March 4, 2011
Hello everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the springy but still chilly climes of New York’s Upper West Side where it is finally March and there are ear flapping breezes imbued with the fascinating scents of juicy young animals and fine young plants. Some days my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth think that my nose is
twitching so much that it is going to fly off of my snout—although this really practically did happen when I walked into Elizabeth’s apartment yesterday and the entire place reeked of the chicken she was boiling for my lunch. The tummy wars continue and so does my kibble strike meaning that the bill of fare must contain items appealing to the Wimsey palate. There is also rice involved which means my humans find rice grains in improbable places and none of them is my stomach. So it’s a win win.
Anyway what with all the poop examining, hand ringing and cooking
it’s been a pretty quiet week around here. But owing to the breezy weather, Elizabeth and I did go down to the river (the Hudson of course) where the air is especially scent-laden (at least for me; my humans being olfactorily deficient). And we took a walk along the entire length of the 70th street pier, which seems to go right into the middle of the Hudson—I could practically smell the fish (OK, maybe not the fish but certainly the PCBs). So in this week’s
pictures you will notice some pier shots—backgrounds include the George Washington Bridge in the distance, New Jersey (not distant enough for New Yorkers) and lower Manhattan.
There weren’t many picture from Sunday’s long Central Park tow because the harsh sunlight is inimical to capturing my beauty but I did manage to climb up on “my fountain” at Columbus Circle. I love mounting the
little stairs and surveying my kingdom much to the delight of New York’s tourists and the flash bulbs pop (at least metaphorically) when I do this. And as you know I am inordinately fond of tourists—even the ones we met this week from California who were dismayed at having to walk up a short, tiny hill to see the Imagine Mosaic in Strawberry Fields. Clearly moving with feet and not wheels was as strange and foreign to them as a heeling bloodhound would be to my humans.
So what should I write about this week? The much maligned and rather embarrassing Oscar show? The Nazi dress designer with the unusual wardrobe that makes one suspect that Captain Jack Sparrow is running around naked somewhere or the perfidy of my humans. Think I’ll go with the latter.
So the perfidy du jour around here (assuming we don’t count feeding me kibble--or at least trying to) is that my humans are very involved in developing an app for the iPad and this preoccupation is significantly cutting down on
my lap sitting time. Naturally the app involves me (there is nothing in their lives that doesn’t) but it is still inconvenient to have their time devoted to a cyber Wimsey instead of the actual one. I will be discussing this app more when is ready— I don’t want to be letting the bloodhound out of the laundry bag or anything, but it got me thinking about the whole “i” thing with electronic devices. What about the other letters?
Wimsey’s Alphabetically Inclusive Technological Lexicon
aHound (is something best admired from afar. Afar enough to be out of the drool and stench range)
bHound (How bHound? He be fine. I be broke)
cHound (cHound run. See humans scream)
dHound ( dHounda is molto bello. Di humana not so much)
eHound (usually pronounced eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeHound!)
fHound (usually pronounced, f------g Hound-- a commonly used epithet after discovering that the Hound ate the couch. Again.)
gHound (gHound have you seen my shoes?)
lHound (lHound has los cahones magnifico)
oHound (oHound. oHound. Come. oHOund oHound come. oHound why can’t you hear me?)
pHound (Not on the carpet!)
rHound (rtHounds pesky, destructive, disobedient, smelly, sheddy, gassy, thieving, stubborn, entitled and loud? Yes, but they are very cute)
uHound (uHound uterrible)
And of course the classic iHound, uhuman, iWin.
And speaking of Hounds being difficult --or really just speaking of Hounds as the being difficult part is redundant—as you know I am a pretty vocal fellow and usually look like this quite a bit.
So when my humans happened to notice that the square outside the subway station is called Verdi Square, it was natural for them to think it would be cute to have a picture of me baying in front of the sign. But this is what happened when they actually wanted me to bay.
You want me to do what?
What's in it for me?
But all of this got me thinking about Verdi—I mean I know he was a great composer but his plots were just so depressing (even worse than many of this year’s Oscar films). I think perhaps more people would see his operas if they were just a little bit more cheerful and had a part for an appealing Hound.
Wimsey Meets Verdi
Aida is a hot Ethiopian princess who has been captured and brought to Egypt as a slave. (Verdi never makes it clear what the beef between Egypt and Ethiopia is, but I am pretty sure it has something to do with someone’s royal Hounds stealing someone else’s royal gazelles—the opera could certainly benefit from an added aria featuring the sated Hounds, “This Gazelle is delicious”). But I digress.
Aida apparently left her tiara at home and no one realizes that she is the Ethiopian king’s daughter—I guess wearing fancy clothes and expensive jewelry and being surrounded by servants wasn’t much of a tip off. Anyway, the picture becomes complicated when the Hounds can’t keep away from the gazelles and Ethiopia once again wants to fight the Egyptians and the guy who wants to lead the Egyptians is a hot young military stud called Radames. Radames is secretly in love with Aida who is secretly in love with him and the Pharaoh’s daughter Amneris is secretly in love with Radames (and no one is in love, secretly or otherwise with those troublemaking thieving Hounds). Where is Facebook when you need it?
