December 16, 2011
Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you—antlers aside-- not from the frozen North but from the intermittently balmy precincts of Manhattan’s Upper West Side where we have yet to have a day on which I have been threatened with a coat and my humans have threatened to shape shift into Michelin men. And on the subject of antlers (and my other seasonal gear) my human Maria apologized to me every time her friend Elizabeth (the antler procurer- in- chief) demanded that I sport a pair for a photo. As you can see I have two pair because Elizabeth felt that the red and green ones were more festive but that the brown ones afforded a more natural look.
We will not go into the question of exactly how natural it can look for a bloodhound to have horns but suffice it to say that the fact that the color of the antlers was similar to that of my fur made them an irresistible purchase. In reality I also have a third pair of antlers (can one really have too many pairs of antlers?) but these were given to Elizabeth by a small dog human and they don’t resemble antlers so much as a little (and highly appropriate) “W” perched on top of my head. Of course my humans should be very glad that I do not actually have antlers—I imagine getting thwacked with them when I want something would be a lot more painful than getting thwacked with even one of my bear claws. Not to mention how much it would hurt getting shoved off the bed or the couch by a heavily antlered Hound.
And speaking of heads, once again the pointy nature of mine proved quite a challenge in the hat modeling department, a situation not improved by the fact that I consider these sessions more in light of a hat eating department. I am particularly inspired by the red and green antlers, the appearance of which causes an impressive outbreak of lunging and baying comical in nature to those not involved in the enterprise. Let no one say that we Wimseys are deficient in Christmas spirit.
It’s been a very pleasant, if warmish, week around here so I took my puppy Pluto to Central Park where he disported himself amongst the sticks, the leaves and my giant feet. At one point I gave one mighty shake of my head and his head was suddenly decorated like a Christmas tree with too many icicles. The ladies were particularly convulsed by the Fu Manchu drool mustache created by my salivary efforts.
And as usual there has been much holiday meeting and greeting of admirers and my seasonal green velvet ruff is proving quite a hit. At least with people. And I am also in the process of making the acquaintance of the men manning the 72nd Street pedicab stand which means that whether I enter the park at 77th Street or at 72nd Street there will be much baying and dragging of humans to conduct pedicab inspections. It makes a nice change from baying and dragging humans to conduct snack shop and pet store inspections.
But I am not the only one who has been busy this week. Apparently there is a huge search underway for something called the Higgs Boson Particle that scientists think will explain how matter was created. I believe their time would be better spent looking for the Higgs Boson Hound whose existence will explain how matter is destroyed. But in any case when you want to find something (except for the bathtub or the nail clippers) a bloodhound is definitely the way to go:
CNN Special Physics Report: The Search for the Higgs Boson Particle
Wolf Blitzer: I’m Wolf Blitzer and this is an exciting CNN special, special report, “The Search for the Higgs Boson Particle”. Apparently the ratings are down for our usual special reports on natural disasters and world carnage so our creative executives came up with a spell binding new concept-- a physics special report!
And replacing my usual co-host Anderson Cooper, who, although he exudes a nerdy charm, knows nothing about physics, is Brian Greene, celebrity physicist, who also exudes a nerdy charm but is supposed to know something about physics. At least on TV-- he comes with the highest physics credentials ever awarded by PBS. Welcome Brian.
Brian Greene: Thank you Wolf.
Wolf Blitzer: Well Brian, here’s my first question: how many people are going to die looking for the Higgs Boson particle and will they be dying in such a way as to display large quantities of blood? And will there be survivors to interview?
Brian Greene: Well Wolf, a lot of people are going to die in the course of searching for this particle. But they will die of old age. Physics, unlike world carnage, is a very slow moving field.
Wolf: Then explain to our viewers why they should care. What is a Higgs Boson and who is going to benefit when the particle is discovered?
Brian: Well Wolf, the Higgs mechanism explains why the W and Z bosons, which mediate weak interaction, are massive, whereas the related photon, which mediates electromagnetism, is massless. The Higgs boson is expected to be in a class of particles known as scalar bosons. Bosons by the way, are particles with integer spin, and scalar bosons have spin 0, It’s quite a thrilling story isn’t it?
Wolf: I’m sorry. Were you saying something? I must have nodded off.
Brian: And as far as who is going to benefit, first there are the ten people in the world who actually understand the Higgs Boson particle. They’re going to be pretty darn excited. Then there are the people who build and operate these giant particle colliders that governments have spent billions of dollars on. And then of course there is me—I’ve been hired to do my next TV show on the particle.
