October 3, 2008
Hello Everyone. It’s me Wimsey—Manhattan and the Upper West Side’s foremost stinky bloodhound. Well, the wet weather we had earlier in the week has so enhanced my natural aroma that I fear another episode of Wimsey Bath Night is imminent. Pretty much everything about Wimsey Bath Night is pleasing (the turkey feeding during the actual bath itself, the subsequent cooked dinner and the presentation of the bully stick that keeps me occupied whilst I dry and of course the commanding of the undivided attentions of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth ((whose bath and apartment I trash during these occasions—did you know that when you have just had a bath you can shake and fling wet loose spiky hairs all over the walls and ceiling?—but at least they are clean wet loose spiky hairs, which I know is a great consolation)).
Anyway the ladies don’t do too badly out of it either as they indulge in caipirinha drinking, ostensibly to recover from the arduous bath experience but really because Elizabeth likes to pretend that she lives in Brazil. But if we lived in Brazil I would be a fierce Fila Brasileiro and the ladies would not dare to bathe me, so caipirinhas and bossa nova music aside (The Hound from Ipanema has a catchy ring to it, don’t you think), things are much better as they are. And of course once I am mostly dry the ladies bury their faces in my fur and ecstatically snort the rare and intoxicating odor of clean Hound in a most annoyingly celebratory way. (“It’s Wimsey but it doesn’t smell like Wimsey!”). I wonder if it gets them high. Perhaps my clean fur should be declared a Schedule III substance by the FDA. Personally I think they should lay off the caipirinhas or the next thing you know they will be forcing me to wear a thong.
Anyway, all this bath talk is in aid of the fact that Saturday is the feast of St. Francis, which means that on Sunday the Cathedral of St. John the Divine will be holding The Blessing of the Animals and my humans are worried about the potentially less than salubrious effects of covering the priest in Hound smell (although due to the large number of participants I will most likely be brought to an outdoor blessing station—New Yorkers seem to have an abundance of animals in need of divine guidance ((Cesar Millan might perhaps be a better choice)). And for a more intimate experience, St Ignatius of Antioch, a church a stone’s throw away on West 87th Street is holding an actual 4p.m. service. In a church. In a church that is supposed to be quiet and peaceful (“How loud does Wimsey have to bay do you think before no one can hear the priest?”). The ladies are still thinking about that one. But I do appreciate the sentiment behind being blessed (“Do you think Wimsey will think it means he can do anything he wants because he has been blessed?” and “But he already does anything he wants. Maybe the blessing will slow him down--like causing him to reflect before he shreds the chair cushions?”). Anyway we will see—but perhaps it would be better if the ladies received a blessing too for all they go through taking care of me-- and as a hedge against the broken leg that I am determined to inflict upon Maria when I drag her down 5 flights of stairs without my Halti (which it has been determined hurts my face). Elizabeth, who refuses even to attempt a non-Halti descent, goes white at the sight, cognizant of the fact that if I break Maria’s leg I get to live with her for a while. I think I know exactly what she will be praying for on Sunday.
But this week I also received another social invitation—I was invited to a book party at the FCB Gallery (16 West 23rd Street) to celebrate the release of a book called Dog Run by photographer Michael Crouser. Now I was all in favor of attending myself but due to the potential opportunities for goosing and drool flinging and of visions of my active proboscis rooting about in the canapés and drinks and so forth, it was determined that Elizabeth would go in my stead. Now this a very interesting book because it does not contain cute and colorful pictures of benign Hounds disporting themselves in the dog run—no this book is dog run noir—the underbelly of the dog run if you will, photographed in a dramatic black and white style which brings out the form and textures of the assembled beasts to an amazing degree. This is a tough dog eat dog vision of the run and one expects Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade to enter the arena at any moment accompanied by his macho and cynical (yet somehow incredibly attractive) Hound Rocko Wimsey.
Sam Spade: Well Rocko, what do you think of the place?
Rocko Wimsey: What a dump!
Sam Spade: I know. There seems to be dirt everywhere.
Rocko Wimsey: No. Look at the mound that Rottweiler has produced. I’ll have to eat more fiber.
Sam Spade: Well try to keep your schnozzle clean—get it out of that dog’s tush-- I need you to find the bitch that played me for a sap. This ain’t no picnic, we’re here on a job.
Rocko Wimsey: What exactly happened?
Sam Spade: Well this hot tomato comes in and says she’s looking for a private dick. So I tell her she’s come to the right place—I’m a real dick, the biggest one there is. So the broad is real impressed like and we have a snort or two and she says her dogs are tired. So I look at her feet and she says. “No, you dick, not those dogs, those” and she points to a couple of innocent looking hounds lounging about. So I sez how ‘bout we let ‘em rest in the kitchen while we pitch a little woo.
