August 29, 2008
Hello everyone. It’s me Wimsey wishing you all a happy Labor Day weekend! And as I look out at the broad acres of my demesne on Manhattan’s upper west side I see that the natives have all fled to less laborious locales. Manhattan gets seriously empty on this holiday except of course for those like my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who must tend to the needs of a large and demanding Hound.
And now that the Great Elbow Crisis has joined the Great Anal Gland Crisis in the dust bin of history, I need to find new ways to be fussed over and fretted about.—although that is getting increasingly easier. The other day as I was engaging in some necessary hygienic maneuvers it was all “Wimsey get your nose out of your tush! We paid for that tush and we won’t have you messing about with it!” Now the mere fact that my humans’ Christmas money ended up in my tush so to speak (the ladies were contemplating whether they should put tinsel on it or gift wrap it) does not, I believe, give them supervisory privileges over my golden tush. I reserve absolutely the right to groom it at will and especially to plunk it (and the 125lbs to which it is attached) painfully onto their laps. And I bitterly resent Maria and Elizabeth referring to it as the tush that ate the Christmas bonuses. Anyway, it is much more like a monetary black hole-- and speaking of which, actual black holes are a subject that I have been contemplating deeply lately.
Now as many of you know, I am a devoted physicist, freely utilizing the laws and equations of Sir Isaac Newton to inflict the maximum amount of damage upon the fragile bodies of my humans. But lately I have gotten much more interested in modern cosmological topics (these are not related to drinks involving cranberry juice and vodka, whatever my humans believe to the contrary) such as the concept of dark matter and dark energy. Now it turns out that most of the universe is made up of this stuff called dark matter which just happens to be conveniently invisible.
Wimsey’s Physics Research Station
Dr. Wimsey: Today we are going to explore the question of dark matter and dark energy.
Hound Assistant: But no one knows anything about them. How will we find any dark matter?
Dr. Wimsey: I am a bloodhound, I can find anything. Let us use our brilliant minds (no snickering here please) to deduce the answer to this puzzle. First what do we know about dark matter?
Hound Assistant: Well, obviously it is not just dark, it is invisible.
Dr. Wimsey: Good. What else?
Hound Assistant: Well, we know it exists because of the gravitational energy it exerts on planets and galaxies and such.
Dr. Wimsey: And by gravitational energy you mean…
Hound Assistant: It pulls.
Dr. Wimsey: Aha! Now we are getting somewhere. What else is important about dark matter?
Hound Assistant: Well, the universe could not exist without it. It holds everything together.
Dr. Wimsey: So we are dealing with something that is dark, that pulls and with which the universe as we know it could not exist. Sound like anything familiar?
Hound Assistant: It’s a Hound! A massive, invisible omnipresent, cosmological Hound!
Dr. Wimsey: Excellent! I will notify Stephen Hawking immediately! And now we can move on to more crucial questions like calculating the optimum trajectory at which to pee.
But getting back to my tush—it reminds me that whatever the failings of my humans (like not wanting to live in Central Park or the constant brandishing of The Halti) they provide excellent nursing care. And I am soon to have the opportunity of reciprocating as Maria is having a dental procedure over the weekend.
Nurse Wimsey: I need to take your temperature.
Patient: You just stuck your tongue in my ear!
Nurse Wimsey: I thought you would prefer it to the alternative methods. You have a fever, but I will bring it down by covering you with soothing drool and by pushing my icy cold nose into your pulse points.
Patient: I think I’d rather have the fever.
Nurse Wimsey: Don’t be difficult. It’s time for your bath.
Patient: How are you going to do that?
Nurse Wimsey: The same way I groom myself. It’s very thorough.
Patient: That’s disgusting.
Nurse Wimsey: Then I’ll do it when you’re asleep. And now I’m going to turn you over so you don’t get bed sores.
Patient: But you’ve shoved me off of the bed!
Nurse Wimsey: You can’t get bed sores if you’re not in the bed. I’ll just rearrange the bedding for you while I am up here. And a few holes will add much needed ventilation to the sheets.
Patient: Get off my chest! I can’t breathe.
Nurse Wimsey: I’m listening to your heart. You seem quite agitated.
Patient: Isn’t it time for my dinner?
Nurse Wimsey: Yes. You have clear broth to start and Jell-O for dessert.
Patient: What happened to the main course?
Nurse Wimsey: It seems to have mysteriously disappeared but I am quite sure it was delicious. Now it’s time for your physical therapy. I want you to gently move your hands up and down my belly for several hours. This will keep your circulation going.
Patient: I think I suddenly seem to be feeling better.
Nurse Wimsey: I thought you might. But before I can discharge you, you have to maintain your balance while I drag you down the stairs.
I am sure Maria will appreciate all my attention this weekend, as in fact she does every weekend. And of course over the next four days I anticipate spending a good deal of my time in the park. But Central Park is a dangerous place these days—it is filled with murderous puppies with mayhem on their minds. Why just last week I was engaged at close range in combat by a powerful wire haired pointing griffon puppy. He was a most determined adversary as you can see by the puppy warfare montage below.
OK, it is now time for our weekly visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art and this week we travel back to Venice in 1570s: Venus and Mars United by Love (Paolo Veronese, circa 1576, Metropolitan Museum, New York). Here we have one of the most famous paintings by the Mannerist painter Paolo Veronese. Mannerism is a style of painting that developed as a bridge between the high Renaissance in the 1500s and the baroque in the 1600s. Unlike renaissance painters, mannerists were given to less naturalistic and more dramatic forms and a theatrical use of color. In this painting Veronese seems to be highlighting the civilizing influence that love (in the form of Venus the goddess of love) can have on war (in the form of Mars the god of war). The little fellow with wings is Cupid and he is attempting to unite these powerfully opposing forces with a slender ribbon. Frankly, I don’t think he has much chance of success. It would be far better to choose a more potent unifying force, such as a magnificent Hound! Look at how irresistible and adorable the Hound is! Surely everyone—even those devoted to the disparate arts of love and war –can agree on his splendor. For Mars there is his imposing physique and indomitable will; for Venus there are his velvety wrinkles and affectionate nature. Could there be a more perfect embodiment of the unity of these opposites? I don’t think so. Venus and Mars United by Wimsey.
Well, I am off to prepare for my houndly nursing duties. Maria might not be able to consume solid food so I intend to do so for her. I might also add a few bacterial cultures to her yoghurt and help her mash her banana. And I am going to play with my tush when she isn’t looking.
Until next time,
Wimsey, the Florence Nightingale of Hounds
Friday, August 29, 2008
Posted by Wimsey at 5:15 PM