Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #170

Entry # 170
May 28, 2010

Hello everyone, it’s me, Wimsey coming to you from the patriotic precincts of Manhattan’s Upper West Side where Fleet Week is in full swing and I am seeing a profusion of slimeable uniforms strolling about the streets. As usual, my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth will be spending the weekend entertaining me and introducing me to the troops, spit rag in hand.

And even without a military presence the city is in a very social groove and so am I—today I plopped myself in the middle of a group of beer drinkers at the Boat Basin Café, one of my haunts by the Hudson River marina, for some afternoon socializing. Everyone was charmed of course which certainly would not have been the case if Elizabeth had done that on her own. Holding a giant drooling Hound is an ice breaker in any social situation, the downside being that no one wants to actually talk to you about anything other than the giant drooling Hound.

Wimsey at a Gala for the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Socialite 1: Isn’t it wonderful of us to take time out of our busy schedules to be at this great party with all these beautiful, famous and wealthy people wearing luxurious designer clothes. But one must do one’s duty and make sacrifices for the sake of this great institution. I am sure we would all rather be home watching Cougar Town.

Socialite 2: I completely agree. Who is your favorite artist?

Socialite 1: Oh you know, the one who paints with all those lovely colors that go so well with the living room drapes. But who is that towing toward us?

Socialite 2: It seems to be a very unimportant looking woman who being dragged by the most adorable and magnificent looking Hound!

Socialite 1: Well the Hound clearly has the impeccable taste that the woman lacks—I didn’t know LL Bean made formal wear—as he seems eager to meet us.

Socialite 2: Good evening, insignificant person. Who is this magnificent creature accompanying you?

Maria: His name is Wimsey.

Socialite 1: What a distinguished name—he’s obviously called after Lord Peter Wimsey the aristocratic and debonair English sleuth of the 1930s. The name suits him so well. I am sure he chose it himself as anyone wearing LL Bean is unlikely to be familiar with anything aristocratic and debonair. How on earth did you get in here?

Maria: I’m his plus one.

Socialite 2: I thought as much. The Hound has such a distinguished and entitled air about him that one can tell immediately that he belongs at this august gathering.

Socialite 1: Tell us, insignificant person, does Wimsey have a favorite artist?

Maria: Well he is very partial to still lifes and hunting scenes, especially the ones that contain dead, eatable animals.

Socialite 2: Blood sports are so aristocratic! But speaking of eatable animals, perhaps Wimsey would like a canapé?

Maria: I think perhaps Wimsey would like a tray of canapés. They look a bit small.

Socialite 1: Really? But they are 50 calories each—an entire dinner! But of course I am sure Wimsey is one of those enviable creatures who can eat any amount of food and still maintain his beautiful figure. True aristocrats are frequently like that. They don’t seem to need to live in the gym or to throw up in the bathroom like the rest of us.

Socialite 2: I expect shooting animals burns up a lot of calories. Anyway, which canapé would our honored and most attractive guest prefer?

Maria: I don’t suppose there are any that contain grass that’s been urinated on?

Socialite 1: I am sure I could get one of the waiters to oblige. After all when one is in the presence of such abundant adorableness nothing is too much trouble.

And fortunately for me nothing is usually too much trouble for my humans, except that I have still not received my tuna fish sandwich from the Loeb Boat House Snack Shop and Elizabeth persistently refuses to spend the afternoons drinking beer at the Boar Basin so I can play with the plastic cups. I do not deal well with being denied something I want and my antics at both locations have been a source of amusement to the onlookers if not to my humans. Well the fact that I am usually so successful in getting my way and am such a wise Hound resulted in a request from our school teacher friend Edie (Gus the Bloodhound of Alaska’s long suffering human) to impart some wisdom to her daughter’s graduating class: So here are:

Wimsey’s Commencement Word of Wisdom

Be clear about your goals and relentless about achieving them

If you want it, it’s yours

Act innocent

Look adorable

Be charming

Suck up to obtain your ends

Look one way but charge another

Be silent, be stealthy, be swift

Try not to kill anything

You are entitled to everything

You are an amazing being

Everyone should love and admire you

You are not obligated to reciprocate this love and admiration

Bathtubs are evil

Never give up

Never give in

Be determined

Be persistent

Be tenacious

Learn to swallow quickly

All words to live by and to help one advance in life. But no one said it better than that Honorary Hound, Winston Churchill, who when asked to make a speech at Harrow said: “Never give in. Never give in.. Never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty, never give in…” I knew there was a reason this guy was such a great man.

