke into a home in Streetly, West Midlands, UK, on February 19, 2019. They entered the home by smashing through glass in the front door, then stole luxury watches, designer bags and jewelry. In one of the bags, they found a key to a £200,000 Ferrari 488, a supercar with an automatic gearbox. Security cameras caught that they managed to put the car into reverse and back out of the driveway but then couldn’t figure out how to get the vehicle into drive. They abandoned the Ferrari and left with stolen goods in the stolen Audi that took them there.
Stupid Thieves in Australia Tried to Siphon Gas but Got a Mouth Full of Sewage Instead
This happened in Laverton, West Australia in January of 2016. Thieves had tried to siphon gas from a bus’s gas tank but got the sewage tank by mistake. Police discovered the tank cap on the ground next to the bus, with no stolen gas. According to the Daily Mail, Laverton Police Sen. Sgt. Heath Soutar stated, “We can infer they beat a very hasty retreat, with a somewhat bitter taste in their mouth.”
Gross, right? After scoping out a crime opportunity (unsuccessfully,) I bet these thieves couldn’t get enough Scope mouthwash.
Atlanta Car Thieves Were Caught on Camera, and One Left His Wallet Behind
In December of 2017, security cameras captured five car thieves stealing cars from Atlanta United Motors in Buford, Georgia. The thieves came at 6:00 a.m, during daylight hours, breaking a window to enter. One of the thieves left a wallet behind, containing $30 and several IDs from different people. Hall County Police identified the thief who left his wallet behind, who actually was caught on tape a second time coming back for his license. The dealership owner used information from the wallet to track down some of the stolen cars himself and found the first car.
Car Thieves Thought it Was a Good Idea To Drag Race Stolen Cars at the El Paso Motorplex In Front of a Crowd with Camera Phones
In August of 2017, four thieves stole a total of five cars from two car dealerships in El Paso using fraudulent wire transfer paperwork. The stolen vehicles included a 2017 Acura NSX, 2012 Chevy Camaro, a 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, a 2014 Nissan Armada and a 2015 Ford F-150. Not only did the thieves drag race some of the stolen cars publicly at the El Paso Motorplex, a car dealership caught them by scamming them back. They tried to steal a sixth vehicle, a GMC Acadia. The dealership offered them free detail work on the Acadia, and the thieves brought it back for this job, only to have the stolen vehicle locked up.
Stupid Thieves Paint “You Been Robed” on a Boat They Ransack
Thieves who can’t spell ransacked a yacht, belonging to a Hertfordshire resident, while it was docked at Poole Harbour, in the Wych Channel near Brownsea Island. The thieves stole £2,000 of sailing gear and damaged both the hatch and the yacht’s ceiling where they spray painted the ungrammatical and misspelled graffiti, “You been robed.”
As of the July 2017 report in The Daily Echo, the thieves had not been caught, but let’s hope spelling was not their only dumb mistake.
Stupid Thieves Carjacked a Pizza Delivery Guy and Got Nothing But a Stolen Pizza
Three thieves in St. Louis carjacked a delivery guy from Imo’s Pizza at gunpoint. They came across delivery guy, Jon Miller, on Nebraska Avenue and demanded car keys and the food he was delivering. The thieves didn’t think to demand any money of the driver who had his pockets full of money he’d earned on his deliveries. They also couldn’t drive a stick shift. When asked, Miller told them how to start it and to put it in gear. The trio didn’t get very far. According to Riverfront Times, Miller said, “It ended up six blocks away, all blown up.”
Fiction can get a lot of inspiration from the factual when it comes to these dumb criminals.
You might start an exercise habit with a particular goal in mind, such as weight loss, but exercise can have a variety of other benefits for your overall health.
1. Exercise Can Boost Your Mood
Exercise releases feel-good chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin. Some studies show that exercise might be as effective a anti-depressants for mild to moderate depression. As you meet fitness goals, even small ones, it can help to increase your confidence. Some of the other benefits in this list can also in turn improve your mood.
