Friday, May 16, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 67
May 16, 2008

Hello everyone. It’s me Wimsey coming to you on this rain soaked Friday from high atop Manhattan’s Upper West Side (well OK, 5 floors atop Manhattan’s Upper West Side). But fortunately the week wasn’t all rainy and although no celebrity politicians stopped to admire me this week, plenty of other, more humble folk did. “Magnificent” was the word of the week around here, and a well deserved adjective it is too. Sad to say no one ever comments on my human Maria or her friend Elizabeth who are always to be found dragged along at the other end of my leash. What can I say—it was my destiny to be magnificent, beautiful and admired and theirs to bask in my reflected glory. But beauty is only skin deep and underneath all these folds and wrinkles beats the heart of a true and magnificent Hound. I always get what I want, pay very little attention (a polite way of saying no attention) to the needs and wishes of my humans and patiently allow myself to be the repository of the unlimited quantities of worship and affection that humans routinely shower upon me. The other day someone asked Elizabeth where they could obtain such a one as me (Hounds R Us?) and before the words were barely out of their mouths she loudly declaimed “They stink, they bay, they don’t listen to a word you say, they drool and fling it everywhere and, oh yes, they like to rip up your possessions, even as adults. Also, they are huge. Perhaps you should start with a smaller Hound.” Of course then they looked at her and wondered why she had one. Perhaps they thought that Hounds have some hidden and secret talent, like turning kibble to gold? Well, I turn kibble into something much more precious than gold, at least as evidenced by the care and consideration that I give to its deposit. And speaking of which, my poop obsessed humans, in admiration of the Moh’s scale of hardness have come up with the Wimsey Scale of Hardness:

# 10: Hard enough to build a house with

# 9: Delightfully firm to the touch

# 8: A little give but still elegantly and precisely formed

#7: A slightly looser shape imparting an artistic quality

# 6: A more free form of expression

# 5: A mound of soft serve ice cream

# 4: A mound of soft serve ice cream that is starting to melt

# 3: Consistency of a bowl of fragrant oatmeal

# 2: Oatmeal with some milk

#1: Just the milk

This makes Elizabeth’s bulletins from the field much more precise when she alerts Maria to a major pooping event, although the numbers are a poor substitute for her usual eloquence (“Wimsey just pooped and it was a medium sized and mostly formed poop-- rather like a fine Cuban cigar that has been rolled a tad too loosely).

But getting back to the non-Hound savvy public, I do kind of like the idea of a starter Hound. At least if a beagle or a basset gives you trouble you can lift them up and trundle them off—but make no mistake-- underneath all their little adorableness they are still true Hounds. We all share a fine list of houndly attributes (although probably not the drool, which is found only amongst we more impressive specimens) so if you find you like living with a small insubordinate Hound you may be ready to graduate to The Maximum Hound. Or Houndus Maximus as I like to think of myself. I think I would have done rather well in ancient Rome:

All Hail! Houndus Maximums is entering the Forum!

Roman #1: Wow! Look at all those slaves he’s got.

Roman #2: I know. And they’re all volunteers too. Why Septimus over there gave up his wife and job to follow Houndus Maximums around. He says Houndus is better tempered and money is overrated compared to the psychic satisfaction of serving Houndus.

Roman #1: He must treat them all very well, though. Look how they are picking up his poop and washing the marble columns where he has peed!

Roman #2: Apparently he pretty much ignores them, except when he wants something. But he does permit them unlimited time to worship him and to stroke his person, which they all seem to enjoy. And of course they get to wear a special waterproof toga that is the badge of his service.

Roman #1: And look, even strangers are approaching to pay him tribute! Why he could build an entire temple out of those mounds of water bottles and rawhides.

Roman #2: And people are offering a profusion of freeze dried animal bits to tempt his finicky palate. He is quite discerning you know and has been known to turn up his giant, lustrous wet nose at some surprisingly juicy comestibles.

Roman #1: Yes, it is well known that he wishes those around him to partake before his interest is aroused and then he likes to clean everyone’s plate, preferably without their consent. A very wise strategy when there are so many poisonous and unpleasant substances about like Heartguard and Glycoflex.

Roman #2 And see his slaves come from all over the Empire. His appeal knows no geographical boundaries. He has truly created a Pax Houndus.

Roman #1: I myself feel that I should approach and give him a scratch behind the ears. Or perhaps he would enjoy shredding my toga.

Roman #2: Ah, another slave is assimilated into the Wimsey Empire.

And speaking of empires, as you know mine consists of the 800 or so acres of Central Park, which I like to tour part of each day. But we New Yorkers are a funny lot and we tend to stay in our neighborhoods, even while in the park. Although I am somewhat of a renegade because I roam freely from the west side to the exotic east side (where dogs sport designer coats!). But I have to say that I don’t spend as much time as I should in the northern part of the park. Well on Sunday, the weather being fine, Elizabeth and I mounted an expedition to Central Park’s northernmost reaches and it was fantastic! Although I can’t divulge everything that happened (“What happens above 96th street stays above 96th street) I can say that we traveled along the North Meadow to The Pool and The Loch and we climbed The Great Hill (a very appropriate activity for the Great Hound) and cut through The North Woods to circumnavigate the Harlem Meer. I was like those explorers of yore marking my territory as I went along with my own special flag. And then we toured the Conservatory Garden where I had never been before because my humans were under the misguided impression that Hounds were not welcome. Of course, the gardens are quite beautiful and would have been made more so if I had been allowed to pee on the plants but I was strictly prohibited from this constructive activity. It’s a wonder they can grow all those flowers without my help. But The Garden is quite wonderful and I like to think that it was made more so (as you can see in the photos) by the presence of a magnificent Hound. The Garden was first opened to the public in 1934 and is a popular place for weddings. And, as it happens, weddings are much on my mind these days as Maria is attending an out of town celebration in June enabling me to spend the weekend enthroned in glorious houndly splendor on Elizabeth’s futon. Spring being the most popular season for weddings, I think there would be very high demand for wedding planners:

Wimsey Wedding Planner

Welcome to Wimsey’s Wedding Palace.

