Hello everyone, it’s me, Wet and Wild Wimsey coming to you from the rain drenched Upper West Side of Manhattan. Well last week it wasn’t bad enough that I got water poured on me in the bath tub, this week I am getting water poured on me outside as well. All of which means my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth, in a foolish attempt at self preservation, have been walking me in a gentle leader. I like to drag my humans through the mud—literally-- which is fun for me but potentially injurious to them. Hence the heinous Gentle Leader.
Anyway on the subject of the empty park I did get to investigate this statue of Hans Christian Anderson without the throngs of excited young ‘uns who are normally frisking about. Now Hans Christian Anderson wrote a lot of famous fairy tales and I am a big fan of fairy tales but many of them could be improved:
Cinderella: A beautiful young girl is prevented from going to a ball by her wicked step mother and ugly step sisters. She goes to the ball anyway because her Fairy God Hound assures her that anything is possible if one is determined, stubborn and persistent enough. While she is at the ball the prince falls in love with her but she flees on the stroke of midnight. The Prince’s Hound, always on the lookout for the finer things in life discovers that Cinderella has dropped a shoe and settles down for a good chew (the whole glass slipper thing is a myth—what woman would want the world to see what her toes look like crammed into her ball room stilettos). The Prince, recognizing the shoe, bribes his Hound to drop it with a large piece of liver cooked just the way the Hound likes it. He waves the smelly slipper in front of the Hound (Cinderella had after all been dancing in it for quite a number of hours) and tells the Hound to find its owner. The heroic Hound springs into action and finds Cinderella. With his superior sense of smell the Hound recognizes her immediately even though the prince, who can only rely on his eyes, is somewhat doubtful that this dowdy creature wearing no makeup and no designer clothing and jewelry is really the woman of his dreams. He wonders what his mother will think. Nevertheless, the wise Hound assures him that all women look like this without professional assistance and the prince whisks Cinderella off to the royal hair and makeup salon. The Hound finally gets to chew up the shoes and Cinderella is so grateful for the Hound’s assistance that he is always by her side and they live happily ever after.
The Emperor’s New Clothes: A metrosexual emperor who is very fond of clothes hires two men who promise to make him the most beautiful suit of clothes ever. They do, but unfortunately the Emperor’s Hound is also very fond of clothes and so the emperor has to go out naked.
Little Red Riding Hood: Little Red Riding Hood, a visually challenged child, is taking food to her sick grandmother and is naïve enough to tell a Hound. The Hound suggests that she add some nutritious liver to her basket and while she is doing so he sneaks off to the grandmother’s assisted living facility and shoves her out of bed and takes her place. Little Red Riding Hood, who neglected to put in her contacts that morning, nevertheless notices that her grandmother seems to have very long ears and smells funny. But then she notices all the wrinkles and is reassured. The Hound consumes the basket of food and sends her out to MacDonald’s for some fries.
The Princess and the Pea: A prince’s overly invested mother is determined that her daughter-in law be a real princess (aren’t they all?) One stormy night a beautiful wet princess turns up at the castle. Her wet garments leave nothing to the imagination and the prince is smitten. His mother, who really wants her son never to marry at all, is determined to prove that the shapely young woman is not really a princess. She places a pea under twenty mattresses and next morning asks the young woman how she slept. The young woman complains of getting no sleep and of being bruised. The controlling mother sadly thinks it’s because of the pea she put in her bed. The Prince definitely knows it’s because of the Hound he put in her bed.
The Three Bears: Three Bears go out for a stroll and foolishly leave their cottage unlocked while their porridge cools. When they return they find their porridge has been eaten, their chairs chewed up and their beds slept in. “Who’s been sleeping in my bed?” asks the Papa Bear. “It’s that large smelly Hound again you idiot” “I told you to lock the door but you never listen to me” complained Mama Bear. The sequel: The Three Bears Go To Divorce Court.
Snow White: A vain queen leaves her beautiful young rival to die in the forest where she is rescued by and moves in with seven Hounds. The Queen finds Snow White when she follows a suspiciously large delivery of Febreze and tries to kill her with a poisoned apple. But before Snow White can eat the apple it is stolen by a Hound upon whose cast iron stomach it has no effect. Snow White becomes exhausted with all the stench and the cleaning involved in keeping house for the Hounds and takes off with the first handsome prince who turns up. The vain queen asks her mirror “Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of them All? “We Are!’ bay the seven Hounds in the mirror.
