Entry # 122
June 5, 2009
Hello Everyone--Wimsey here coming to you from another rain soaked Friday on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Well two weeks ago in anticipation of more hot weather my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth bought me a Ruff Wear Swamp Cooler cooling coat. And do you know where that coat is now? Still in my closet, that’s where, because ever since it arrived we have been having cool weather. So in spite of the fact that they are itching to try it out (and I am itching to chew it up) the weather has remained miraculously under 75 degrees. Cause and effect? Who’s to know, but my humans are feeling distinctly cosmically thwarted, which is extremely pleasant for me to observe. We Hounds are about nothing if not thwarting human desires in any and all ways possible. Except when those desires directly benefit us of course.
So now, given the current climactic conditions, my humans have turned their attention to trying to find a raincoat large enough for me. For some reason they are getting tired of the great splotches of wet Hound that I leave about after a romp in the rain. And the arrival of a super sized raincoat is bound to herald a prolonged drought. At this rate the size of my wardrobe will exceed that of my humans’ which seems only to consist of smelly jeans and drool stained tee shirts—although this week I noticed that Maria had on a white tee shirt (you would think she would know better by now) and much to her consternation I decided to climb on her and decorate it with two jumbo paw prints you know where. I think Tim Gunn would have approved.
Well it has been an excellent week here nonetheless. On Sunday’s walk I was treated to an extensive session with the Zoom Groom which is a lot like getting a rubberized shiatsu massage. Given the amount of hair that came flying off of me, my humans astutely determined that I am blowing my coat—although usually when I blow my coat I blow it into Maria’s food, face and clothing. Blowing it in whacking great mounds in the park seemed like a total waste (except for the massage part) but I consoled myself with the fact that there is always plenty more where that came from. And then Elizabeth went scurrying back to her apartment to clean it up so I could arrive for Wimsey Bath Night and trash it again, which I did with my usual dynamic bathing style. But I did get to look longingly out at the river and the park before being hauled off into the abhorrent abyss of cleanliness.
However it was all worth it because on Monday I was taken to the 72nd subway stop to meet My Entourage for the Day—Marmalade’s human from Maryland and her visiting brother and his wife from Vancouver. It was fantastic! The greeting, the scratching, the admiration! And I got to show them around Central Park—kind of like being on a Wimsey safari.
The Wimsey Safari
Wimsey: Welcome to the Wimsey Game Park which locals also refer to as Central Park. First I must caution you not to annoy any of the wildlife-- I am the only one allowed to do that.
Guest: But can we at least take pictures?
Wimsey: Yes, with the proviso that I have to appear in all of them. Now first I want to call your attention to this very large old oak tree Quercus urinalis. It is one of my very favorites upon which to pee. Of course if you pee on it you will get arrested. Peeing en plein air is one of the many privileges accorded to a Hound by authority of the mayor. Anyway, notice how the tree trunk has many fine ridges into which the rivulets of pee can flow, thus dispersing the intoxicating scent. And with what else do you associate oak trees?
Wimsey: Correct! And as we all know, where there are acorns there are squirrels! So not only is this a fine tree upon which to pee but is makes a fine medium upon which to tree squirrels—although treeing them isn’t generally what I have in mind but Central Park squirrels develop exceptional speed. Now if you will quietly walk 20 meters to your left you will see one of the most exciting sights that the park has to offer.
Guest: A celebrity?
Wimsey: No, a herd of Homo picnicus peacefully grazing! Aren’t they magnificent? Look at the small one to the right holding the sandwich that could so easily be snatched. But a better strategy is to approach a herd of Homo picnicus respectfully with an adorable expression on one’s face and strings of drool hanging about one’s muzzle. This elicits their well known food sharing behavior and characteristic cries of “He’s so cute!”
Guest: Isn’t begging illegal?
Wimsey: Not for a Hound. In fact people are disappointed if you don’t. They feel you are casting aspersions on their taste in food ("But this foie gras is from Zabar’s!"). And sometimes you don’t have to beg—just the sight of you elicits food sharing behavior. Anyway, my nose has detected something that will interest you all I am sure—Canis minisculum maniacii --a wild puppy of Central Park!
Guest: I thought puppies were domestic animals?
Wimsey: Normally yes, but when they enter the Park they transform themselves into wild beasts. Especially when I bay at them and twirl around on my back in front of them. Then they pounce savagely and dig their little teeth lustily into a wrinkle and growl ferociously. I mean of course a lion is going to bring down an impala but how much more thrilling is it to see a fierce ten pound puppy bring down an enormous Hound?
Guest: Will there be much blood?
Wimsey: Well their teeth are pretty sharp but I promise not to wipe too much of it on you. And if we look to the left we will see a pair of Homo constabularis doughnutum. Very fine specimens they appear to be too. Notice their distinctive blue coloration and watchful behavior. They are among my favorite species in the park but you don’t want to get on the wrong side of them. If you try and do anything I do like peeing, begging or stealing they’ll arrest you.