Rocko Wimsey: Sounds like fun—I always enjoy getting a leg over.
Sam Spade: Well the dolly said she’d be back tomorrow with some scratch for my fee and she legged it with the Hounds.
Rocko Wimsey: Scratch sounds good. I like getting scratch. So where’s the problem?
Sam Spade: Well the dame with the Hounds skipped with all my dough and a bag of ice.
Rocko Wimsey: She stole your money and your diamonds!
Sam Spade: No, I was making pastry for me old mum’s birthday tomorrow and now I’m cleaned out! The old bat will be gutted.
Rocko Wimsey: Did I ever tell you about the time I caught a bat…
Sam Spade: Pipe down. Clam up. Put your beezer on the ground and find them broads!
Rocko Wimsey: Well all this talk of bats and clams is making me hungry.
Sam Spade: Find the dough and the ice and I’ll make you a Napoleon tomorrow. But be quick, I don’t want any more dicks showing up, there are entirely too many dicks in this town anyway.
Rocko Wimsey: I quite agree. Well what else do we know about this dame?
Sam Spade: She’s a canary.
Rocko Wimsey: A canary. Yummy. Not much meat though. I thought you weren’t going to talk about food.
Sam Spade: Not that kind of a canary you lunkhead—she sings.
Rocko Wimsey: Well so do I and I wouldn’t describe myself as a canary.
Sam Spade: Well let’s find them before they cheese it.
Rocko Wimsey: Could I have a cheese Danish instead of a Napoleon? Anyway, there are two liver colored bitches over there who have a distinctly yeasty odor. Perhaps I should insert my beezer into their tushes just to be sure.
Sam Spade: OK. But make it quick—we need to cop the ice and the dough and take a powder before someone rats us out.
Rocko Wimsey: Yum. Rats. Never fear—if there’s a rat I will smell it and chase it. Can I have a cheese Danish with rat topping do you think?
Sam Spade: Just remember that if we fail we’re going to the big house.
Rocko Wimsey: Jail?
Sam Spade: Worse. We’ll have to go live with my mother.
Anyway, I think I would have made an excellent hard boiled Hound and would have looked magnificent sauntering around with Humphrey Bogart or perhaps biting James Cagney in the caboose. Sigh. Instead I am to be washed and canoodled with by women and made to smell good. But do check out the Dog Run Book, as anyone with good taste enough to invite me to a party deserves to succeed.
Well it is time once again for our Great Moments in American History visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art. Now lately there have been televised debates by the presidential candidates and posterity will evaluate their successes and failures. However, perhaps nothing in American History was debated as fiercely as the Constitution but we are sadly lacking in sound bites and bytes, and have only paintings and diaries to go by. Now during the Revolution, the states were governed by a decentralized form of government under The Articles of Confederation and it was updated in February 1787. However, states sent delegates to Philadelphia in May 1787 to make further improvements when the group decided to scrap the whole thing and to start over. The debates were kept secret to allow delegates to speak freely-- which even then showed an admirable appreciation of the ability of public opinion to sway the political process. However, both James Madison (who drafted the document) and another colonial ancestor of mine, Josiah Wimsey, kept accurate diaries of the proceedings. Josiah reports much conflict between the federalists such as Madison and Alexander Hamilton who favored a strong central government and various state delegations who favored a more decentralized system. Josiah was called upon many times to raise his fine voice to silence the shouting (for none could be heard above Josiah’s booming baritone) and technology being what is was, to act as an 18th century paper shredding machine. Perhaps if it had all been televised, the conventioneers would still be fighting. But as it was, on September 17, 1787 the convention signed the new Constitution and a unique form of government was born. Josiah was proud of the achievement but understandably disappointed when the convention voted to scrap the original “We the People and Hounds” that he had suggested to Madison. In any case the painting that best captures the scene is The Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States (Howard Chandler Christy, 1940, US Capitol, Washington DC). Here we see all of the convention finally illuminated by the light pouring in from the open window—during the actual deliberations themselves the drapes were closed to preserve secrecy and prevent the prying eyes of the 18th century paparazzi. (Josiah’s diaries make note of the fact that when the discussions got bogged down he frequently chewed on these drapes to alleviate the boredom). In any case Chandler has chosen to show the arms of the South Carolina delegation raised as if in tribute to Washington, echoed by the elevated muzzle and body of Josiah. In fact Josiah is in “pre-bay” position and with the next leap would have let fly a bellow of astonishing amplitude. Fortunately microphones had not yet been invented.
Well it is time to prepare for my busy weekend of making myself as conspicuous and disruptive as possible—a prized skill amongst we of the Hound persuasion.
Until next time,
Wimsey, the heavenly Hound (I don’t believe I have ever drooled on a chasuble before).
Friday, October 3, 2008
Posted by Wimsey at 8:09 PM