Friday, September 19, 2008

Wimsey's Blog:Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 85
September 19, 2008

Hello Everyone. It’s me Wimsey coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where we are having a splendid week of brilliant autumn weather. And before I forget, I want to thank those of you who have given me awards—my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth hate it when I get any type of recognition and it’s all “Wimsey already behaves as if he owns the world (don’t I?)—all these awards will only make him worse.” And “But can anything really make Wimsey worse?” But I appreciate getting the awards, which is all that matters, so thanks!

So what with the weather and the awards this would have been a perfect week were it not for the perfidy of Elizabeth who is apparently taking a Hound–free holiday to entertain a visiting friend from England. Now I am all in favor of visiting friends from England as long as they are visiting me--think of how much Grom gelato they could buy me with their strong currency. And of course as a weighty Hound, I like any country that calls its currency “the pound.” I am to receive a visit from this friend later today and I intend to show her just how strong a pound really can be. (Perhaps other countries could call their currencies the bay, the stench, the drool, or the sticky spiky hairs that you will never really be able to get out of the couch).

But instead of attending to me, Elizabeth has been shopping for gourmet treats such as cheeses, pates, olives and smoked salmons to accompany the consumption of wine and cocktails—gin and tonics apparently being a dietary staple—along with tea—of the English. And of course Elizabeth has been lavish with her purchases secure in the knowledge that with me around none of it need go to waste (I am especially fond of goose liver pate, although my attempts to secure the actual raw material have not been met with approbation. ((“Don’t let Wimsey play with the geese!”—humans being attached to the delusion that I, a magnificent hunting Hound, want to “play” with the delectable animals and birds with which New York’s parks abound. I guess this sounds better than “Don’t let Wimsey run down, shred and consume that poor defenseless animal”)). Anyway there has been much brewing of tea chez Elizabeth, as it is not a myth that the English believe that a nice cup of tea is the antidote to all the world’s ills (following this up with a large gin never hurts either). I believe people in England who have Hounds drink an extraordinary amount of tea.

But never fear—even when I am not actually present in body, my houndly presence is still difficult to evade. Yesterday Elizabeth and her friend decided to take a break from shopping, tea drinking and gin swilling to do something that all visitors to New York are supposed to do— visit the Statue of Liberty. It was all:

“The Statue of Liberty was given to the United States by the French. Wimsey loves the French you know—it’s where his ancestors are from.”

“What a lovely park surrounding the statue! I am sure Wimsey would love it here.”

“I can’t believe that Wimsey is not permitted to visit the Statue of Liberty, especially as it’s such a lovely day. Perhaps we should get up a petition.”

“The Statue is holding a book that is inscribed July 4, 1776—did you know that one of Wimsey’s ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence?”

“Lady Liberty is trodding on shackles—Wimsey disapproves of tethering too.”

“Any statue honoring liberty is really a statue honoring Hounds—an extreme devotion to personal liberty being one of the great hallmarks of the Hound.

“Don’t you think the statue would look better like this?”

Anyway, since I have only one human this week Maria has been forced to bear the brunt of my attentions (“When exactly is this friend leaving—isn’t all this sunshine bad for her health?”). As a consequence of Maria’s attempts to single handedly distract and entertain me I have acquired a new giant green octopus. Now although this giant green octopus is very pleasing it is not really compensation for the lack of my full entourage, a fact that I will make painfully clear to Elizabeth when I next see her.

And now as I announced last week, in honor of our presidential election season the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art is pleased to present Great Moments in American History. Last week we saw how my ancestor Nathaniel Wimsey signed the Declaration of Independence and helped shorten the Revolutionary War. But Nathaniel was not the only colonial Wimsey and today we turn our attention to military matters and the contribution of my martially gifted ancestor, Nimrod Wimsey, who was one of Washington’s chief strategists.

The military turning point of the American Revolution was the Battle of Saratoga (really this was two battles—the Battle of Freeman’s Farm and the Battle of Bemis Heights but as both are near Saratoga they are known collectively as the Battle of Saratoga). Anyway the British had what they thought was quite a clever plan—a chap named General Burgoyne would invade New York from Canada from the north while another cove called General Howe would move up from southern New York to meet him in Albany (nothing good ever happens in Albany) and sever New England from the rest of the colonies. But General Howe decided inexplicably to move south against strategically unimportant Philadelphia—no one at the time new why, but the papers of Nimrod Wimsey reveal that he advised Washington to send his regiment, known as the Hounds of Hell, to harass Howe’s army. Apparently the Hounds stole everyone’s pants and headed south for Philly with Howe and his army in hot pursuit. Without the benefits of text messaging or even cell phones, poor General Burgoyne remained alone heading south to a rendezvous for which he had been stood up. And things got even worse when a group of Nimrod’s hounds stole and ate most of Burgoyne’s supplies. This forced him to send men to gather more supplies, during which time they were attacked and Burgoyne lost 15% of his army. Meanwhile the exquisitely sensitive noses of Nimrod’s hounds were able to pin point the exact British location and Nimrod advised Washington to send a force northward. The end result was that Burgoyne was defeated by General Gates. Additionally, the French decided that any side that had access to Nimrod’s strategic mind and ferocious ability to get his own way was likely to win and consequently the French entered the war on the side of the Americans (it did not hurt that Nimrod was known to be fond of stealing French food and was heard to bay loudly on the subject of his French ancestry). Surrender of General Burgoyne (John Trumbull, 1817, Capitol Rotunda, Washington DC). As we can see, General Gates is gesturing towards Nimrod in order to acknowledge his key contribution to the victory. Nimrod himself, magnanimous in victory, was heard to offer Burgoyne a nice cup of tea.

Well that’s all for this week—I have to prepare to meet this international visitor and like Nimrod to engage in activities that will likely require the application of many nice cups of tea.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a large houndy chap


Bentley said...

Wimsey, I didn't think it was possible to top Mt. Rushmore/Houndmore from last week, but...the Statue of Liberty looks even better with the addition of a hound as well. Outstanding.

Biggie-Z said...

Wow, Wimsey, I am learning so much about American history! I had no idea that hounds and the stealing of pants played such a large role.

Your faithful student,

P.S. My Momma is handling me alone this weekend too. I've only been back about 24 hours so she is still all patient and happy to see me. Even so, she would not let me take my chicken back from the crate to the flokati. I think that she needs to compensate for the missing P-Daddy, and letting me eat my chicken backs where I want to is only fair!

Eurodog said...

I must disagree on Wimsey's origins. A bloodhound is also known as a Saint Hubert hound. Now St Hubert is a place in the Ardennes region of Belgium. In the French speaking part of Belgium actually and as a Belgian ( I am Flemish; just to confuse you ) I cannot accept that the ancestry of the bloodhound is referred to as being French. The bloodhound is part of Belgian's heritage.
I was very pleased to come across your blog and will add a link so that I can visit more easily.
I am just off to have a nice cup of tea.....

Eurodog said...

Oh yes sorry I forget to say: please have a look at the link below. I wrote an entry on my blog about the St Hubert hound.

Marmalade said...

Wimsey, your version of the statue of liberty is amazing. I think there should be many more hound statues around. Perhaps we should add the mandatory creation of hound statues to our election platform! They would be so much better looking than the statues of old white men that are everywhere. Since I'm a female hound, I can't even pee on the statues and have to get my brother Bernie to do it! Cheerio! Enjoy the visit with your British friend.

Thoughts said...

Wimsey I love your version of the Statue of Liberty...