Well, let’s see what else is new around here. We’ve had some very hot and humid weather which has required the wearing of my cooling coat. The problem with this (apart from the fact that putting a cold, wet coat on a Hound and then trying to walk him down stairs is not always compatible with human health) is that my humans don’t have cooling coats. So while I am quite happy to coolly potter about in the disgusting weather my humans have a tendency to drip sweat on me and plead for a greater degree of celerity in my activities. And on one of these evenings we met our friend Nancy (also dripping wet) with her little daughter Alicia and after a thorough investigation of the little tyke, whose stroller I regard as a mobile snack shop, I finally bowed to the climactic conditions and lay down.

It has also been a very active week for out of towners here and these young gentlemen were visiting from Connecticut. Amid all the splendors of New York, their adult human opined that meeting me would probably be the highlight of the day, demonstrating that contrary to common New York wisdom, out of towners do sometimes exhibit impeccable taste.

And there was a street fair on Sunday and our friend Officer Wendt was guarding the proceedings and I created my usual street fair stir.

And in another story making news this week, the Duchess of York apparently offered to introduce an undercover reporter to her ex, Prince Andrew, for $750,000. But in reporting the story they cut out the most important parts of the transaction:

Duchess: OK, 40,000 down and 500,000 pounds to come and I’ll introduce you to Prince Andrew.

Reporter: But really, what can a portly, middle aged royal trade official do for me? I mean, he, apparently unlike you, doesn’t take bribes.

Duchess: Well for 100,000 pounds you can date one of my daughters. Take your pick.

Reporter: Are they like you?

Duchess: OK, I see your point. How about a beer with Kate Middleton? She’ll probably be the Queen one day.

Reporter: Yeah, but she could also end up a poor influence peddling divorced x-royal like you.

Duchess: But they love me in America! I’m enterprising and I have a weight problem! And they love a rags to riches story.

Reporter: But you went from riches to rags.

Duchess: Well not if you’d pony up. 50,000 will get you theater tickets next to the Queen’s equerry and for 400,000 I can arrange for you to be mounted next to Camilla.

Reporter: I didn’t know the royal family was so kinky.

Duchess: No, I meant mounted on a horse—you can hunt with her for a measly 400,000. And Camilla’s kind of just like me, only in reverse. And the royal family hate her too, except Charles, who does what she says. Diana didn’t call her the Rottweiler for nothing.

Reporter: But speaking of Rottweilers can you get me an introduction to someone really useful, like Wimsey?

Duchess: Oh, that’s a tough one. The Royal Family are a piece of cake by comparison. Wimsey’s people are very protective. He doesn’t just fling his drool on anyone you know. You have to be important. Or well dressed. And in light colors, preferably. I mean, with Wimsey next to you, you can gain access to anyone. One look from him and the rich and famous and politically connected come running. No one can resist. He’s at the top of the influence peddling tree.

Reporter: How much would it cost?

Duchess: Well it’s not so much the money. You’d have to fawn all over him and allow him to smear you with drool and all the muck that attaches to his flews that no one ever knows the composition of. And you’d have to scratch his belly and feed him smelly liver. And his humans would have to like you and we hear that they have no social life that does not involve Wimsey. Also they like to make fun of people. Especially people who try to sell their friends and relatives for cash.

Reporter: Hmm…well, maybe I should start with something easier. How much would a beagle be?

It’s always a shame when the media edit out the best stuff. And speaking of media, the ladies have become increasingly excited about the idea of me possibly being a spokeshound for the Baying Hound Aleworks founded by our Hound loving friends in Maryland, Paul and Ilonka. We will let readers know when and where the Baying Hound beers will be available, but in the meantime there is much discussion of all the ways in which I could help out. But all these ways seem to involve putting me in items of clothing of which I am very unlikely to approve. I am suggesting to Maria that she sharpen up her Photoshop skills and my rallying cry is “Remember the Santa Hat!” So stay tuned all you beer lovers (and may I remind you that nothing is quite as relaxing as drinking a fine artisanal brew whilst scratching a Hound tummy).

