In “Kingsman,” Part of Learning to Be a Spy Is Picking Your Puppy

As of today, superspy Jack Bauer has a new movie in theaters.

No, I’m not talking about Kiefer Sutherland, and the movie isn’t even remotely linked to 24. Today marks the release of Kingsman: The Secret Service, which stars Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine — and an adorable Pug puppy.

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A bunch of young spies are face with an important choice: “Pick your puppy.”

Where more traditional training in the Tuxedo and Martini subgenre of spy fiction focuses on things like use of firearms, mixing the perfect drink, and how to kill a man with a bow tie, one of the major rites of passage for the recruits in Kingsman is when they have to... pick a puppy.

You can see the process in the trailer below. The protagonist of the film, a working-class youth nicknamed Eggsy, chooses his Pug under the mistaken impression that it's a Bulldog and will grow up to be much larger. The exchange between him and a fellow recruit who quietly informs him that he's wrong -- about breed, about size -- is charmingly understated.

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Despite his initial disappointment, Eggsy tries to butch up his new dog with the name J.B.; not for James Bond, nor Jason Bourne, as Michael Caine originally thinks, but for Jack Bauer. Never having been a fan either of Kiefer Sutherland or 24, I'm hoping that the little fellow turns in a better performance (with less torture) than his namesake.

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J.B., a canine sidekick in Kingsman.

I've been watching a lot of spy movies and shows the last couple of years -- both of the Martini and the Stale Beer varieties -- and yet it's never occurred to me that what the spy genre really needs is more cute puppies. It just might be the thing that the modern spy needs, though. I can't quite see Philip and Elizabeth from The Americans acquiring a Chihuahua to help them subvert Reagan-era capitalism, but I could possibly see Nick Fury or Agent Coulson adding a pooch to the S.H.I.E.L.D. family -- perhaps enhanced with Kree or Inhuman genetics. George Smiley already kind of resembles a Bulldog in temperament, so a dog might be redundant in his case.

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HeyUGuys talks with the trainer on the set of Kingsman.

Check out the trailer below along with the interview with Kingsman's dog trainer by HeyUGuys. The movie looks like a lot of fun, even if it does make Roger Moore-era Bond movies look like exercises in grim realism.

What do you think? Should there be more puppies in the espionage genre? If so, what kind would you pick?

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Reflections on 4000 Miles

Divers have to decompress before resurfacing and the greater the depth of the dive the longer the decompression. I’ve pretty much been unplugged and down and out right disconnected since the completion of the West Coast Walk because I needed to.  
But I haven’t just been making angels in the tons of snow that’s blanketed CT – tho Hudsy and Nanners (nice snow stache BTW) have – I’ve been deep in reflection on the enormity my accomplishments but more importantly how to tell it.  The right way.  
The story’s the thing.  
Beginning March 16th, the 7th anniversary of the start of the first walk, I’ll be posting a seven part interview with Yer Big Dog wherein which I will talk not only about the great and the glory of this grand adventure but the trials and tribulations, too.  From the fantastic people we’ve met on our path to the fantastical things we’ve experienced.  
And we’re making it interactive.  I’ve gotten thousands of questions over the expanse of our journey and haven’t always been able to answer all of them so also we’re opening this up to you.  If you have something you’d like to personally ask YBD, send me an email by Feb 15th.  Not via FB or TW or in a comment here.  Hopefully we can get it and we’ll try our best because I have a lot to say.  Over 4,000 miles and 1,044 days, I’ve walked the walk now it’s time to talk the talk.  #4000miles


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No, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is NOT Becoming Extinct

Despite what the Internet memes are telling you, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is not about to join the Passenger Pigeon and the Stegosaurus as a species lost to history.

There was a burst of panic this week when Britain’s Kennel Club put out a press release declaring that it had put the breed on its “Vulnerable Breed List.” In fact, it wasn’t quite so genteel about it as all that: It declared that since only 274 Pembroke Welsh Corgis had been registered with the Club last year, the breed should be considered “at risk of disappearing from our parks and streets.” The next thing you know, there was a storm of hysteria, as though the Corgi needed to be carefully guarded worldwide.

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Pembroke Welsh Corgi by Shutterstock

It's true that among the Brits, Corgis aren't quite as cool as they used to be. Even the Queen, long known as the world's most famous Corgi fancier, recently announced that she would no longer be getting new dogs to replace her old ones as they die out. In her old age, Queen Elizabeth is afraid of tripping over the stubby-legged little things. So yes, in the streets and parks of England, the Corgi is a little less plentiful than once it was.

But here in America? That's a different story. Business Insider quotes Hillary Prim, the PR Director of the American Kennel Club, as confirming the Corgi's popularity in the U.S. “Its happy, agreeable nature and adaptability have perhaps played a role in the breed staying consistent at the 24th most popular spot in the US over the past decade (plus or minus a spot or two from time to time),” she told the site. There are, in fact, over 5,000 registered Corgis in the United States." If nothing else, there's still a steady population of anime geeks who fell in love with the "data dog" Ein on the series Cowboy Bebop.

So while the Queen may be getting rid of her Corgis, the breed as a whole will be going nowhere. Cancel the mass panic.

Via Business Insider and The Express

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Last night, after going to the vernissage of Roch Chinchila’s beautiful photography, my friend Sylvie and I went to one of our favourite restaurants in Menton, the Volcano, for a plate of pasta and a glass of wine. Great pizzas and pastas here, cooked by chef owner, Driss. And very reasonable.

This little love was my neighbour…. well how could I resist! Her name is Naya, she’s nearly 5 and was rescued by her owner – and plainly, they adore each other!

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Surviving Southern California

Most days I feel like I’m a strange man in a strange land especially since I’m a Texan wearing a skirt for the entire length of the west coast.
We’ve made the coastal turn to the SoCal Bight somewhere around Point Conception, it’s an inflection point – a concavity actually, that naturally delineates between central and Southern California.  
But it’s more than that.  It’s the point at which the cold coastal waters start to warm and the tides begin to downwell.  Too warm for the sweet succulent Dungeness crab.  
The mid afternoon fog banks that roll in almost on schedule to cool us down no more.  Where the sun hovers over the Pacific Ocean all day long and days like today which confuses the hell outta me since there’s gotta be shade at some point throughout the day.  I mean – ‘rise in the east set in the west’ thing I once learned.
The turn also marks the final descent to our seventh month west coast walk.  I write this from our tent, technically in Malibu but only a mile or so south of Neptune’s net where I had my thanksgiving meal – a disastrous tale for another time.
Heck I’m just thankful that we made it this far alive. I recently met a cyclist who travelled most of what we just did save 20 to Newport OR, 154 into SB & a few other crazy dangerous stretches & he said what the hell were you thinking?
Well, we just gotta get to LA was my answer.  Isn’t that the crux of the west coast?  The hub of the hubbub out here?  
We’re almost there – mere days away.  Keep hoping Ellen is there to greet us.  Or at least the kardashians aren’t cuz we’re too tired to turn back.

YBD’s Notes:  I put the last paragraph in there to, in my own way, thank everyone who’ve tried to get us on the Ellen Show.  As I have learned along the way ‘Les chiens ne font pas des chats’. 


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