April 6, 2012
Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where the beautiful weather and approaching holiday weekend are having a salubrious effect on the natives, visitors and Hounds alike. Sadly neither my human Maria nor her friend Elizabeth allow me to sample chocolate bunnies and the more delicious kind don’t exist in Central Park—very surprising considering the wide variety of animal life harbored therein and one of the park’s only real failings from a Hound perspective. In fact the, first time I saw an actual bunny it was during one of our road trips upstate and I was frankly flummoxed by it. It didn’t smell at all familiar and it moved in such a strange way that I was not sure if it was friend, foe or dinner.
Well it’s been rather a quiet week around here. I ran into my puppy Pluto on the street on Monday and created the usual ruckus which created the usual amount of pedestrian interest (or horror) depending on one’s reaction to large loud dogs making noises more associated with a prison break than with a puppy on a Manhattan street corner. One woman asked what the noise I was making was called, and although Elizabeth had several choice names in mind, she decided to go with the accurate one. I always find it surprising that so few people know that while regular dogs bark, Hounds bay. Most often people refer to my noise as howling-- an inaccuracy which causes my hackles to rise and my humans to become irritated as my deep, mellifluous baying could not be a more different sound. But of course I prevent my humans from providing the necessary pedantry on the subject by the volume of the activity itself.
But the weather has been so nice that I can hardly bear to be out of Central Park and I have been visiting some of my favorite spots, one of which is the Obelisk. My cynical humans suspect that my seeming avid interest in Egyptology (I always insist on checking out the plaza around the monument) has less to do with history than with the fact that people like to eat lunch on the surrounding benches.
The Obelisk came to New York in 1881 from Egypt principally because London and Paris had one and New York’s city fathers felt slighted in the Imperialist booty department. For those of you not up on your 18th Dynasty Pharaohs, the Obelisk was erected during the time of Thutmose III in 1450 BC. Thutmose inherited the throne while still a wee sprat so for the first 22 years of his reign his stepmother Hatshepsut was named Pharaoh, replete with masculine clothes and a false beard. This puts me in mind of one of my ancestors, Wimsis I who was also a pharaoh:
Scenes from the reign of Wimsis I
Grand Vizier: All hail our new Pharaoh Wimsis!
Less Grand Vizier: Are you sure he is the new pharaoh? Wasn’t he digging holes in the garden last week?
Grand Vizier: Well he was the last Pharaoh’s Chief Hound but he’s now been promoted to be the actual pharaoh. Apparently all those years of pharaohs marrying their sisters hasn’t been too healthy for the royal family; he’s the smartest one left.
Less Grand Vizier: Well he is certainly an imposing fellow. And that beard becomes him.
Grand Vizier: We had to spray it with Bitter Myrrh to keep him from chewing on it, but it does add to his majesty. And we did have to cut holes in the headdress to accommodate his extravagant ears.
Less Grand Vizier: But isn’t he still a dog?
Grand Vizier: Plenty of successful rulers have been dogs, just not the canine kind. But with the addition of the beard and crown and what’s left of the old pharaoh’s ceremonial clothes, he is now human. Or rather a human who thinks he is a god.
Less Grand Vizier: But won’t that be a big adjustment for him?
Grand Vizier: No. Obviously you haven’t spent much time with him.
Less Grand Vizier: Well I tried to but the wife kept complaining about the smell I was bringing home.
Grand Vizier: Well she had better get used to it; it’s now the fragrance being used in all the sacred incense. But at least it’s not that other smell he produces. I keep telling Cook to go light on the hummus.
Less Grand Vizier: But still, don’t you think he will have to adjust? How about the royal chariot?
Grand Vizier: He liked to sit up front with the Pharaoh. Apparently he likes to drive also.
Less Grand Vizier: And where will he sleep?
Grand Vizier: Where he always sleeps—in the Pharaoh’s bed.
Less Grand Vizier: And where will he eat?
Grand Vizier: Where he always eats—at the Pharaoh’s table. Although apparently the food taster has to taste the food behind a curtain—Wimsis finds the sight of anyone eating his food deeply offensive.
Less Grand Vizier: But how about military affairs?
Grand Vizier: Like most natural rulers he’s acquisitive, possessive and territorial. A good start. But I don’t think we’ll be seeing a lot of war in his reign. He has magical powers that cause people to voluntarily give him what he wants. And they seem to enjoy doing it.
Less Grand Vizier: Well he is very cute.
Grand Vizier: And the priests have been collecting the sacred substance that flows from his mouth. It apparently has magical properties.
Less Grand Vizier: What kind of magical properties?
Grand Vizier: it makes things stick together. They’re calling it The Gift of the Flews.