Anyway with all this rain it’s been a pretty uneventful week—although I was awarded a new large stuffed dog to assuage the boredom and there was more baking to stick my nose into. And I did manage force down a record breaking 15 cups of kibble on Sunday which gave Maria an opportunity to eventually demonstrate her prodigious skill in one handed, one bag large pile poop scooping. It is a skill much envied by Elizabeth who has yet to master this essential art. But bad weather or no, a Hound has to keep his strength up especially if he wishes to retain his ability to pull with the force of a tractor beam. And speaking of tractor beams, a new Star Trek movie opened today. I am a big fan of Star Trek as we Hounds are nothing if not enterprising
These are the voyages of the Hound Ship Enterprise, its five year mission to explore new worlds, seek out new life, new civilizations and new stuff to chew up and to boldly split infinitives and go where no one (with good reason) has gone before but which will result in high grossing movies and TV shows.
James T. Hound: Where is my crew?
Spock: Here we are Captain. I’m your first officer.
James T. Hound: I’ve never seen a Hound with pointy ears before.
Spock: All Vulcans have pointy ears, even the Hounds.
Dr: I’m Leonard McCoy but everyone calls me Bones.
James T. Hound: What a delightful name! When I was at Starfleet Academy everyone used to call me “Bras” but of course now that I am a Starfleet Officer you can only call me that in private.
Engineer: Aye Captain. I’m Scotty.
Scotty: Nae Captain. I’m called that because my name is Montgomery Scott. Also in the spirit of national stereotyping that pervades Starfleet I am a Scottish engineer. Ensign Sulu that Asian chap over there does all the math on the bridge, Ensign Chekov has the only Russian name anyone’s ever heard of and he plays chess and is very emotional. Lieutenant Uhura is a hot African intergalactic telephone operator. And there is always an expendable clean cut American male ensign who no one has ever heard of and who is going to get killed. But the main thing is that no matter how stereotyped we are we all unite against our enemies.
James T. Hound: The Klingons?
James T. Hound: Well our first mission is not against the cats. It seems that the Romulans are digging a huge hole into the planet Vulcan and are going to destroy it by putting brown matter in the hole.
Spock: But isn’t that what we Hounds do all the time?
Bones: Why are the Romulans always running around destroying things?
James T. Hound: No one actually knows. They just do. Perhaps they like being villains—it certainly gets them attention.
Bones: But do we have to always correct them? Perhaps if we simply ignored their bad behavior or redirected their attention to something more positive? Maybe if they had some rawhides to chew on they wouldn’t blow up so many planets.
James T. Hound: Well if you had your head in a fully loaded garbage bin would you stop if you were ignored or if someone offered you a rawhide or a squeaky toy?
Bones: I see your point Captain. I guess gratuitously blowing up planets is in their genes.
James T. Hound: Anyway, we will use our tractor beam to pull them away from Vulcan…
Crew: Hurray! We love using the tractor beam!
James T. Hound: Yes I know. We all do. Anyway then we will board the vessel with our Phasers set to “knock over” and release clouds of debilitating gas. Then a special commando team, as directed by Engineer Scott, will lift their legs all over crucial bits of the anti matter engines and transport back here before the engine explodes. Any questions?
Scotty: Will there by any cats involved?
James T. Hound: No. Are you sure you’re not a terrier?
James T. Hound: Sadly there won’t be time. But if we succeed I’ve arranged shore leave on the pleasure planet of Rigel Laundry Hamper Alpha.
I think I would have made a very fine captain of a starship as I make a very fine captain of the couch. And I am fortunate in having a very able crew who can be forced, manipulated, coerced, wheedled and charmed into obeying my wishes which are truly my commands.
It’s now time for us to pop over to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art where all this wet weather has influenced my choice of this week’s art: The Umbrellas (Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1881-86, National Gallery, London). Now this is a very unique painting (notice the lengthy dates of the painting) because Renoir originally started it in 1881 when he was still painting in the Impressionist style. Subsequently he became disillusioned with the impressionism for which he is best known and spent the rest of his life trying to define his style. In 1886 he picked up the painting again and repainted the figure to our left in a crisper more classically oriented style—he had been looking at French neoclassical paintings at the time—and with a slightly duller palette. Very interesting. But not half so interesting as when a magnificent Hound has been inserted into this wet Parisian street scene! Notice how several of the figures are looking at him with great approbation. Perhaps they are admiring his ingenuity in keeping himself dry with his own umbrella. The Hound presents a charming and unifying focal point for this otherwise dualistic picture. Wimsey’s Umbrella.
Well, I think that about wraps it up for this soggy week. I am off to do an un-rain dance.
Until next time,
Wimsey, Starfleet Captain of the Upper West Side