Ever since Copper’s less than enthusiastic visit to the pool at Barley’s Canine Recreation Center, we decided to take my nephew’s dog, Ruffles, the Portly Beagle, and see how he would fare. Given Copper’s first swim lesson, we kept our expectations low. We thought he would take to the water the same way, but instead were pleasantly surprised. The Beagle loved it!
At first he was hesitant, but once he saw the other dogs playing in the water, he had to join in:
To see the difference between the two, here’s Copper’s swim again:
Big difference! Good thing Barley’s has other activities besides swimming. It’s a great place for dogs. They have a wide range of activities and services:
So want to see this!
I found a fantastic documentary on the rise and fall of the Greek Empire which happened in a matter of only two centuries. Amazingly, within those two centuries, they laid the foundation of our modern civilization. At 48:17 in the video, it describes how aristocrat, Cleisthenes established a democratic government. At 1:28;57, it talks about the ostraca, which were shards of pottery upon which Athenians scratched the name of a politician they wanted removed from the government. The politician with the most ostraca was tossed out of Athens altogether. It is where we get the word “ostracize”. Good practice, that! If only we had a measure for doing this with our Congress!
Here’s the full video narrated by Liam Neeson:
Today, I took Copper for his first swim lesson at Barley’s Canine Recreation Center, a fun center for dogs that just opened in Salt Lake City.
So, did he like it? Well …
Needless to say, it wasn’t his thing. The other dogs who loved the pool were looking at him like: “What the hell’s wrong with you? Don’t you know how to swim?”
Here’s a full video:
When he got out of the pool, he looked up at me as if to say: “Why did you do that to me?”
Poor guy! I thought he’d like it. Oh well. I guess we’ll be coming back for the other services they have for pups. Barley’s isn’t just for swimming. They have a wide range of activities and services for dogs:
They also have an entire wall-full of dog toys, oh boy!
So even though Copper was less than thrilled about the pool, he loved all the other stuff, especially the Barley balls!
I was amazed when I saw this! It’s a village called Giethoorn in Holland. There are no roads, no traffic lights, no cars and no nasty car smog in the air. Why? Because people either travel by waterway like they do in Venice or they ride bikes. Fairy tale village? Yes! I want to go there!
It’s also on the front page of Kobo’s First Free in Series!
I’m enjoying it while it lasts.
I absolutely love Neil deGrasse Tyson for what he says here. He is so right! If only we all had the luxury of doing what we love for a living, we’d all be considered brilliant visionaries. So true!
If everyone had the luxury to pursue a life of exactly what they love, we would all be ranked as visionary and brilliant. … If you got to spend every day of your life doing what you love, you can’t help but be the best in the world at that. And you get to smile every day for doing so. And you’ll be working at it almost to the exclusion of personal hygiene, and your friends are knocking on your door, saying, “Don’t you need a vacation?!,” and you don’t even know what the word “vacation” means because what you’re doing is what you want to do and a vacation from that is anything but a vacation — that’s the state of mind of somebody who’s doing what others might call visionary and brilliant.
~ Neil deGrasse Tyson
For a little history of love’s most favorite day:
For anyone who hasn’t seen this episode of Sherlock, do not continue reading as there are major spoilers following the trailer.
If you liked this episode, please don’t read the following post. In the next few pages, I am going to shred it and if you loved the episode, my words will only upset you. However, if you do decide to read, keep in mind that everything being expressed is purely my opinion and for the most part, not shared by the majority of the Sherlock fans in existence.
In my last post on the Sign of Three, I started off by saying:
Unlike many series that have a tendency to drop off as time goes by, this show seems to be getting better with each new episode.
Unfortunately, I spoke too soon, but before I get into my complaints about this episode, I should probably start by sharing the parts of it that I did like. The funny, highly entertaining scenes and the great one-liners. Such as…
When John finds Sherlock in a drug den:
When Molly processes the drug test on Sherlock and finds that he tests positive:
I LOVE this part! I love Molly’s character development. I have been wanting Molly to do this for a long, long time. Ever since the very first episode of the first season when Sherlock treats her like the dirt beneath his shoes. He deserved it as much then as he does now.
The next scene I relished in this episode is when Sherlock finally loses it with Mycroft. I love the relationship between Sherlock and Mycroft, but it always rankled that Mycroft could be such a bully, coming around whenever he wanted or sending in his cronies to push Sherlock and Watson into doing his bidding. This time, it didn’t work.
When Sherlock and John break into Magnussen’s office:
When Sherlock accuses Mrs. Hudson of running a drug cartel:
When they go to Mama and Papa Holmes’ house for Christmas:
When Sherlock and John leave the Holmes’ house to find Magnussen:
And finally, at the end, when Sherlock falls into Magnussen’s trap and decides to take action, a move that is incredibly out of character for him, but at the same time will save the people he loves. This decision on his part is really less of a Sherlock move than it is a Kahn Noonien Singh move, but I still liked it because it was badass:
Now, everyone keeps talking about the humanizing of Sherlock. I don’t buy it. He has always been human. And even though he loves to claim that he’s a high-functioning sociopath, he isn’t. He is, and as we’ve learned, has always been surrounded by people who love him and whom he loves in return and loves deeply, enough to put his own life on the line again and again. And this is what we are seeing here at the end — Sherlock driven to extremes to save his family. As he says to the murderer in episode one of the very first season: “Bitterness is a paralytic. Love is a much more vicious motivator.”