Wolf: That’s very interesting information Brian. Clearly physics has been very, very good to you. But I understand that no one has ever seen this particle and people have been searching for it for a long time. Why do scientists think they will find the particle now?Brian: Because they’ve decided to hire a bloodhound to find it. Apart from their obvious talents at finding things—like where you hid your new gloves for instance--bloodhounds have an affinity for the particle, No one has ever seen the particle but they know it’s there anyway just the way that no one ever sees a bloodhound eating the couch yet they know he is responsible. It’s a very sneaky and innocent looking particle.
Wolf: But isn’t this a very unorthodox approach to take?Brian: Not really Wolf. It’s part of the whole new Unified Hound Theory of cosmology and quantum mechanics. For instance we know that the universe is expanding but we don’t know why. Current thinking is that it’s being dragged apart by a pack of cosmic Hounds, probably those owned by Orion the hunter.
Wolf: But why would the cosmic Hounds be dragging the universe apart?
Brian: Mathematical equations predict that they are trying to get away from Aquarius the water bearer because she once gave them a bath.
Wolf: But aren’t those ancient myths?
Brian: Tsk tsk Wolf. If you watched TV physics you’d know that the concepts of past, present and future are artificial—they all happen concurrently so they are actually quite contemporary. But to answer your question, we can all see Orion and Aquarius but none of us can see the Higgs Boson particle. So which one do you think is real?
Wolf: Very true. And at least looking at Orion doesn’t cost billions of dollars. And I have tried to bathe a Hound so I do see the point. It wasn’t a good experience. Well what else is involved in the Unified Hound Theory?
Brian: Well, entropy for instance—the tendency of the universe to move from order to disorder. We’re pretty sure a force we think of as The Great Hound is behind that one. I mean just think what an unattended Hound can do to your house! And I don’t even want to discuss what we think about the Big Bang Theory, but where hot gasses are involved can a Hound be far behind?
Wolf: Yes perhaps it’s better not to go there—I’ve just had lunch. But how will you know when the Hound has found the particle.
Brian: The same way we know when a Hound has found anything he wants—he’ll bay furiously. All members of the Higgs Boson Hound team are issued with the same noise cancelling headphones used by technicians who work on jet aircraft.
Wolf: And what will the Hound do when he finds the Higgs Boson particle?
Brian: He’ll eat it of course. He’s a Hound.
Well you get the idea.
But to get back to my Christmas headgear, this year in addition to two pairs of antlers and a festive ruff I have also acquired an elf hat. Now this is particularly egregious as I am even less like an elf than like a reindeer.
Ways in Which I am Different Than an Elf
1. Size: Elves are small and whereas I like to think of myself as small when I plant my 125lb posterior onto the lap of a human, I am in actuality a massive Hound and when it’s required (such as when a human is standing between me and the food bowl into which some poached salmon has been placed) I am not above throwing my weight around.
2. Ears: Although elves do have rather large ears in relation to their heads they stick up and come to a point, whereas mine are long and fall luxuriously downwards making them available to be dipped into food and water and to collect miscellaneous organic and inorganic matter from the outdoors for wide distribution indoors. In addition I can flap my ears loudly when I shake my head, causing disruption of even the deepest human sleep, something I doubt would be possible with elf ears.
3. Clothing: Elves like to wear warm clothing whereas I like to shred warm clothing.
4. Activities: Elves construct toys; I deconstruct toys.
5. Attitude: Elves are helpful and devote their lives to helping others. I am unhelpful (obstructive and oppositional are adjectives frequently bandied about in my presence) and prefer to devote my life to helping me.
But most significantly, elves give things to people and I take things away from people. From shoplifting in pet stores to filching contraband from people’s shopping bags and purses, from separating water bottles from their rightful owners to having my way with the closets and laundry bin, I am, like most Hounds, defined by my acquisitive nature. Of course there are exceptions, such as this week when I had an up close and personal encounter with a mound of succulent horse manure, some of it inexplicably ended up perfuming my apartment. It’s important to be generous at Christmas time.
Anyway, another week to enjoy the holiday season in New York and to garner the admiration, snacks and petting from our holiday visitors—will keep you posted.
Until next time,
Wimsey, Hound. Not Elf. Not Reindeer. Not Ruff-ian Hound.