March 23, 2012
Hello everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from the suddenly summery climes of Manhattan’s Upper West Side where March has morphed into June and I have morphed into an unhappy shade-seeking Hound. Except someone (probably my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who are responsible for most of the stupid things that go on on the planet, especially those that inconvenience me) forgot to tell the trees to produce some leaves. And the rapid onset of the temperature has caused something of a wardrobe crisis for my humans as their closets are filled with ugly winter hounding clothes instead of the still ugly, but lighter, spring and summer versions.
This caused Maria to trot out a pair of jeans so worn and stretched that they look like pajamas and Elizabeth to rush to Loehmann’s to buy massively marked down cargo pants that look like they’ve been spray painted on. They were only $29 and for that price breathing is apparently optional. (The cheaper the price the less my humans mind what their clothes look like after walking me). She also bought a pair of jeans that are distressed—something I hope she didn’t pay extra for since distressing jeans is usually my job. My humans were all “They look like Wimsey’s been at them-he’s great at distressing fabric!” I wonder if jean companies employ rooms full of Hounds to create these looks. We wouldn’t cost much as we would work for the joy of the job.
But as is usual with me, I found a way to exploit the warm weather by refusing to move unless I am snacked (my humans would have liked to do something else to me that sounds similar but then they would get in trouble with our friend the Humane Law Enforcement cop). And speaking of being snacked, a few weeks ago, Elizabeth was incensed because some guy on a conference call kept using the word “caveat” as a verb—as in “I am going to caveat my next remark” (which is businesspeak for “I am about to lie”). Apparently turning nouns into verbs is only permissible when Hounds are involved:
Wimsey’s Noun to Verb Hound Lexicon
To Hound (although this can legitimately and very appropriately be used as a verb when it means to pursue relentlessly, that is not how my humans use it, as it goes without saying that I hound on a wide variety of subjects): v. To take a giant, drool flinging and oppositionally towing Hound for a walk. “ Would you like to Hound this evening or is your shoulder still sprained?”
To Cookie: v. To hunt through one’s ugly, oversized fanny pack to find the specific morsel of food most palatable to one’s extortion-minded Hound in exchange for his moving in a homewards direction, leaving the park instead of roaching in the grass, not invading children’s strollers in search of desirable comestibles, not dancing sideways in front of you and tripping you, letting you put on his harness/collar/raincoat/winter coat/cooling coat, eating sticks, chewing up plants or any other activity in which he wishes to engage because he knows that you do not wish him to engage in it. (NB: cookieing should be followed by expeditious and vigorous drool ragging lest any unpleasantness ensue with individuals who happen to be in the cookied Hound’s vicinity). “If you don’t cookie him now we won’t get home before midnight.”
To Turkey: An activity engaged in to cope with situations in which cookieing is likely to prove futile. Turkeying is generally reserved for desperate situations such as getting a Hound to look at the camera after ten minutes of tush photography, or getting him to ingest expensive medicaments that somehow end up in the couch or ejected from his mouth at a high rate of speed, or to induce a Hound to take a bath because Hound stench has permeated not only your apartment but also the hallway or to get his cooperation during a visit to the vet when things to which a Hound is likely to object will be stuck up his bum. “Turkey him now or he’ll escape!”
To Ear: v. To stick a pointy nozzle of Mometamax into a Hound’s ear in the generally futile hope that some of it will get into his ear canal and stop it from smelling like ripe cheese because he is once again taking antibiotics and to reduce the number of times the Hound will shake his head because his ears are annoying him resulting in the flinging of drool on you which is annoying you. “If you ear Wimsey for me I’ll buy you a bottle of gin.”
To Spa: v. Not to be confused with “to ear,” spaing is the process of cleaning out a Hound’s ears with soft cotton pads saturated with his preferred ear cleaning solution—not the one you think smells good because he hates that one-and in no way entails pouring the ear cleaning solution into the ear like you’re supposed to because the Hound doesn’t like you doing that and won’t let you do it anyway no matter how much you turkey him- followed by the delicious brushing of his teeth with peanut butter flavored toothpaste which mostly involves lots of Hound tongue and very few Hound teeth. On some occasions spaing also includes cleaning out a Hound’s eyes with eyewash or putting ointment in them to get rid of the gross green gunk that he likes to produce and on these occasions spaing can result in the Hound flinging himself off the spa couch and rolling around on the ground very much in the manner of Tosca jumping from the parapet after her lover has died and being inconsolable until he is sufficiently cookied or turkeyed. “Have you spaed Wimsey today or are you really the lazy, selfish human he thinks you are?”
To Grom. (My favorite verb by the way): v. To spoon feed a $6 cup of artisanal Italian gelato to a baying and heavily salivating Hound in front of the people waiting to buy the gelato so they can see just how delicious it is and to whet the appetites of passersby so that they want to eat gelato also. Occasions for Gromming include (but are not limited to): tributes from out of town visitors, birthdays (Hound and human), all Federal holidays, warm weather and the fact that the Hound has parked himself in front of the store and is refusing to move until he is Grommed. “Of course Wimsey is happy to see you, he hasn’t been Grommed this week!”
As a linguistic traditionalist I, however, like to employ traditional Hound verbs such as to steal, to filch, to cadge, to inveigle, to manipulate, to shove, to shred, to chew, to dig, to annoy, to bay, to bay really, really loud and not stop, to thwack, to stink, etc.
