Entry # 116
April 24, 2009
Hello Everyone. Wimsey here, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where we are having winter, spring and summer all on sequential days. It’s wreaking havoc with my delicate metabolism which gets deranged by these sudden and premature shifts to warm weather, especially when there are not yet shady trees to loll about under when I want to cool off. Lounging under daffodils does not somehow produce the same effect. But there were still plenty of flowering trees about this week and my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth carried on with photographing me in front of them so I am afraid there is yet another flowering tree montage featuring yours truly.
And of course whether or not I am standing in front of flowering trees I am constantly being photographed by tourists from pretty much everywhere in the world, which makes me wonder what everyone does with all these holiday snaps of me? Does my photo end up in people’s video scrap books of their New York’s vacation hot spots along with the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building? Should I be listed in the guidebooks as a “must see” (and must hear) feature of Central Park? Or are people using my photographs as evidence that people in New York City are incorrigibly eccentric—keeping outsized Hounds in undersized apartments. It is really a great mystery. But as you may expect, given how unusual an urban sight I am, many people also want to know what kind of dog I am and given all the noise and hub bub about—not to mention the various language barriers—sometimes the word bloodhound gets mangled quite a bit. One fellow this Sunday thought that Maria said I was a blackhound, which made me think that we could invent all kinds of new types of Hounds:
The Harvest Hound: A Hound with powerful spade like paws that was specifically developed by agrarian societies to be unleashed to assist with the harvest. Machines have made his function obsolete and today’s Harvest Hound mostly turns his considerable skill to harvesting ornamental shrubs, flower beds and couch stuffing.
The Tow Hound: This powerful Hound was developed to haul people around in carts. Today’s Tow Hound still does the same thing except without the carts.
The Pirate Hound: As may be expected, this was an extraordinarily talented Hound whose purpose was to aid and abet larceny at sea. Pirate Hounds fell out of favor because they were so effective in their mission to liberate items that did not belong to them that even the pirates faced difficulty in retrieving their illicit booty. The Pirate Hound is believed to be the foundation stock of most of today’s modern Hounds.
The Bed Hound: This Hound was originally developed to supplement the function of a warming pan to create a warm and toasty bed for people to get into. Eventually the Hound’s utility was expanded to include keeping the bed warm and toasty even when people were actually sleeping in it. Central heating was thought to mark the decline of this Hound although some people say that it was due to the large number of owners who ended up sleeping on the stone cold floor while the Hound ended up sleeping in the warm and toasty bed. The desire to shove people completely out of bed has been largely bred out of this hot blooded Hound and has been replaced by the far more moderate tendency to shove people merely to the bed’s edge.
The Scrap Hound: This was a brilliantly designed Hound whose function was green long before it was trendy. Farmers fed the Scrap Hound bits and pieces of stuff no one else wanted to eat where it was converted via the Hound’s extensive digestive system into enormous mounds of strongly scented poop that both helped grow more food and kept foraging people and animals at bay. The system broke down however when farmer’s wives and daughters began expanding the culinary repertoire of the adorable Scrap Hound causing it to gradually evolve into today’s Gourmet Dining Hound. Today the Gourmet Dining Hound is as likely to be consuming steak au poivre, poached salmon with dill sauce or even your dinner as chicken feet, potato peels and pig offal and is also much more likely to be found fertilizing the living room carpet as the vegetable garden.
In any case I think a Black Hound is a misnomer—anyone who is around us Hounds for very long soon realizes that green is the required color. But anyway, I must say I have had better weeks. Not only were there those endlessly flowering trees to be forced to visits but then there was this Fren>ch bulldog puppy who was no respecter of elders. This all was followed by some cold and rainy weather and Elizabeth developed a cold which meant that Maria was constantly offering my services as a nurse. Maria has this almost mystical belief in my power to promote good health and seems convinced that after a few days with me Elizabeth would be cured.
Nurse Wimsey: Here let me to fetch you some tissues.
Elizabeth: The box is empty!
Nurse Wimsey: I can’t imagine what happened to them. I’ll go unravel some toilet paper for you instead.
Elizabeth: Where’s my bottle of water?
Nurse Wimsey: The same place as your bottle of juice. Why don’t you scramble us some eggs?
Elizabeth: You ate my eggs!
Nurse Wimsey: It’s bad to overtax one’s digestive system when one has a cold . Starve a fever, feed a Hound.
Elizabeth: You’re crushing me!
Nurse Wimsey: It is important to keep warm when one is sick.
Elizabeth: Then why do all my wool socks have holes in them?
Nurse Wimsey: Well ventilated toes are essential to the healing process. We could take a warm bath—would that make you feel better?
Elizabeth: Only if I could take it alone.
Nurse Wimsey: The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house. You know I never permit my charges to go there unattended. Besides if I don’t smear drool on you after you bathe your skin might dry out.
Elizabeth: Actually, I think I am feeling much better.
So perhaps Maria is right about my curative abilities. In any case we are apparently in for some hot weather and Elizabeth has offered to host me for a few days since she is already planning on running the AC at max, just the way I like it. I also like to wake her up early in the morning by snuffling her face and stop her from getting too much sleep at night by loud head shaking, water drinking and bed re-arranging so I am sure Elizabeth is looking forward immensely to a visit from me. Also of course I like to rest my chin on the window sill and look longingly out at Riverside Park when she is trying to work which tends to result in her ceasing to try to work and in her taking me to the park. And when it is eventually time to come in I climb up on a bench and refuse to move. And trying to get me to move results in some very disapproving stares from animal loving neighbors. She loves having me.
But with the warm weather there are also increasing opportunities for even more people to admire me. This evening we had a lovely walk where we ran into a lucky escape admirer. Lucky escape admirers are the folks who come running over to tell us how much they love bloodhounds and how they almost got one. “And what kind of dog did you actually get” asked Maria? “A black lab” answered the lucky escapee. The ladies nodded sagely. “A wise choice.” And then there was the ‘He’s Not a Dog, He’s a Lifestyle!” speech in the midst of which I got bored and executed one of my sudden shoulder wrenching charging over to see another dog maneuvers which really impressed the escapee. “Are you all right?’ he asked Elizabeth. And it was all, “Oh yes, Wimsey does this all the time.” So really it should be He’s Not a Dog, He’s a Lifestyle. A Dangerous Lifestyle!” And as usual humans’ pain is my gain, which is why the escapee is lucky.
Anyway, this week we take a quick look at another Cezanne that is featured in The Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art collection. The Card Players (Paul Cezanne 1890, Musee du Louvre, Paris). Cezanne painted several versions of this picture so he must have liked the subject—perhaps it reminded him of the men of his native Aix-en- Provence. In any case, even though the painting was done in the 1890s these men look very familiar to me—they have that same intense look of concentration that my humans have when they look at the computer. So it is only fitting that the men in the painting suffer the same consequences as do more contemporary humans—the unwelcome insertion of a magnificently disruptive Hound. Do not let his casual, heavy lidded appearance fool you—he is about to snatch a hand, and his human’s attention, for himself. Wimsey and the Card Players.
OK, it is time to rest up for the impending heat wave. There is talk of another foray north to the Conservatory Garden this Sunday in the hopes that the flowers are actually out this time and Elizabeth is busy checking out the fines in case I decide to take us for an unlawful swim into the Harlem Meer.
Until next time,
Wimsey, a lucky escape
Friday, April 24, 2009
Entry # 116