Now, on to the more disappointing aspects of His Last Vow. I have to say that just by having watched the preview, I knew I wasn’t going to like this episode of Sherlock. Quite frankly, it paled in comparison to the previous ones and reminded me more of something that would come out of Hollywood, than out of Britain’s very refined and elegant cinematic culture. His Last Vow was less about mystery and crime solving and more about ostentatious flamboyancy and sensationalism, created to draw in as many viewers as possible.
The intelligent sophistication of the very first few episodes that we all came to love was completely gone in this one — the crime, the mystery behind it, the two detectives looking for clues and finally putting the puzzle pieces together. There was absolutely none of this. There was no puzzle to be solved and it left me wondering: where was the genius of Mark and Steven in this episode? What happened to it? It was almost as if the two of them got together and said: “I know. Let’s take all of our characters, except for John, and put them in the most shocking and out-of-character scenarios we can think of to attract attention!”
In my opinion, this episode was the product of a mediocre script that was redeemed only by the brilliant and convincing performances of the actors, all of whom should be given the awards they so richly deserve for carrying the season to completion.
And this isn’t even mentioning the many plot holes that made watching this episode like eating large and unpleasant portion of swiss cheese. For example, where were Magnussen’s bodyguards when Sherlock and John came to his house at the end? Why weren’t the two of them searched for weapons? Why didn’t Sherlock see into Mary during The Empty Hearse when she clearly showed signs of being who she was? Furthermore, why would Mary want to keep Sherlock around anyway when he was the most likely of people to discover her secret? And why didn’t Mary just knock Magnussen out and trust Sherlock would help her when he said he would? Shooting him was probably the worst thing she could have done in the circumstance. So unfortunately, there were just too many of these problems that didn’t add up and sadly made the whole episode feel too contrived.
But the biggest disappointment of the whole episode was Mary. I thought it was strange in the Empty Hearse that Mary knew immediately someone was sending her a skip code, but I dismissed this as something that maybe John had taught her or maybe something she just knew about from some previous experience, not at all expecting what that previous experience would be. So, when the mysterious female shooter turned around in the season finale and we all found out who she was, at that point, my willing suspension of disbelief could not handle it. It could not kick in and I was left feeling empty inside, like it was a cheap shot at shocking the audience just to create echoing gasps around the room. The only words that kept running through my mind through the entire scene was: “No, no, no, no, no, no!”
The writers basically took Mary, the best character of the entire show and just ruined her and they did it purely for the shock effect. This is not Doyle’s Mary and in my opinion, the writers compromised a great character for a WTF plot twist that was entirely unbelievable, extremely disappointing, and ultimately a poor choice for the show’s turn of events. Even the very emotional scene at the Holmes’ house where John forgives Mary, played out so well by the actors, might have had more of an impact on me if I could actually believe that Mary was an assassin with a dark and murderous past, but I couldn’t. The whole concept was just too outrageous.
As for Sherlock, although his relapse into drugs was not out of character and actually came from Doyle’s original story, as was his fake engagement to a woman to get close to the villain, I still found Sherlock’s fake relationship with Janine disgusting. And it seemed to be so disgusting, it even grossed out his best friend. At least his flirtation with Irene was smart and sexy, but his relationship with Janine was about as impressive as his relapse into drugs, even if they were both intentionally done for a case — a case involving a villain with whom Sherlock is so obsessed, he becomes perilously blindsided: Charles Augustus Magnussen.
I’d read so many rave reviews about this villain that when I actually saw the whole episode play out, I was left speechless, wondering how so many people could have gotten this so wrong. I thought: this is the villain that people are raving about? A creepy snake of a man who licks and flicks people and pees in fireplaces? A villain who takes Sherlock’s concept of a mind palace to an utterly ridiculous level and has absolutely no documentation or other evidence to back up his “knowledge”? And we’re really supposed to believe that he is the “Napoleon of blackmail”? Are you kidding me? Is this really the best villain they’ve got?
And Moriarity! Why o’ why are they resurrecting Moriarity? Can’t we just let him go? Do we really have to keep bringing people back from the dead? Can’t the writers come up with a real villain this time? You know, a scary one like Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lector, or Heath Ledger’s joker, or even a villain like Jared Harris’ Moriarity would suffice. So far this show is woefully lacking in good villains and I’m wondering if maybe this is just a weakness of the writers. That they have trouble inventing someone who is so incredibly diabolical and frightening, it would actually equal the characters they’ve created who are “on the side of the angels”. Maybe they should give Stephen King a call and take a few lessons. But no, instead of doing that, they feel like they have to bring Moriarity back. I mean, if we’re going to bring back previous villains, let’s bring back Irene Adler, okay? Not Moriarity.
Don’t get me wrong. Overall, I love this show. It is really one of the only TV shows that I’ll watch. I think Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are brilliant and so is everyone who puts their amazing talents into making it successful. But this episode left a lot to be desired and at this point, the only thing that will bring me back to the fourth and fifth seasons of Sherlock is the unique friendship created between John and Sherlock by two of the finest actors that Britain has to offer.
Thank you Martin and Benedict! Keep up the good work!