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Ken Hoffman on cute new dog breeds and a creepy Father's Day gift

Ken Hoffman on cute new dog breeds and a creepy Father's Day gift

Belgian Laekenois
Can you name this adorable doggo?  Photo courtesy of American Kennel Club

Like most hard-hitting, yet mild-mannered, columnists, I’m inundated by publicists pitching their clients’ products and services for special occasions and holidays, like birthdays, graduations, Christmas, weddings, Valentine’s Day, National Hot Fudge Sundae Day and, of course, Father’s Day — which is this Sunday.

Most of the suggestions for Father’s Day gifts are predictable: clothes, slippers, restaurant gift certificates, books, concert tickets, the dreaded tied, etc.

Then, there was this, from the publicist working for a company called The Postage in Houston...

The Postage “offers a place to store your funeral and after-death plans,” like document storage, password management, leaving messages for loved ones after you’ve passed, estate planning, even “plotting” your own funeral. The idea is be ready for when your time is up, so your family can focus on grieving your loss rather than on paperwork and logistics. It makes sense.


Cost is $9.99 a month, a bargain when end-of-life details can run tens of thousands of dollars if you go the private attorney and financial advisor route. While I understand the need to get your things in order for the inevitable, let’s just say that if I get this as a Father’s Day gift on Sunday, I’ll start sleeping with one eye open.

A little trivia
Today’s trivia: what do these four things have in common: Biewer, Dogo Argentino, Barbet, and Belgian Laekenois? (answer at bottom)

Um, what happened to the No Call List?
Remember when the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 472 in 2001 that outlawed unwanted telemarketer calls and established the Texas No Call List (texasnocall.com)? That was on top of the National No Call List (donotcall.gov). Penalties for each bothersome, unsolicited call to either your cell phone or home landline were supposed to range from $100 to $25,000.

That was really cute of the legislature. So how come in the past year I’ve “won” about a hundred free cruises and weekend stays at Marriott and Hilton Hotels? Pest telemarketer calls are worse than ever.

I know I’m not supposed to answer Caller ID numbers I don’t recognize, but I’m compulsive, I can’t resist. I always think it’s somebody offering me a better job or lost relative saying I’ve inherited a fortune.

If you register for a no call list and still get one, you’re advised to call the Consumer Protection Division of the Public Utilities Commission or office of our attorney general. I’d stick with the PUC. Our attorney general may be busy with, you know, personal matters.

Note to legislators, instead of spending your time dictating Texans what they can and can’t do with their bodies, and ignoring the decrepit electric grid, how about doing something about stopping telemarketer calls (for real this time) and legalize marijuana (60 percent support) and expand gambling (74 percent in favor). 

Ken's really out there
I will officially end my personal COVID lockdown and 2020-21 self-quarantine by attending comedian Sebastian Maniscalco’s show July 21 at Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land. He’s the absolute best. Then Jim Gaffigan on August 29, Ron White on Nov. 12 at Smart Financial, the Astros pennant drive at Minute Maid Park, and my annual pilgrimage to Nice, France. In the words of Frank Costanza, “I’m back, baby.”  

I’m a big tennis fan. Here’s how my perspective on Grand Slam tournaments has changed. I used to root for either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal to win. Now all I want is for Novak Djokovic to lose. Unfortunately I’m not getting my wish lately. Djokovic has won this year’s Australian and French Opens. He’s still an unlikeable ass.

Trivia answer
Those names are the four newest breeds of dog recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2021, and eligible to compete in the Westminster Dog Show. The Biewer is a long-haired toy terrier, Dogo Argentino is a strong, muscular pooch with a smooth coat, Barbet is a bearded dog with curly hair, and the Belgian Laekenois (pictured) is a shepherd with a shaggy dog story.

There are more than 200 breeds of dogs — not including my mutt Sally who was advertised as a Schnauzer who would weigh about 35 pounds, but turned out to be a Wheaten Terrier mix who now weighs 70 pounds. I'm sleeping half off the bed because of her. Plus she's got the Jimmy leg.

If it means anything, I guessed that Biewer, Dogo Argentino, Barbet, and Belgian Laekenois were types of wine.