Well, I think that is all for this week. I have to get my beauty rest if I am to welcome and entertain (read: bay at and slime) America’s visiting military over the long holiday weekend.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a Hound of influence

Thursday, May 20, 2010

wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #169

Entry #169
May 21, 2010

Hello Everyone. It’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from New York’s Upper West Side where we are finally having some warm sunny May days that are perfect for a park loving Hound such as myself. Of course we did have a few days of rain which meant I became spectacularly wet and filthy causing my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth to perform extensive towel massages. I guess this is what they mean by every cloud having a silver lining, only just not for my humans who end up covered in wet, extruded Hound hair while I end up being dry and relaxed. Nature clearly favors the Hound.

And speaking of nature, it seems that scientists have created a new life form by putting synthetic DNA into a bacterium. Critics are worried that these artificial organisms could escape and wreak havoc on the planet (I think they mean more havoc on the planet given that we have exploding volcanoes in Iceland and oil pouring up from the sea). Any time I hear the phrase “wreak havoc” I somehow don’t think of bacteria, I think of Hounds. And if we can wreak havoc in our natural form, just think what we could do if we were laboratory-enhanced.

A Special CNN Report: Craig Venter Creates An Artificial Hound

Wolf Blitzer: Thanks for joining us. We are here today at the Craig Venter Institute to witness one of the most astonishing developments in human history—the first artificial Hound! And as ever on these astonishing occasions I am joined by my colleague in calamity, Anderson Cooper.

Anderson Cooper: Thanks Wolf. And what an appropriate name you have for the occasion if I may say so, although I am told that parents are naming children born on this day “Hound” instead of Wolf. But I digress. First I want to say that Dr. Venter is changing the name of his institute to the Craig Venter and Wimsey Institute to honor the contributions of that über Hound, Wimsey, in today’s achievement. Dr. Venter says that Wimsey’s bad behavior served as an inspiration throughout the process.

Wolf: That’s right Anderson, I understand that the work would have been finished sooner had not Wimsey repeatedly contaminated the DNA with his drool and knocked the test tubes off the benches with his powerful tail.

Anderson: He also ate quite a few of the experiments and I’m told and stole quite a few others. They’re buried somewhere on the grounds and Wimsey isn’t saying where.

Wolf: That being said, I’m told Wimsey originally opposed the work. Why was that, Anderson?

Anderson: His opposition was rooted in his belief that the bloodhound already represents the very acme of bad Hound behavior and that any improvements would only be marginal.

Wolf: And why did he change his mind?

Anderson: We understand that Dr. Venter promised him some liver.

Wolf: Ah yes, it is often said that Wimsey will do anything for liver. Except behave of course.

Anderson: OK, they are about to reveal the synthetic Hound. Is it true that the White House wants one as a companion to Bo?

Wolf: Yes, the President thought it would be a good way to showcase American technological prowess but he was overruled by the White House staff who would have to contend with caring for the Hound, especially after they were briefed on the specs for the prototype.

Anderson: And here it comes! It seems to be double leashed to those two large graduate students but seems to be dragging them to the podium anyway.

Wolf: Yes, Hound v.1 as he is called is very strong with a vastly improved tow weight.

Anderson: Well I guess he found what he was looking for—is Dr. Venter wearing a cup by any chance?

Wolf: Not likely judging by the screams. The Hv.1 has a powerful muzzle with increased poking power. I’m told we now have to put on these headphones.

Anderson: Aren’t these the kind airplane mechanics use to shut out the noise of jet engines?

Wolf: Yes, they are a precaution in case the Hv.1 bays. He can permanently damage your ear drums. Also you will notice that there are laboratory personnel wielding cans of Febreze. The Hv.1 has a stink that cannot be washed away by any known shampoo or detergent.

Anderson: And why did we have to check all personal possessions before we entered the institute’s grounds?

