Friday, April 23, 2010

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #166

Entry #166
April 23, 2010

Hello Everyone, it's me Wimsey coming to you from Manhattan's Upper West Side where technological and scheduling disasters are in play. Owing to a catastrophic computer failure this week there will be some pictures from last Sunday's walk with my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth but not much of a blog post. It's been a pretty routine week here anyway--just the usual beautiful spring weather and lots of adulation from residents and visitors alike. Also much towing of Elizabeth to the Boat Basin Cafe in hopes that she will buy a beer
so I can play with the plastic cup when she is finished. For reasons that escape me, Elizabeth is reluctant to spend her afternoons drinking beer in order to indulge me. She can be cruel that way (although I was exceptionally persuasive on one warm and technologically disasterous day--it is inded fortunate that I can't play with used glasses of whiskey). Also we met a fellow there named Brian who has a bloodhound in North Carolina and there was much comparing of notes and concluding that whether rural or urban, bloodhounds are obstinate and difficult (and stinky) but strangely compelling in our bad behavior.

And speaking of bad behavior, Elizabeth is going to Geneva tomorrow and will miss most of my doings during the week, hence next week there will be no blog post! It is tragic that there will be no one to record my life for five days. Not only that but there is also this volcano thing happening. If she gets stuck in Switzerland I will be one really cheesed off Hound. And on the subject of cheese, Maria opined that I might forgive her absence if she brought me back some cheese. Cheese is a start.

And on the subject of happier upcoming events,our good friend Ilonka and her husband (who has never met me) are coming up next weekend so there will at least be some recompense for being abandoned by part of my entourage.

So until next time,

Wimsey, the abandoned and unloved

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #165

Entry #165
April 16, 2010

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where disaster has struck! No, I am not referring to that great cloud emanating from Iceland (although I am currently producing rival great clouds of my own, much to the consternation of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth) but to the fact that Someone (no names mentioned) dropped my camera and caused it to delete all the photos of my doings this week.

This meant that I spent much of today out in the park in photo shoot mode which in the end turned out OK as I was in Major Mayor Mode, meeting and greeting to beat the band. The fact that many of these folks that I was greeting were carrying plastic water bottles of the type I like to steal had absolutely nothing to do with my excessively gregarious behavior. The presence of the water bottles did mean, however, that not all these encounters were captured for posterity as photography is sometimes inimical to theft prevention measures. In any case, all the socializing did take everyone’s mind off the fact that in addition to the dire state of world affairs they now have to worry about islands in the North Atlantic blowing up.

But the park has been a lot of fun this week. In addition to the Spring Influx of Hound- loving tourists the park rangers are out and about doing spring maintenance. Yesterday one of them was removing bundles of stray sticks from one of my favorite fields. Fortunately he had been admiring me before I decided to start returning the sticks to their rightful place where I could access them in the future. A sense of humor is a prerequisite for undertaking gardening projects in my presence (in the spring I pee and poop on the flowers and in the fall I disperse all the neatly piles of raked leaves). And these delightful signs are all over the park, no doubt placed there for the expressed purpose of me peeing on them since no one a bicycle ever seems to pay any attention to them much to the dismay of my humans who fear me getting run over.

Well the big news this week is that I once again had to go under the knife! On Tuesday I had a small growth removed from an unmentionable area and also had joint and spine X-rays which meant anesthesia and drugs galore. One of the vet techs kindly lay down next to me and cuddled while I was sleeping it all off and she also drew hearts on my bottle of pain meds, which fortunately I did not really need as we Wimseys are a hearty lot (although Tramadol is my humans’ version of behavior modification and it’s all “Gee, look how well behaved Wimsey is when he takes Tramadol!”)

The X-rays did show, however, that while my joints are excellent I have an irritated disc in my neck. This has sent the ladies scurrying to order harnesses that might take the pressure off of my neck while also allowing them to survive an outing with me. My old “no pull” harness with the ring on the chest seems really to have been a “pull more” harness and it caused my legs to get tangled up in the leash. I am, as you can imagine, looking forward with great anticipation to the testing of these harnesses. (My humans are looking forward to making sure their health insurance is in order).

But of course all the drugs did upset my stomach terribly (which is why I am rivaling Iceland in the production of noxious emissions). This caused Maria not to feed me this morning which caused me to eat the papers on her desk instead (paper can be quite binding so I was really just self-medicating). Elizabeth wisely decided to feed me lunch, albeit with the windows wide open. I am pleased to report that her reed dispenser is no match for the Wimsey digestion.