Bride: Thank you. I am getting married.

Wimsey: Excellent. Marriage is an honorable estate. Or so they tell me as my humans have somehow managed to avoid the experience entirely. They say there is not much call for smelly, disheveled and bruised brides wearing baggy and drool stained clothing but I think they just don’t have the presence and fashion sense necessary to carry off such a fashion forward look. Where is Tim Gunn when you need him! But I digress. Now invitations are very important. I recommend this excellent shred-able velum on which you can engrave the date and time of your nuptials and all the presents you expect to receive.

Bride: And how about flowers.

Wimsey: Ah yes, flowers. I personally prefer long stemmed varieties as these have so much more surface area upon which to pee. And always look for flowers with lots of excellent edible petals. Flowering shrubs in tubs are also quite nice as one can water the tub as well as the shrub.

Bride: And the dress.

Wimsey: We here at the wedding palace recommend either bright white to show off the mud or a darker tone, say peach, to better highlight the drool. Also we like lots of expensive lace and a nice long train with which we can play tug of war. Our view is that if you are going to spend an obscene amount of money on a garment that you are only going to wear once, it might as well provide maximum entertainment value.

Bride: But what about the wedding cake?

Wimsey: Here we show our flair for blending the traditional with the innovative. The cake is a traditional white cake with butter cream frosting but it is in the shape of a colossal Hound in full bay. As the cake is wheeled out a chorus of hounds interpret the wedding march.

Bride: And what do you recommend for food.

Wimsey: Ah, here we at the wedding palace excel. First your guests will nibble from a delightful string cheese sculpture of a bride and groom and their enormous Hound, studded with a fine array of cow hooves. Then your guests will have a choice of a foie gras appetizer or Leberklosse soup to be followed by a choice of sautéed liver with drool sauce, deep fried squirrel or our delicious, proprietary organ meat stew consisting of succulent, chewy chunks of heart, brains, liver and kidney from a variety of important animals. Desert is a choice of bull penis au chocolate or a dramatic flambé of pig ears.

Bride: It all sounds so delicious.

Wimsey: Yes it is. We cook to the highest standards—all our food is consistently sampled throughout the cooking process. And of course all your entrances and exits will be marked by exuberant baying or pathetic squeaking, respectively.
Bride: It sounds lovely. How much will my wedding cost?
Wimsey: A mere $100,000 should cover it. But it is your special day whose memory you will treasure until you get divorced. Then you become eligible for Wimsey’s 10% off second wedding extravaganza that will make you forget all about the jerk you married the first time.

I think planning weddings could be a lot of fun! Well, it is time once again for our visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art. Now I have waxed poetic these past few weeks about the joys of Spring here in the Big Apple, but I am not the only artistic soul who has been captivated by the beauties of the season. One of the most famous and beautiful paintings on the subject was done by that Renaissance master, Sandro Botticelli: Primavera (Sandro Botticelli, 1482, Uffizi gallery, Florence). The painting, owned and prominently displayed by the great Florentine Lorenzo the Magnificent's (catchy name) second cousin (also called Lorenzo) has many interpretations and there are many thoughts as to its inspiration, including political (the figures represent the great city states of the time), poetic (based on poem by the classical write Lucretius ((wasn’t he a Borg?)), or historical (based on descriptions of lost works of art). Whatever its origins, Botticelli makes use of use of slender, almost statue like idealized figures to convey a sense of timeless beauty. The central figure is Venus, the goddess of love and all things beautiful. Above her hovers Cupid, about to nail one of the Three Graces with an arrow. Beyond them is the figure of Mercury standing guard over the enchanted garden. On the other side of the picture we see Zephyr the god of the winds about to ravage the nymph Chloris—and who, in a fit of remorse he afterwards turns into the serene Flora we see just to the side strewing flower petals (Classical Gods were very big on ravaging nymphs and other assorted females, which was very surprising since they always seem to feel so guilty afterwards, an emotion of course with which we Hounds are wholly unfamiliar). Anyway, all this is pretty fantastic except that the Three Graces do not somehow seem as joyful as they could be. But see what happens when we add Three Dancing Graceful Hounds! How much more joy and energy is imparted to Botticelli’s masterpiece! Even the great have room for improvement (except Great Hounds, of course—we are perfect). Wimseyvera

Anyway, we have come to the end of our visit. I hope you are all enjoying the Benadryl inducing delights of Spring!

Until next time,

Wimsey, The Magnificent.


Sherry said...

you truly are!!!!

great photos and a terrific post.

Biggie-Z said...

Wimsey, my humans show inordinate interest in my poop too. I am usually no lower than an 8 on your scale, though, especially since I switched back to raw. I have a grandma coming to visit for the first time - she says she's going to cook, so I will try getting er to make a bunch of your recipes. I still believe I am entitled to a liver birthday cake!

Cheers, Biggie

Edie & Gus said...

Greetings from Alaska, Wimsey the Magnificent!
Glad to hear all is going well. Our frozen north is finally starting to green up, the mosquitoes are buzzing, and I've been digging in the mud...much to Edie's delight! Edie and the girls are flying to New York City Friday night with a group of students from Kodiak Island, Alaska. They will be watching for you if they visit Central Park. :-) Edie is excited to visit your stomping grounds to see how a city hound lives.
Gus, your Northern Friend