Anyway, Radames defeats the Ethiopians in a battle and now the Ethiopian king (also somehow incognito) joins his daughter in captivity. Apparently being a master of disguise runs in the family. Anyway, Radames is tricked into giving away his battle plans to the incognito king (don’t ask) and is condemned to be walled up in a tomb to die. Aida joins him. Bummer. But then, the cleverest if the Royal Hounds, Wimsames, uses his giant paws to dig the couple out. He leads them across the desert to freedom and his secret stash of kebabs (aria: “Hounds aren’t so bad after all” and “These kebabs are delicious, I wonder who they belong to”). The end.
This time around Verdi takes us to Paris where a beautiful but sickly courtesan, Violetta, (it is generally important in operatic circles that beautiful women be terminally ill) is being kept in high style by a wealthy Baron. Unfortunately at a party she meets a saucy hottie named Alfredo who is in love with her. She decides that she is also in love with him (probably because of the handsome Hound that accompanies him everywhere) and abandons the Baron, her dissolute life and a role on The Real Courtesans of Paris. Alfredo and Violetta move to the country where there are more squirrels for the Hound to chase and he is more at home (aria: “I know he is your Hound but does he have to sleep in the bed. He snores.”)
Everything is going swimmingly until Alfredo’s father appears and tells Violetta that his son’s association with her is having a negative impact on his daughter’s marriage prospects. (Overlooking the fact that if no one were willing to marry into a family where the male members put it about a bit there would be no married people in France). Anyway, Violetta decides to sacrifice herself (she needs a good session with Dr. Phil) by going back to Paris and the hard life of partying with the wealthy Baron. Alfredo is cheesed off at both his cheating mistress and the Baron (although he seems a pretty passive guy in all this) and consequently challenges the Baron to a duel. (Which is really a displacement duel since it’s really his father he should be challenging).
The good news is that Baron is only slightly wounded and Alfredo’s sister can get married after all. Bud sadly Violetta has a relapse of her TB and starts to die in Alfredo’s arms. Then just as she is expiring that pesky Hound comes in dragging a mountain of moldy cheese and insists that she eat it. (The Hound informs her that the disgusting mold is a fungus called penicillum and she’ll feel better if she eats a lot of it). Violetta listens to the Hound and is cured. She and Alfredo (and the Hound) emigrate to Australia where all the women are ex-courtesans. They buy a ranch and the Hound learns to herd sheep. (aria: I like to chase the fluffy white squirrels.” The end.
Verdi now takes us to that ever-popular spot for dramatic goings on—Mantua in the 1500s, where we meet a womanizing Duke and his personal Jon Stewart, a hunchbacked court jester named Rigoletto. Now when I say “womanizing” Duke, I really mean a guy for whom “No” always means “Yes” (kind of like a Hound) and who turned down a part on “ The Real Rapists of Renaissance Italy.”
Well, Rigoletto makes fun of one guy too many—the father of one of the Duke’s “conquests” (victims) who puts a
curse on Rigoletto and the Duke. The Duke’s courtiers are also pretty ticked off at Rigoletto’s incessant joking and when the Duke decides he fancies Rigoletto’s secret daughter Gilda they decide to kidnap her for the Duke. To make matters worse they trick Rigoletto into helping them. So Rigoletto does what any Italian father would do, he puts out a hit on the Duke. But before the fixer can whack the Duke the fixer’s sister (who is also hot for the Duke) persuades him to just kill the next person who walks into the inn and pretend it’s the Duke (people in 16th century Mantua never having heard of “trust but verify.”) Well, believe it or not Gilda still likes the Duke even though he abducted and raped her (calling Dr. Phil and Oprah). I guess being Rigoletto’s secret daughter wasn’t all that hot a life.
Anyway, whatever this Duke guy has, he should bottle it! So Gilda, who just happens to be disguised as a boy, decides to enter the inn and take the hit in the Duke’s place. Does this chick need a therapist or what! But just as she’s about to be stabbed a passing good Samaritan Hound bites the wise guy in the tush causing him to drop the knife. Rigoletto, Gilda and the Hound escape to Verona. And the curse on Rigoletto is fulfilled—he has to live with the Hound. (aria: “He smells, he farts and he steals our food but he saved my daughter’s life”). The end.
Now really, don’t you think these plots are a lot more fun. Of course you will still have to spend five hours in the theater and pay the GNP of a small nation to obtain a ticket; and many of the performers do look like a stint on The Biggest Loser wouldn’t go amiss but at least you won’t feel like crying (or perhaps laughing).
So I think I will leave you there for the week to contemplate the future of opera. (New York being a cultural Mecca, we take opera very seriously around here). Hope there is spring wherever you are!
Until next time,
Wimsey, a Hound secretly in love with himself