Well in addition to exploding islands (maybe the smoke monster from “Lost” is escaping!), and tax time the other news that has captured my imagination is the introduction of the iPad. Now this is a device that everyone seems to want although it only does some of what a laptop does and some of what an iPhone does and some of what an iPod does. In short, it’s cool, decorative and doesn’t do what you want it to do. Rather like a Hound!

Wimsey presents: Microsoftinthehead’s iHound

Amazing features of iHound allow users to fully embrace the ultimate Hound Experience

Menu Options:

iStink: iStink’s user interface provides customizable stink! Drop down menus include iStink back end (customizable range: mild indigestion ion to exploding tush) iStink front end (customizable range: just ate the sushi to just ate the long deceased squirrel) iStink body (customizable range: not bathed in two weeks to not bathed in two months to rolled in the squirrel before I ate it)

iBay: sound levels and tones vary between soft (the squeak) to medium (Aha! Found you even though you were trying hide in the bathroom) and loud (give me that salmon NOW!)

iSteal: customizable for: iSteal (your panties) iSteal (your dinner) iSteal (the TV remote) iSteal misc. (everything from Gucci loafers to the kid’s homework!)

iHog: customizable for: iHog (your bed), iHog (the couch) iHog (the kitchen floor) iHog (any place you want to sit, lie down or stand)

iDig: customizable for: iDig (the flower beds) iDig (the expensive ornamental bushes) iDig (random holes because it’s fun) iDig (your mattress)

iDrool: customizable for: iDrool (on your clothes before you go to work and it’s too late to change) iDrool (on your walls in places too difficult to reach) iDrool (on the computer and TV screens), iDrool (on expensively dressed and highly litigious strangers)

iCrush customizable for: iCrush (your lap) iCrush (your internal organs) iCrush (your boss who came over for dinner)

iShred customizable for: iShred (your newspapers), iShred (that fancy dress you were going to wear to dinner) iShred (the new Oriental carpet) iShred (tax forms)

iTow: customizable for: level 1 (sore muscles) level 5 (physical therapy) level 10 (the emergency room)

iLove: customizable for iLove (people admiring me) iLove (people feeding me their lunches) iLove (me, not you)

iObey: Software unavailable

But I suppose if the iHound were generally available no one would want to actually live with a real Hound. I mean being unbearably cute only gets you so far when humans are pleading with you to leave the park or to get off their laps or to stop squeaking your toy when they are on important phone calls or to not drag them into the lake or to not dislocate their arms because you are under the misguided impression that you can catch a squirrel or to stop shredding the garbage, or to stop furiously towing, or to not demand cookies or belly rubs to have your walking equipment put on, or to not put your nose in their food or to desist from pushing the keyboard return in with your snout or to not flood the bathroom when taking a bath or to not fling drool on people or scare them with your loud baying or to not dig up Central Park or eat the papers on the desk, etc. etc. etc. So my humans really appreciate it when the vet techs tell my humans what a great dog I am! They just smile.

Anyway, I think I’ll quit while I am ahead this week. Am hoping for lots of tourist attention this weekend and will be thinking about all the fun I can have with a harness.

Until next time,

Wimsey, iHound 2.1 ultra

Friday, April 9, 2010

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #164

Entry #164
April 9, 2010

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where I continue to provide the shock and awe factor for the city’s burgeoning population of spring tourists. Or maybe it should be awe and shock since first they are awed by my size, presence, charm and drool and then they are shocked that I actually live in the middle of one of the world’s great metropolises.

They envision a classic “hound dawg” like myself lounging about on a country porch, not eating takeout Chinese and visiting famous cultural institutions. The fact that rather than lounging on a country porch I would probably be eating the country porch seems not to have occurred to anyone except my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who have seen me try to turn park benches into match sticks with my mouth

Well we are having more strange weather here in the old metrop as my hero Bertie Wooster used to call his town of London (I think I would have enjoyed matching wits with Jeeves, participating in food fights at the Drones Club and generally lounging about being useless and decorative. Of course since all this is a lot like what I do now perhaps I am really the canine incarnation of Wodehouse’s entertaining pleasure seeking man about town).