Wolf: Apparently the Hv. 1 is not only large and powerful but also lightening fast and stealthy. He has a drive to feint and filch that is unrivaled in the Hound world. And that is saying something, I can tell you. The family beagle left no laundry hamper unturned in his drive for domestic destruction. Also the Hv.1 has giant spade like paws that are supremely well adapted for digging up even the hardiest of expensive ornamental plants.

Anderson: Yes, I see that. Also his powerful jaws—he seems to be chewing the lectern out from under Dr. Venter.

Wolf: But his abilities are not all based on power and guile. Apparently if he were to look at you whilst you were consuming a desirable bit of food, his appealing expression would compel you to instantly fork it over.

Anderson: Well it’s very impressive, but I would be remiss in my duties as a sensation seeking, catastrophe predicting TV journalist if I did not ask the question on everyone’s mind: Why? Hounds are bad enough as it is, why enhance their abilities any further?

Wolf: An excellent question, Anderson . And you are posing a deep philosophical question that we journalists love to simplify for the edification of the untutored masses who are not nearly as smart and well informed as we are. The answer is: because we can. Also the Hv.1 is very cute.

Well I think I would make an excellent prototype for an enhanced Hound, especially as my new harness affords superior towing power. This was much in evidence a few days ago when we were all out for my early evening walk and Maria noticed that a gosling had managing to slip through a fence, separating it from its agitated parents and the rest of its fuzzy flock. Now Maria, who has for a good chunk of her adult life been elbow deep in a wide variety of repulsive Hound excretions and Hound stench, declined to touch the little guy as she believed that geese were “nasty”. Elizabeth, who once raised a goose for a school project, handed over my leash to Maria and immediately swung into action to try and return the gosling to its brood. Well the whole situation was immensely exciting—the hopping, tweeting little fuzz ball, the large agitated honking parents and the rest of the brood running around not knowing what was going on (but making appealing noises anyway). I was most eager to participate in the rescue process and commenced the extreme tractor maneuvers that are now made so much easier and more comfortable by the presence of the harness. This somehow resulted in Maria shrieking for help (visions of ex-goslings no doubt dancing in her head) and forced Elizabeth to temporarily abandon the rescue mission while I was regrettably hauled to a distance deemed safely away. All ended happily for the gosling, (if not for me) when Elizabeth returned to the task at hand and was able to assist the delicious looking little fellow back through the fence to his eager parents. I will be keeping close watch on that field from now on for any repeat performances that may not be as rapidly noticed by my humans.

And although I was deprived of making the acquaintance of that delectable piece of poultry, we do have a new and very exciting non avian resident in the neighborhood—an adorable 4 month old bloodhound puppy named Watson. Attempts to get a picture of him have so far been unsuccessful as he is pretty much a black and tan blur but we will continue our attempts. Shockingly his human reads this blog and still went out and obtained a bloodhound anyway! And you wonder why I take a dim view of human intelligence. His humans have observed that little Watson is stubborn. Well I nearly fell over laughing. Really. A bloodhound that is stubborn. What a shocking thing! Anyway, these pictures are not really of me falling over laughing but of me having a good old fashioned roaching session on the lovely May grass.

Sadly it is now official that the Wimsey Spring Fling trip to see Maria’s mother in upstate New York and my breeder in Michigan has been postponed owing to professional obligations. We are hoping to reschedule in the summer or fall so I can regale you with stories of my impeccable road trip behavior (Hint: I like to drive) and the ladies’ continuing difficulties in all things related to the pumping of gas. The former difficulties of the whole north-south quandary have been resolved owing to the purchase of a very pushy GPS, but their tendency to get chronically lost has not stopped them from arguing with it anyway. Personally I would like to find a way to convert it to a Hound GPS so that no matter where the ladies program it to go it finds the nearest pet store or butcher shop and automatically turns off the ignition until it hears the sound of either loud munching or a stuffed toy being squeaked.

Also this week I had another acupuncture treatment which I am enjoying quite a bit. I am a naturally downward facing dog (although the vet has become concerned that I will drool on his yoga mat). It makes me think that I should open up the Wimsey Hound Spa:

Selected Treatments at the Wimsey Hound Spa

Swedish meatball massage: a wonderful rejuvenating treatment in which one practitioner expertly massages all those hard to reach places on the belly and behind the ears whilst another gently feeds succulent Swedish meatballs stolen from the cocktail party next door.