2. Exercise Can Reduce Stress
Exercise can distract you from your worries. It can also help to loosen muscles that have become tense. Exercise that has a social aspect, group classes or exercising with a buddy, can have emotional benefits, plus exercising in the beauty of nature can also have a positive effect on stress.
A study by the University of Georgia showed that those with a sedentary lifestyle had boosted energy after starting an exercise regimen. Exercise improves blood flow and cardiovascular health, and that may be part of it. Exercise also stimulates the production of mitochondria in cells. Mitochondria produce ATP, a chemical the body uses as energy.
I’ve experienced it myself. When I’m regularly doing my dance fitness, I’ll feel like dancing everywhere I hear music, even the grocery store. I have to say that I’m usually discreet and haven’t created any big scenes like the grocery store scene in the animated film, Sing.
5. Exercise Can Boost Your Creativity
A study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience showed that those who exercise scored higher on a creativity test than sedentary people. The study showed that physical activity seems to positively affect convergent and divergent thinking, used in problem solving.
6. Exercise Helps Prevent Diseases and Health Conditions
Exercise can be helpful in the prevention of a lot of illnesses and conditions. It can help prevent the development of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure as well as colon and breast cancer. Exercise reduces blood sugar, raises healthy HDL cholesterol and lowers unhealthy LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, all of which can prevent disease or the progression of it. It also helps to keep muscles, bones and joints healthy and can lower blood pressure in those who already have high blood pressure.
7. Exercise Can Boost Your Immune System
Exercise flushes bacteria out of the lungs which may prevent colds and flu. It also may prevent the growth of bacteria. It also gives a boost to antibodies and white blood cells.
8. Exercise is Good for Muscles and Bones
Exercise strengthens muscle which then helps your bones to stay strong and prevents osteoporosis.
9. Exercise is Good for Your Skin
Exercise increases blood flow to the skin. According to one study, exercise not only keeps skin looking young, it can also help reverse aging in those who start exercise later in life.
Lately, YouTube has been recommending videos to me on unusually fit senior women involved in different sports or forms of exercise. I’ve noticed these women seem to have youthful skin as well.
Exercise helps the body deliver oxygen. It can improve lung capacity and endurance and can reduce breathlessness.
12. Exercise Can Increase Your Flexibility
Many different exercises can help your flexibility, and some like Pilates are specifically designed for that. Dancing is also very good for flexibility.
13. Exercise Can Improve Your Balance
I’ve personally tried a variety of exercises over the years, including ballet based workouts and kickboxing. Although one of these seems gentle and graceful and the other aggressive, both involve balancing on one leg. With practice, balance gets easier.
14. Exercise May Help You Be More Productive
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and can help you feel more alert. The exercise benefits to the brain and energy levels, listed elsewhere in this article, also contribute to greater productivity.
15. Exercise Can Help You Get Better Sleep
Exercise benefits your ability to sleep as well. According to the Sleep Foundation, exercise raises your body temperature and the drop in temperature after exercise may help for a better sleep. The mental benefits of exercise may also help you get better sleep.
16. Exercise Helps You Live Longer
If exercise has all of the benefits above, it makes sense that it could also lengthen your life.
This past week, I started something new in my rotation of workout videos, The Firm Express.
Over the years, my relationship to exercise has been an interesting one. At times, I have been extremely gung ho and dedicated to exercise, with a weight loss goal in mind, and, as dedicated I was, still allowed life to get in the way and to gradually get out of my habits. Now, I am attempting to get more in the mind frame of a lifestyle change rather than a yo-yo dieter.
I have been back in a good exercise pattern for a while now and decided to intensify it, at least twice or three times a week. Some of the workouts I have seem a little easy now and not as challenging as they could be, while others are still a bit challenging. I was already familiar with other workouts from The Firm and had a lot of success with them in the past.
13 DVDs, Four Cycles of Three Weekly Workouts
The Firm Express is a 13 DVD workout. There are four cycles, a new one for each week of the month, three different workouts per week. These are Cycle 1: Ignite, led by instructor Emily Welsh, Cycle 2: Accelerate, led by Rebekah Sturkie, Cycle 3: TurboCharge, led by Alison Davis McLain and Cycle 4:Overdrive, led by Kelsie Daniels. Click on the image below to see on Amazon.