But as far as the weather goes, we had two days of 85 degree heat with no shade on account of the fact that there are no actual leaves out yet. There was even talk of my summer cooling coat making a premature entrance and Elizabeth complained incessantly about how horrible the light was for picture taking (makes a change from her complaining incessantly about me, which she ended up doing anyway because in spite of the fact that I was overheating I kept trying to drag her the long way round all the paths until I was so hot that I plopped down under a bush and refused to move).
But every cloud has a silver lining and in this case it was the epidemic of summer picnics yesterday evening in which I was a featured participant. (Hounds being the ne plus ultra of uninvited picnic guests). I was much admired (and belly rubbed) by a group of al fresco dining Scots but sadly no haggis was in evidence--haggis definitely being my kind of food: sheep heart liver and lungs simmered in stock and sheep fat and served in the animal’s stomach—I am sure that a Hound had a hand in creating this culinary paean to the joys of offal. Anyway, the fact that this Scottish Picnic was taking place in the shadow of Belvedere Castle made me think that the time was long overdue for:

Wimsey’s Twitter Macbeth

Hard work defeating those traitorous Irish and Norwegians bastards (who knew they were even acquainted with each other, let alone military allies!), but now time for an engrossing chat about the weather with my friend Banquo. Doppler looking ugly.

Just met three strange women—hoped they might be up for a post battle four way as there is nothing like slaughtering a ferocious army to make one think of a little romance- but instead they want to tell me my future.

Seems I’m gong to be king. Think I would have preferred the four way. Anyway, must tell exciting news to the wife.

Knew talking to the wife was a mistake! She suggests we help fate along a bit by offing King Duncan when he visits our castle.

Told wife in no uncertain terms that regicide is a bit over the top as a career strategy but she sneered and she told me to grow a pair. Hate when she says that. Don’t know what I ever saw in her.

OMG! Can’t believe I killed the King! This was a bad idea. It was a completely different experience from all the other people I killed this week. Think I’m having a breakdown. Must talk to wife.

Fortunately wife cool as cucumber. Probably because crown and cloth of gold already ordered from EBay. She’s planted bloody daggers to frame the king’s guards. Clever. Now I know why I married her.

OK, had a large single malt and calmed down a bit. I’m sure things will look a lot better in the morning.

Escorted the Earl of Lennox and king’s relative Macduff to King’s chamber. Gave Oscar winning performance of surprise and anger at assassination. Unfortunately had to slay guards to add veracity to the performance.

Stroke of luck! King’s son’s Malcolm and Donalbain (what was Duncan thinking with those names!) have fled! Forgot whether I was supposed to have killed them too—hope wife isn’t too annoyed at oversight. Anyway, makes them look guilty as hell.

Am now king! Wife extremely happy. Something still bothering me (I mean apart from all the murdering I’ve done lately). What is it?

Oh yeah. Witches said Banquo would be the father of kings. Perhaps just to be on safe side should murder him and his son too. Will have wife invite him to a banquet. She’s big on entertaining these days.

Decided to contract out murder. Too busy ruling to do it myself although wife brought up the stones thing again. Perhaps am killing the wrong people.

Murder was a mixed bag. They got Banquo (at least no more boring conversations about the weather), but son Fleance escaped. Hard to get good hired help these days. Anyway, not too worried as who would listen to a king called Fleance. Good name for a cat though.

OK, am now officially losing it! Went to sit in my chair at the banquet (the wife sets a lovely table, I must say) and ghost of Banquo swanned in and sat in my chair!

Wife said I spoiled the party by demanding (OK screaming) to know WTF the ghost was doing there sitting in my chair, especially as he was actually dead. May have used a few other choice epithets. Apparently, I was the only one who could see him. Clever bastard.

Must calm down (wife hid the single malt) and consult those Witches again. After all, they’re the ones who got me into this mess in the first place.

Witch reading a bit iffy. Apparently I am to beware Macduff even though he hightailed it to England. But also no man born of a woman can harm me (could threat come from one of those guys born of extraterrestrials the tabloids always talk about?) and also I won’t be defeated until Great Bimam Wood comes against me (didn’t something similar happen in the Wizard of Oz? Must get wife to check).

Just had everyone in Macduff’s castle killed, including his wife and kids. Better safe than sorry.

Uh oh. May have gone too far. Upset wife. She’s wandering around the castle in her sleep muttering “Out damn spot, out!” and I don’t think she’s talking about the dog.

Am having serious PR problem. Latest polls indicate people think I am a tyrant. (Guess the “Macbeth: A King to Die For” billboards had no effect. Note to self: kill PR firm). People afraid to let me kiss babies lest I murder them. I mean I don’t murder all of them!

