August 7, 2009
Hello everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where it has been a hazy, hot and houndy week, all of which makes for some delightfully fragrant aromas and lots of summer fun. But alas on Sunday when I would normally have spent the entire afternoon perambulating around Central Park in the company of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth we had nothing but rain. I think I am about ready for this weather to be over.
But as promised this week’s photos come to you courtesy of the new Nikon Cool Pix S630 pocket camera that the company has loaned Elizabeth to try out. It is already covered in drool and bribing turkey (I think she will probably be buying it at the end of the test period) and lives permanently in her large equipment pouch along with all my treats, turkey and assorted paraphernalia. She has it always at the ready in case I do something unexpectedly cute. But of course I like to confine my cute doings to the times when the camera is unliberated. This causes much gnashing of teeth and pleading with yours truly for an encore. But I pride myself on nothing if not on my general non-compliance. I am a natural refusnik.
And apart from photography, nothing brings out my contrary nature more than the putting on of my equipment prior to a walk. Now most normal dogs have a collar and a leash. But as we know, I am special.
Wimsey’ Guide to Hound Leashing
1. Approach Hound with collar #1 (regular snap collar with tags—it’s never worn indoors because a) humans know all too well who their Hound is 2) the collar impedes the free flow of the Hound’s extravagant dewlap).
At collar’s approach Hound flops all 127lbs (yes I was even bigger at my last weigh in!) on his side so collar cannot be applied. Hound then rolls over on his back and assumes the classic belly rub extortion posture.
2. Rub Hound’s belly: Try unsuccessfully to lift Hound’s head to get collar on. Plead with Hound. Wait until in a weak moment of confusion, Hound lifts his head and then quickly place collar on Hound before he slams his head back down and demands more belly rubbing.
3. Approach with collar #2: prong collar. Call out in a wheedling voice—“Would you like a cookie?” Hound appears immune to vocal blandishments. Pull out cookie and brandish in front of Hound’s twitching nose with exhortations to come have a nice cookie. Hound relents and munches cookie while prong is applied.
4. Safety collar: Collar #3 is a show collar that is also hooked to Hound’s leash in case the prong pops open. The humans apparently do not want the Hound going anywhere without them. A great mystery as to why. Collar #3 requires another cookie.
5. Gentle Leader. Humans prefer the Hound to wear this piece of equipment while going down the stairs as they have a completely irrational fear that without it they will sustain major bodily harm. Hound stands with nose in a corner providing maximum impedance to the heinous device. Hound eventually relents in exchange for some more cookies but rubs his muzzle furiously on human’s legs in a major bruise making fashion.
6. Cooling coat: The chase is on! Humans must chase Hound while coat drips nice cool water on floor. Hound eventually allows himself to be caught but as soon as one side of coat is buckled Hound presses other side against a wall preventing completion of coat buckling.
And all of this is in aid of something I actually want to do like going for a walk. Getting me to go in once I am out is a whole other story—I do an excellent impression of a statue lying in the grass or else I engage in my ongoing ecological mission to precycle all the abandoned plastic water bottles in Central Park (and sometimes those that are pre-abandoned also).
Now as you can well imagine there are large numbers of people who admire me to such an extent that they too want the benefit of the type of companionship that only a Hound can provide. So I have prepared just a few of the many important questions that need to be asked before acquiring a Hound:
Are you ready for a Hound?
Do you have a sense of humor?
Do you have a sense of humor about bad things happening to you?
Do you have a sense of humor about bad things happening to your property?
Do you have a sense of humor about bad things happening to you and your property in public?
Do you have good diplomatic skills to intercede when your Hound smears, slimes, pokes or terrorizes passersby with his ferocious bays?
Do you tolerate being disobeyed or ignored?
Do you tolerate being disobeyed or ignored in public when everyone is laughing at you?
Do you have a sturdy build?
Do you tolerate pain well?
Do you mind people treating you like you are invisible?
Do you mind a messy house?
Do you mind a dirty house?
Do you mind a dirty house that smells like a kennel?
Do you mind a dirty house that smells like a kennel but also sometimes like a swamp?
Are you able to see a TV or computer screen when there is a giant Hound head in the way?
Are you fond of your vet?
Can you operate a motor vehicle with a Hound as co-driver?
Can you control 100 pounds+ of thrashing fur in a bathtub?
Do you mind getting shoved off the furniture?
Do you mind getting shoved out of bed?
Do you like hair in your food?
Do you like drool in your food? (think okra only more slimy)
Do you have good insurance?
Do you like the way your garden looks now?
Do you like surprises?
And most important of all--how are you fixed financially? After all, this high level of humiliation doesn’t come cheap.