For these workouts, you will also need a set of dumbbells. The instructors recommend 3, 5 and 8 pound dumbbells to start. The set below has exactly those weights with a nice rack for storage. Again, click the image to see on Amazon.
Each workout is only 21 minutes long but is pretty intense. You get a cardio workout alongside strengthening/sculpting exercise. This combination should be very effective in improving fitness and burning fat. You work every muscle and do a lot of full-body exercises that work arms, legs and core at the same time.
Whenever I view anything on Amazon, I like to look at both the highest and lowest reviews. For this DVD set, the biggest complaint among the one-star reviews was that these are not workouts for beginners.
I think these workouts are definitely challenging and may not be the best choice if you haven’t done any form of exercise in ages or if you have a lot of joint or other physical issues, but I don’t really agree with the one-star critics.
I have to say that, due to the challenge, I did not execute everything perfectly in the first cycle of workouts, but I am not discouraged. I actually pause the video if I need more of a breather, and I don’t think I or you need to feel badly about that. Even if it’s not perfect, you are still getting a better workout than if you had not tried at all. There are modifications to make things a little easier and lower impact, and Emily always pointed out one of the instructors who demonstrates the modified moves. Conversely, I’m sure the instructors probably use heavier weights themselves than what they recommend for beginners. These workouts can be done on many levels.
I really like that there are 12 different workouts and that each one is varied and not too similar. I seem to like endless variety in both exercise and eating. Once I have an exercise routine memorized and it begins to feel easy, it also becomes less interesting.
I won’t give you a breakdown of every exercise, but I’ll show you a few to give you an idea. Below is one exercise from the first workout, a dumbbell row with leg lift, so you are working on balance as well as strengthening all sorts of muscles at once.
Then there are lunges with arm rows.
Then, there were alternating pushups with arm rows. You can see the woman at the right is demonstrating a knee pushup, which is what I did.
Each video also has periods of eight second minibursts of intense exercise, which are followed by 12 seconds of rest, just toe tapping. I may have paused the video occasionally, but I did make it through all of the bursts. Often, there was a series of rounds for these bursts with each new one intensifying the exercise a bit. So, these squats below …
became squats with little hops and then squats with bigger jumps. The woman at the right never came off the ground. I did something in between, little hops and then little hops again. I didn’t attempt any big jumps this time through.
In the second video, there was a cool little move called a hitch kick, which I don’t feel I mastered but would like to improve. You pull one knee up, then kick with the opposite leg as you pull the knee down.
There were also some kickboxing moves in the second Cardio video, like this jab punch below and some kicks.
In the third video, there were kicks with an overhead press. You can see you use a lot of different muscles at once in these exercises.
In this one, there was a series where you alternated a plie, twist to lunge to the side and twist to the front again to do an upright row.
I definitely had sufficient challenge, and I am feeling good. I am feeling stronger, more energetic, more flexible and just really good. Some of that is not just a result from this one week of exercise but a cumulative effect from my recent efforts to intensify my workouts, including using some of my older workouts from the Firm. I’ve had some soreness but not unbearable soreness. I developed really bad, almost crippling soreness after trying out HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts twice before.
Some Amazon reviewers expressed their disappointment that the Firm seems to promise you will lose 30 pounds in 15 days with these workouts, since that seems to be almost an impossible feat. I’m sure that this promise works, supposedly, if you are following their diet plan as well. I am reducing calories but am not following any official diet plan from the Firm. I will be very, very surprised if I lose 15 pounds in 30 days. I do expect that, if I keep this up, I will lose weight and improve my condition in a variety of ways.
Homophones are words that have the same sound but different meanings as well as different spellings.
Sometimes, people confuse these spellings. You may have come across grammar Nazis of the Internet complaining of the misuse of they’re, their and there.
As I was thinking of the definitions of the three, I seemed to hear it to the tune of “Do Re Mi.”
“They’re, they are, a contraction,
Their, something belongs to them,
There, a place that is not here …”
Only, singing it and hearing it sung would not help much, would it? All the homophones sound the same. It would perhaps help if you could both hear it and visualize it simultaneously.