Guest: But they don’t appear to have any doughnuts with them.
Wimsey: No. The "doughnutum" is something of an anachronism. Doughnut shops were overgrazed in the 70s and constabularis has since moved on to alternative sources of nutrition such as the grande latte. Now don’t move! Coming straight towards us is a pride of Touristii fannypackus and several of them are carrying plastic water bottles, a common behavior amongst this group. If you are very quiet you will observe them taking pictures of me—it’s one of their most characteristic behaviors—pictures of ridiculously large Hounds being highly prized in their culture. And if I speak to them in a forthright manner they are likely to relinquish their water bottles for me to play with. However, if you speak to them in a forthright manner they are likely to run away and call for help.
Guest: I had no idea the park was so interesting.
Wimsey: Yes, and now to conclude our tour I want you all to watch me dive into that big bush (Poopus crypticus) and poop. The first one who can find it wins a new squeaky toy.
Anyway, it was wonderful to walk about with this expanded out of town entourage and I was paid my accustomed guest tribute in the form of a cup of my favorite Grom Gelato (vanilla) and cadged some of Maria’s pistachio which I also consider to be very fine. The visitors also got to experience Dean’s Pizza (of which I was awarded two slices of pepperoni and extra cheese). The bath notwithstanding, I am hoping for some more visitors soon.
And when I walked them to the subway station and said goodbye another fellow decided he must have my picture and give me a nice scratch. I wonder why people say Hounds don’t belong in the city—I mean constant attention, 800 acres of park a few minutes away, Grom Gelato, gourmet pizza, a plethora of vertical surfaces, Hound friendly police, the occasional Hound loving celebrity, squirrels, ducks, geese and raccoons… what’s not to love?
Well before we check in at the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art, I received a very nice email from a producer of Animal Planet’s Breeds 101 who would like to know if there are any amusing stories about me or if I do anything special. Now this sent my humans into serious head scratching mode as just by my very nature (richly entitled and relentlessly relentless) I am a pretty entertaining fellow and being a giant Hound in New York City is pretty special. But they weren’t sure that baying at people and flinging drool on them exactly qualifies as a special talent. Here is what I would have sent:
Things that are special about Me
I’m really big.
I’m very smelly
I get very loud when I want something
I get very loud when I object to something you are doing or about to do
I like to sit on laps even though I don’t really fit
I like to sit on park benches even though I am not a person
I stick my head in people’s shopping bags
I produce copious quantities of drool
I can fling this drool really, really far (I flung some drool into the air, where it landed I know not where—but almost certainly it was on some poor, irate human).
Like Lord Byron I am “mad, bad and dangerous to know” (particularly the dangerous to know part—few humans escape proximity to me without sustaining some degree of damage)
I am really part tractor
I don’t care if you want to work, I want to be scratched
I don’t care what you want me to do, I only care what I want me to do
I like to be attacked by puppies—the littler the better
I am a passionate collector of plastic bottles
I like to ride in cars particularly when I can make frequent supervisory forays to the front
If it’s vertical, it’s mine
I am only alive because my humans have a sense of humor
I am an intensely self-actualizing Hound
But enough about me. That was a joke! Can there really ever be enough about me? I don’t think so. Even the lady from FedEx Kinko’s where my humans were getting more of my business cards with my picture made up was impressed by the intensity of my cuteness; and the plumber who came to fix Elizabeth’s shower this afternoon was impressed by my size—he finished the job and was out in the door in a nanoseconds (she’ll know who to blame if her shower explodes tomorrow).
Anyway, today our first masterpiece from the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art comes to us once again from the second grade class of the Denali Elementary School in Fairbanks, Alaska. The artist is Kylee and she is depicting an imaginary meeting between myself and her teacher’s bloodhound Gus. The meeting is taking place in an elevator and we see the happy body language of the two Hounds and their unnamed human handlers. But really this painting is about color and rhythm—particularly beautiful are the patterns of clouds at the top border which are drawn with very elegant lines. And then we have the bold rhythmic color of the building itself whose shade of rose perfectly complements the blue of the sky. This is Gus and Wimsey meeting in an Elevator.
Our next artist is McKayla who has imagined me as a puppy. The title of the work is This is when you were a baby Wimsey and I didn’t know what you look like when you were a baby and you still look cute you are so cuddly. Now this is another artist who has a strong sense of line and rhythm—we note with interest the cross hatching of the grass and the strong lines delineating the canine figure. She references the nature of the figure by including my deep forehead wrinkle, my lengthy pink tongue and my black saddle. A touch of color is added by the orange stripe-the result of an infantile leg lift perhaps—that the artist added as a touch of whimsy?
Well it’s time to get toweled off from my last walk and have a long conversation with my stuffed squeaky dog.
Until next time
Wimsey, New York’s number one canine attraction (not counting Balto)
Friday, June 5, 2009
Entry # 122
Posted by Wimsey at 9:22 PM