But in spite of the weather things haven’t been all that grim here this week. I managed to persuade Elizabeth to take me to the Boat Basin Café where I like to cool off (and she likes to have a cold beer). I did actually have my paws up on the bar to order for her but needless to say she was not quick enough to capture the action. And while she was sipping her beer and admiring me she was also thinking about the Universe (something she does to take her mind off the much more serious business of contemplating me). Now recently NASA launched the Kepler telescope to find alien worlds that could support life (large green Hounds, I hope):
Future Discoveries of the Kepler Telescope
Kepler Scientist 1: We have some good news and some bad news.
Kepler Scientist 2: What’s the good news?
Kepler Scientist 1: We found life on another planet.
Kepler Scientist 2: That’s fantastic! We are not alone! How can that be bad?
Kepler Scientist 1: They’re Hounds. We may want to be alone.
Kepler Scientist 2: Oh. Well I agree that is rather unfortunate but we must mount a mission to establish contact immediately.
Mission to the Planet of the Hounds
Hound Grand Vizier: Look your Excellency a spaceship is landing!
Hound Leader: Not another one!
HGV: I’m afraid so. Our visitors never seem to stay around very long.
Hound Leader: Well I suppose we might as well go out and greet them.
HGV: They also never seem to like being knocked down and bayed at.
Hound Leader: Very well. I’ll be more circumspect. I’ll just sit here on my couch and allow them to approach.
HGV: Oh look, another deformed species that is missing a couple of legs and whose heads are not flat and pointy. I’m sure they’re idiots.
Astronaut: Greetings from Earth. Where are we?
Hound Leader: You are on the planet “No.” We are a gaseous H class planet orbited by five moons: Stop That, Go Away, Don’t Dig There, Give Me That and That Doesn’t Belong to You. What have you brought us?
Astronaut: We have a beautiful digital map of our solar system showing our planet and all it’s important continents and minerals. What’s that smell?
Hound Leader: What smell. Can I eat this gift?
Astronaut: No. How come you’re so loud? I can hear you just fine.
Hound Leader: I’m not loud. Can I shred it?
Hound Leader: Another piece of useless space junk. Put it in with the rest, Grand Vizier. Or else give it to the beagles—they usually can eat things not generally thought to be edible.
Astronaut: But it’s very valuable.
Hound Leader: I don’t see how. I can’t eat or play with it or destroy it and you are voluntarily giving it to me so I can’t even steal it.
Astronaut: But aren’t you interested in learning about our planet?
Hound Leader: Well, does your planet have small, mobile animals?
Astronaut: Yes, lots of them.
Hound Leader: And do the inhabitants of your planet wear bits of cloth and leather on their persons?
Astronaut: Yes. Most of us anyway.
Hound Leader: And do the minerals on your planet form a soft material on the ground into which vegetation is loosely planted?
Astronaut: Yes, of course. There are many gardens on Earth.
Hound Leader: I see. And do the inhabitants of your planet exhibit the same level of intelligence as yourself?
Astronaut: Well yes, but I like to think that I am at the higher end of the intelligence scale.
Hound Leader: Very interesting. I believe I speak for the smelly, baying, filching and insubordinate multitudes of our planet when I say we shall be paying Earth a visit in the very near future.
Astronaut: Houston, we have a problem.
So much for cosmic musings. And before I finally dash off to annoy my humans we will pay a visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art where we travel back the early 20th century France and the work of Pierre Bonnard. La Toilette (Pierre Bonnard 1908, Musee d’Orsay, Paris). Here we have a spectacular nude (actually of the artist’s wife—Bonnard seemed to have lived the kind of happy, prosperous life not generally associated with the Parisian art scene). We become part of the action as we see her as if we have surprised her at her toilette. Bonnard uses the frames of the mirrors and doorway as well as the texture of the wall paper to give us a feeling of a small enclosed and intimate space. The pearly tones of the painting are echoed in the glowing skin of the figure. But the painting, for all its beauty has a major flaw. Bonnard omitted a crucial element in the painting which, by restoring makes the picture much more realistic. Who ever heard of being permitted to use the bathroom in the absence of a giant inquisitive Hound? See how the presence of the magnificent Hound adds a verisimilitude to the painting that was otherwise lacking. The Hound is there to observe and to supervise and to make sure the human does not somehow escape his ministrations. We are sure that the pearly skin of the model is owing to a fine coating of drool that the Hound has generously provided.La Toilette Avec Wimsey.
Well although I hope you all stay cool, calm and collected I know that would mean you’ve exiled your Hounds. So instead I counsel surrender. It’s just easier. In the immortal words of Houndus of Borg, Resistance is Futile
Until next time,
Wimsey, a cosmic Hound
Friday, August 7, 2009
Posted by Wimsey at 9:29 PM