One blunder this “grammar Nazi” often comes across on the Internet is swapping of “it’s” and “its.” It’s is again a contraction of “it” and “is,” and “its” is the possessive of it.
It’s raining. It is raining. By the way, isn’t that a cool umbrella, book lovers?
“It’s raining” and “Its reign.” How is that for double homophones?
Its reign over the amphibious world was a kind of benevolent dictatorship. Now, if only he could find a girl to kiss.
Some homophones come in triplets.
Pair (of Boots)
To pare is to cut off the outer skin of something such as a fruit or vegetable.
Just like there is “pear” and “pare,” there is also “bear” and bare.” Actually, I think the pretty lady above is wearing a bathing suit, but that is as bare as I dare go on this site.
I remember my older brothers telling me this rhyme when I was little.
“Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
If Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,
And Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair,
Then Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he?”
In that case, Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bare bear, don’t you think?
Here are some other homophones that are a bit more tricky. Recently, I read two different online articles that, although otherwise well-written, had a misspelling of palate. In both cases, the writer meant to say, “palate,” as in a person’s taste or appreciation of flavors. In one case, the writer spelled it as “pallet” and, in the other case, as “palette.”
A pallet is a platform on which goods can be moved, stored, or stacked, especially with a forklift.
A palette is a slab on which an artist mixes colors.
Palate can refer to either the roof of the mouth or to a person’s taste or appreciation of flavors. A wine critic may use the term in both senses.
How can you remember the differences?
I personally find it very easy to visualize words in their correct spellings, but I understand that not all brains are wired in a similar way.
Pallet — Perhaps, you can imagine the two Ls as stacking pallets turned vertical.
Palette — This word has a French origin and spelling, so you could imagine the stereotypical French artist painting “au plein air” with a beret on his head.
Palate — Perhaps, you could imagine the two As as something edible, like two sunny-side-up eggs with strips of bacon to the right of them, forming the stems of the As.
Sometimes, silly mnemonic devices are effective.
“Stationary” and “stationery” are another pair of homophones I often see confused. Something “stationary” is not moving. “Stationery” is writing paper.
Stationary (as in Stationary Bikes)
Photo by Trust Tru Katsande on Unsplash
How do you remember the difference? How about this? While it’s true that “stationary” can be used in other contexts besides “stationary bike,” think of cyclist Lance Armstrong. The first two letters of his last name, AR, are the same two letters in the beginning of that syllable that has a different spelling than its homophone. Armstrong, Ary.
There’s a big difference between “guerilla” and “gorilla,” although both would be pretty intimidating if you came across one in the jungle.
If you have a background in French or Spanish, it might be easier for you to remember the difference in spelling. “Guerre” is French for war, and the Spanish word for war is “guerra.”
So, here we have a little “cuteness overload.” A fawn is a baby deer, but “fawn,” with this spelling, can also have three other meanings. It can refer to a light, brown color or, as a verb, can mean to court favor in a flattering manner or to show affection, (used eespecially of dogs.)
A faun is a mythological creature that is half-man and half-goat. The creature has the upper half of a man and the lower half of a goat. Usually, the head is drawn with some goat-like qualities as well. The Greek god, Pan, is a faun, and Mr. Tumnus, of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is a faun. Faun is synonymous with satyr. Satyr is from the Greek, and “faun” is Roman.
You don’t want to confuse heroin with a heroine. Heroines need to stay clear of the other kind of heroin.
The picture above is rather a pretty one to represent a harmful, addictive drug, but heroin is an opiate that comes from poppies.
A heroine is a female protagonist or hero of a story.
Remember the cymbals on a drum set and those icon symbols on your phone or computer have two different spellings, as do friar and fryer.
I suppose a friar may do some cooking, so it’s possible he may do some frying? We call someone in that position a fry cook, and the appliance they use is a fryer.
Have any of these homophone pairs or triplets confused you in the past? Can you think of some other interesting homophones? Share in the comments.
If you like the study of interesting words and expressions, check out The Wonder of Words category of the blog.