Tuna Wrap: Enjoy the special feel of being wrapped in tuna salad and the sensory pleasure of licking it all off. Wrap also comes in Grom Gelato flavors.

Aroma Therapy: Enjoy a relaxing rubdown with vital essential oils meant to stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers: essence of raccoon, decaying rodent, deer poop, bunny urine, dirty panties or day old offal. May Special: lost gosling.

Rotting Herbal Mud Bath: Enjoy a relaxing soak in a pool of filthy, stinky mud (optional additions include cow pies and the spoor of exotic zoo animals). No rinse required for long lasting results!

And of course I personally guarantee that the Wimsey Spa will never offer such offensive treatments as anti-wrinkle therapy or that most heinous of all massages, reflexology.

Anyway, I think that is about all for this week. The lovely May weather is bringing out the Hound loving tourists and I need to be well rested to receive their adulation and pose for their pictures.

Until next week,

Wimsey, one of nature’s natural masterpieces

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #168

Entry #168
May 14, 2010

Hello everyone, it’s me Wimsey, one of America’s foremost stinky bloodhounds, coming to you from some piece of furniture off of which I have shoved my resident human on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. (Being 130 lbs has its privileges and one of them is my superior shoving ability. Also my ability to cause an assortment of miscellaneous bruises and sprains, the exact nature of which my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have given up trying to ascertain the origin of).

And speaking of origins, it says in the news that humans carry the DNA of those beetle browed Neanderthals that people always look down upon as being not too bright. Why is it that I am not surprised that humans have dumb DNA. And the Neanderthals, like their human counterparts also lacked the genes coding for the intellectually and aesthetically superior pointy head with which we Hounds are superiorly endowed. The tendency of humans to caparison themselves in all manner of pointy headed gear throughout the ages or depicting clever wizards with pointy caps does not make up for the fact that underneath them there resides an intellectually dull, round human skull.

But I digress. We were speaking of the fact that humans are really souped up Neanderthals; however based on my astute observations I believe that it is pure hubris of humans to look down on their Neanderthals brethren. I mean Neanderthals hunted animals for food and humans hunt food (preferably at Grom Gelato) for animals. And I am sure that the building of endless number of portable electronic devices (an important source of roughage in the Hound diet) was not high on the list of tools on the Neanderthal must have list. The deficiency of the modern human is also found in their tendency to spend endless hours staring at flickering boxes as opposed to engaging in more purposeful activity like slaying fearsome beasts. And the Neanderthals would have been puzzled by the human habit of planting things that are nice to look at but terrible to eat (a futile endeavor in any case as they only get repeatedly dug up by the family Hound). Of course it was probably a good thing that Neanderthals did not have Hounds as our superior brain power would probably have ensured our dominance. Just like it does for the humans.

Anyway, it has been another fun filled week around here, one that the humans spent in intense contemplation of my posterior digestive opening. They were awaiting the appearance of an ice cream stick I had eaten last Thursday. Always one to disappoint them I deposited the stick, sans poop or vomit, on the rug on Wednesday morning before Elizabeth came to pick me up for the day’s fun and frolic.

So the stick took almost six full days to completely make the tour of my lengthy digestive tract. But while the process was underway the plaintive wails of panic from my humans elicited a most impressive list of items, not strictly edible, ingested by that Hound among Hounds Gus of the North. Gus is a fellow bloodhound who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska where things can get a tad dull until the weather warms up in the summer, so his family entertained themselves by playing a parlor game that consisted of trying to remember all the things Gus had eaten (and survived). They believed (quite rightly) that the length and nature of the list would give my humans comfort about the potentially damaging consequences of swallowing a stick. As a Hound who is always willing to give credit where credit is due, I have reproduced the list for your admiration. Gus’ accomplishment is all the more impressive when you consider that 1) he is only 4 years old, 2) he is never alone so he managed to obtain and consume these items whilst his family was in residence and 3) this list represents the things his family actually know about. So The Wimsey Prize for Extraordinary Achievement by a Digestive Tract goes to: Gus, Fairbanks’ Finest.