Less Grand Vizier: But we already have the Gift of the Nile—how come we always get water as gifts? I thought we were supposed to be popular with the gods. Why don’t they give us the Gift of the Gold Mine or something valuable like that—and I don’t mean yellow liquid either. We’re already spending a fortune keeping the palace columns white. But what about the throne?
Grand Vizier: Ah, yes. There we had to make a few adjustments. We had to add a few cubits of depth to it to accommodate the generous pharaohnic posterior. Also his majesty finds sitting on an empty throne unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
Less Grand Vizier: So are you commissioning cushions for him?
Grand Vizier: Not exactly. I’m pleased to tell you that you have been promoted to Keeper of the Sacred Tush. His Majesty will be sitting on you.
Lesser Grand Vizier: The weight of the honor is overwhelming.
Grand Vizier: I know you will be privy to all the Pharaoh’s most important conversations!
Lesser Grand Vizier: No, I mean the weight really is overwhelming—he’s bigger than I am!
Grand Vizier: He’s bigger than most of us. But we must accept the will of the Pharaoh. Everyone else does.
Well you get the idea. Anyway, things proceed apace for Elizabeth’s FIOS installation on Wednesday. In the process of cleaning out closets for the new wiring she managed to find two stuffed toys that were probably part of charity goody bags that I had never seen. I wasn’t around so she placed on them on the Mt. Everest of stuffed toys that lives in front of her TV and forgot about them. That was until I walked in the door the next day, instantly smelled them and nearly knocked her over to pounce on my enhanced toy pile. This made her realize that she might want to do something about that pile before her new TV is delivered on Monday. But no matter where she puts the toys, I intend to supervise the TV delivery and set up just as I am prepared to supervise the FIOS wiring—all six hours of it!
The FIOS guys were in her lobby yesterday signing up more customers and they very considerately had dog snacks at the tables that they seemed to enjoy feeding me. Let’s hope the installation guy comes similarly provisioned. I’m afraid Elizabeth has visions of me baying at the guy, goosing him or stealing his toys and him fleeing out the door screaming. But I can’t imagine where she got that idea. People are always telling her how well behaved I am.
But it is Easter and I would be remiss if I did not do something to mark the holiday (my humans generally disapprove of me marking holidays owing to the fluidity of my marking style). So in the spirit of entertaining the children during this festive time I present:
Easter Fun With Dick and Jane
See Dick in his new blue suit. See Jane in her new white dress. It is Easter. See the Easter Hound. He has come to say hello. He is very friendly. He is very loud. See him shake his head. See Dick’s suit. See Dicks suit with big white spots. It makes Dick’s suit look like Dick was doing something else. But he is not old enough for that. See Jane’s dress. Jane’s dress does not have white spots. Jane’s dress has brown and green spots. It looks like Jane was rolling in the grass. Maybe with Dick. But she is not old enough for that.
See Dick’s Easter basket. See Jane’s Easter basket. See the Easter eggs in Dick and Jane’s baskets. The Easter Hound also sees the eggs in Dick and Jane’s baskets. The Easter Hound likes eggs. The Easter Hound is hungry. The Easter Hound has not eaten for half an hour. Dick and Jane are very small. The Easter Hound is very big. See the Easter Hound with his new Easter baskets. They are empty. See Dick cry. See Jane cry. Dick and Jane should learn to share. Well not sharing exactly.
See Dick. See Jane. See Dick and Jane watching the flowerbed. See Dick and Jane watching the Easter Hound in the flowerbed. See the Easter Hound watering the flowerbed. The Easter Hound has a lot of water. He is very big and eggs make him very thirsty. See the Easter Hound providing food for the flowers to grow. The Easter Hound has a lot of food for the flowers to grow. He is very big and eggs make him very loose.
See Dick and Jane in the kitchen. See Dick and Jane in the kitchen with the Easter ham. See Dick and Jane and the Easter Hound in the kitchen with the Easter ham. The Easter ham has pineapple. Dick likes pineapple. Jane likes pineapple. The Easter Hound likes ham. The Easter eggs were very small. The Easter Hound is very big. The ham is very big. The Easter Hound is still hungry. Mother is setting the Easter table. Mother left the ham alone to cool. Bad mother.
See the Easter table. The Easter table is very pretty. There are flowers from the flowerbed on the Easter table. There is no ham on the Easter table. There is a pizza box on the Easter table. There is a swollen, snoring Hound under the Easter table. He is making very bad smells. But Jane is happy. But Dick is happy. Dick and Jane like pizza. And the Easter Hound is full.
(In the next installment the Easter Hound learns about Passover and Seder participants learn another reason why that night is different from all other nights)
Well I hope you all enjoy the holidays. I know we all will here. At least some of us.
Until next time,
Wimsey, The Easter Hound