But speaking of out of town visitors, on Sunday I escorted our new friends, and my ardent fans, Tom and Sue Schreck, around Central Park during their visit from upstate New York. Tom is a writer of mystery novels that feature a basset Hound (you can read more about Tom at tomshreck.wordpress.com) which is a good thing since he and his wife live with Hounds—bloodhound, basset Hound and a combo of both—demonstrating that they are people of taste and discernment. Also that they like to be humiliated.
In addition to being a writer, Tom is an international boxing judge and was in New York to judge a fight at Madison Square Garden (the scene of my inflicting multiple humiliations on my humans via the Westminster show ring!) although he insists that meeting me was the highlight of his trip which, I think is an entirely reasonable sentiment. There wasn’t time for them to Grom me, but Tom did get to hold my leash and be dragged about a bit although fortunately for his right hook I was having a very mellow day.
Naturally we took some souvenir pictures and I am afraid the first attempt was not a success as you can see from the impressive sneer on my face (directed at the camera, not at Tom and Sue, who in addition to being dedicated Houndists (they thought I smelled good!) also had the good sense to feed me some of the ostrich snacks they brought as tribute—although my humans fear this will not be helpful in the matter of my burgeoning snackaholism. Anyway, a good time was had by all, but especially by me, which is really all that matters.
And as the weather has gotten warmer my interest in the Central Park Lake has grown exponentially. This week I discovered a submerged log upon which it is enjoyable to balance and a deep spot that allows me to bath up to my belly. It is all the more satisfying, as I am not actually supposed to be bathing in the lake at all, but really it is still better than me climbing into the fountains. No one knows which would incur the larger fine but I aspire to find out. And of course bathing in the lake adds wonderful nuances of Return of the Swamp Thing to my fine Houndy aroma which I know my humans appreciate.
But it’s been a busy week in other respects too. On Thursday I paid another visit to the cat hospital to see our friend Dr. Julie Horton who works there on Thursdays. Elizabeth was eager to test her new camera, (the old one having died causing her to scoot down to B&H Photo where the salesman assured her that this one would take fabulous pictures of me owing to its large aperture; I am an expert on large apertures but probably not exactly photogenic ones) but she was disappointed that I don’t like looking at this one any more than I liked looking at the old one and I was disappointed that this one does not appear to have a snack dispensing mechanism or make attention grabbing noises like something I want to hunt and eat.
Anyway, she did capture me trying to get to know this cat better and as you can see its paw is raised-- just after the picture was snapped it swatted me! How rude! Not only that, but everyone laughed; I’ll bet that if I was the thwacker instead of the thwackee I would be labeled a vicious beast. I hate animals that get away with bad behavior.
And, yesterday Elizabeth hosted Pluto the French bulldog puppy for the day and the evening and it was non-stop rip snorting action. Here you see me playing bitey face with the little guy (or I would be playing bitey face if his face were actually of sufficient size).
For his part he pretty much plays bitey wrinkle or bitey dewlap with me. Getting any pictures at all is extremely difficult owing to the kinetic nature of our play and Elizabeth’s need to closely referee the bouts (we could have used Tom Shreck’s expertise!) and to make sure that nothing too much gets broken when Pluto chases me around her apartment. Pluto is like one of my stuffed toys come to life (many of them are bigger than he is!) although instead of squeaking he makes a wide assortment of snorty noises (one of the elevator operators in Elizabeth’s building asked her if he was supposed to sound like that or if he was just congested). Fortunately Pluto’s humans generously supplied Elizabeth with the bottle of gin she needed after we both went home.
And as usual, Pluto was instrumental in helping me evaluate the Snack of the Week, courtesy of a generous grant from Mr. Chewy. This week we have Fromm’s Lamb with Cranberry Recipe cookies. Now I have to say that although I like these, I don’t love them. I can’t decide whether it is because I’ve never been all that keen on lamb or the fact that they have only a 5% fat content. They are smallish oval cookies of a good size—not to large or too small—with a pleasant, if neutral floury bouquet. They have good crunchy mouth feel and I manage to keep most of the cookie from falling out of my flews. The snacks are rich in fruits and veggies but perhaps like so many things that are good for us I’d rather have a pizza.
Anyway, it would be remiss of me not to mention that although I have declared March to be Wimsey Birthday Month, Monday was my actual birthday. Accordingly I had a cup of Grom Gelato and paid a visit to a pet store where I purchased a small hedgehog to add to my collection. There is also a bully stick to come and Elizabeth has her eye on a giant Merrick bone that looks like it is a cow femur-- although the mess it would make in her apartment and in my intestines is acting as something of a brake on her purchase decision. But as I have a secret project to assemble an entire cow I urge her at every opportunity to acquire it.
Well, I think I will leave it there for this week. I had a super day in the park today meeting, greeting and goosing. And in other spring news, it’s official: Wimsey, 1, Elizabeth’s new black Hounding pants, 0 (owing to a masterful display of the Wimsey Trifecta of dirt drool and hair). Also the cherry blossoms are out! Flowering tree season has arrived just in time for me to not pose in front of them for Elizabeth’s new camera.
Until next time,
Wimsey, Olympic Puppy Wrestler