Gus’ Prize Winning List of Stolen and Ingested Items

Large chunks of dish towel
Pillow stuffing
A queen sized comforter
Barbie dolls
Milk jugs
Assorted plastic lids
A bucket
Logs for the fire
Assorted toys
Pincher bugs
Beef rib bones
Chicken bones
Whole sticks of butter (including the wrappers)
Moose poop
Vacuum cleaner attachments
Remote controls
Artwork from the walls
Tanned beaver fur
Socks (roughly about 20)
Tennis balls
Feminine hygiene products
Dirt from the houseplants
The house plants themselves
The Gentle Leader
Coffee grounds
And Gus’ latest achievement: the large “18” candle from his humans’ 18th birthday cake (sadly he was prevented from eating the actual cake itself)

Bravo Gus! My ice cream stick is the merest bagatelle by comparison. I salute you.

Well the other news this week is that I had a couple of acupuncture sessions for my neck, complete with yoga mat, candles and new age music to relax me while Elizabeth scratched me and fed me turkey. I like these sessions but never entirely relinquish my suspicion that at any moment someone is going to stick a finger up my bum. I have been assured that fingers up the bum are not part of the acupuncture procedure, but I remain vigilant nevertheless.

And in other news, our friend Paul who visited with his wife Ilonka last week is fixing to become the Beer King of the east coast by launching the Baying Hound Ale Works. He sent me a list of the beers he intends to brew and, as I am ever known for being a creative, out of the laundry bin thinker, he asked for some suggested names for them.

India Pale Ale: I’ve had this one and it’s delicious so I would name it “Maharajah Wimsey’s Let Me Stick My Nose in That Ale” This is definitely a beer that has a big nose and I found adding dollop of drool brings out the delicious flavor of the hops. This is also a beer of which the Indian branch of my family, headed by Sanjay Wimsey wholly approves. Sanjay states that it is an excellent thirst quencher after stealing all those curries.

Hefeweisen:Paul says it is a refreshing wheat beer with citrus, clove, and banana notes. Perfect on a hot day and it goes well with sausage, fish, even a nice hot breakfast like the Germans do. This one I would name “Springtime for Wimsey’s World Domination Wheat Beer (if I smell it, it’s mine)” and it is perfect for those hot days when you’ve been running down the street chasing the Hound who has your panties dangling from his mouth.

Brown Porter: Paul says, it is a dryish porter, not overly bitter, that goes well with meat and even chocolate. I would name this “The Brown Hound’s Steak Stealing Special Brew.” It goes best after you’ve been slaving away to create the perfect romantic meal only to have your date watch your Hound masticate it on the living room floor because you were dumb enough to turn your back on him.

Abbey Style Ale: Paul says this is a dubbel Belgian style ale, perfect with mussels and fries. He is thinking of calling it Saint Hubert’s Abbey Ale after the monks who perfected the bloodhound. Given all the havoc bloodhounds wreak, perhaps it should be called “St. Hubert’s We’re Sorry We Had No Idea What We Were Doing Reparations Ale.”

Colonial Porter: Paul says this beer is adapted from a recipe originally used by George Washington. It is made with barley, wheat, rye, and molasses. I think ‘Don’t Tread on Me or I’ll Eat Your Guccis” is a catchy title for a beer that harkens back to our liberty loving past and a Hound’s liberty loving present. I am sure my colonial ancestor Josiah Wimsey had his nose in this one quite a bit.

Maryland Common: Paul says he can't use the term "Steam Beer" but that's what it is. The style is also known as a California Common, but since he’s not in California it’s a "Maryland Common" This beer is brewed like an ale but with lager yeasts. He says it’s a great beer just about all year round and goes especially well with grilled foods. I say, Hounds also go well with grilled foods, especially when they are on low lying barbecues. I’d call this one “Wimsey’s Common for Uncommonly Quick Mouthed Hounds.”

Well you get the idea—there are a lot more beers on his list and I am looking forward to sampling them all. Perhaps I’ll even let my humans have a taste.

Anyway, a short post this week. We are all still recovering from the weather swinging between all the seasons except spring. But the prize for the question of the week goes to one of Elizabeth’s neighbors who asked her how she controls me in my new harness. The answer: she doesn’t.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a pointy headed non-Neanderthal, ale swilling Hound