Some loudmouth told Macduff I killed his entire family. Rumor has it that he and Duncan’s geeky son Malcolm are coming north from England to get me.

Hmm... Great Bimam Wood outside my castle seems to be moving. Interesting medieval camo technology. One prophecy down.

Things not going well. Wife topped herself. Apparently feelings of guilt for all the murders too much for her to take. How does she think I feel! I mean its always got to be all about her.

Am having existential crisis. Have just realized that we’re all going to die and that life is meaningless. Of course it sounded better when I made that “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” speech. Hope somebody wrote it down.

Macduff just blew in to give me a hard time about how things have been going. Explained about the witches and the wife and how I had no real choice in the matter. He told me I should have grown a pair.

Anyway, told him if he’s planning any rough stuff that I can’t be harmed by a man born of a woman, so unless he’s an alien, he’s screwed.

Crikey! Turns out the bugger was born by Caesarean! Who knew they did that these days. Anyway, I argued that his birth, while somewhat unconventional, especially in medieval Scotland, still constituted being born from a woman. Nobody buying it. Wish the wife were here; she’d know what to do.

Can’t believe it! Am about to be executed on an obstetrical technicality!

Oh well, even though none of it was my fault, I suppose I did actually murder quite a lot of people. Guess I finally grew a pair.

The end

I do love a good play. Especially if there aren’t too many words in it. (Someday I am sure technological advancement will make it possible to read ((or better yet, to hear)) the entire works of William Shakespeare in under an hour). And as my humans can confirm, my love of literature is so great that whenever New York’s informal theater groups put on some outdoor Shakespeare I am right there ready to invade the action and make an impromptu appearance in the role of First Hound.

And of course this summery weather meant that I towed Elizabeth to the Boat Basin cafĂ© and staged another of my sit down strikes at the bar in the hopes that it would induce her to quaff a beer so I could play with the plastic cup. The staff remembered me from last year, but that is hardly surprising as I am such a memorable character—I provide kind of a multimedia experience—sound, sight and smell. But alas the summer weather didn’t last and we are back in April which means it’s also tax season. And if there is one thing we Hounds know about, it is about how to be taxing.

Wimsey’s Schedule of Hound Taxes

Value Diminished Tax: This is a tax levied on all purchased goods, particularly those that are luxury items or to which humans are very attached. It is a progressive tax -- the greater the dollar amount or attachment value of the item the greater the tax. Example: luxury leather goods are taxed highly whereas Keds from K-Mart are taxed lightly; that couch cushion you spent hours picking out because it is just the right color is taxed highly whereas the ugly cushion you hide behind the others is taxed lightly. And don’t think you can ever fool the Hound Taxman. We always know what you value and apply our confiscatory powers accordingly.

Refrigerator tax: This is a selective tax on stored comestibles. The tax is applied on a sliding scale. Raw meat, for instance is taxed at a rate of 50% or more depending on how fast your Hound is. Vegetables are taxed at only a few percent and depending on how hungry your Hound is.

Counter tax: Everything left unattended on the kitchen counter is subject to taxation. Rates depend on the desirability of the item, the amount of time it is left unattended and the boredom level of your Hound.

Tail tax: All items left at tail height are subject to a punitive tax, particularly if fragile. The amount of the tax depends on the height of your Hound and the and length of his tail and how excited he is.

Landscaping tax: This tax is levied depending upon the utility of the vegetation. Flower beds (particularly when in bloom) are highly taxed as they can be either peed on, pooped on, eaten, dead headed or uprooted. Bushes with chewable branches are taxed at a higher rate that those with thorns.

Time Tax: Human time is subject to a 100% tax by the Hound. When not walking, feeding, watering, scratching, grooming, shopping for or admiring the Hound, humans are required to be thinking about other ways in which to please the Hound.
Well, you get the idea—we make the IRS look like Santa Claus.

Before I leave you, this was the dialogue downstairs in Elizabeth’s lobby.

Elizabeth: I have a package.
Concierge: Wow it’s a small one today.
Elizabeth: (sighing) That’s because it’s not for Wimsey.

(In fact it is for me—it’s a new snazzy Jawbone Icon Bluetooth, a Bluetooth being an indispensable piece of equipment that allows Elizabeth to answer the phone whilst keeping a two handed death grip on my leash).

Until next time,

Wimsey, The Scottish Hound