Friday, November 30, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #286

Entry #286
November 30, 2012

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where the splendors of autumn are fast merging into the rigors of winter and the traditional Christmas shopping season has begun.  Now my human Maria works in Rockefeller Center and I am very much afraid that the plethora of slow moving, tree viewing and sidewalk hogging tourists is making her rather Grinchy this season (although personally I think the Grinch is unfairly maligned—bloodhounds frequently steal Christmas).  Her friend Elizabeth (and my daytime servant) who works from home and merely has to endure a loudly snoring, sandwich snatching and couch hogging Hound (moi?) during her work day tries to have a better attitude but I don’t make that especially easy for her (Hounds in general decline to make things easy for their humans if they can help it).  I especially enjoyed climbing into her lap during an important conference call this week but I would have enjoyed it more if there were a webcam involved. 

Now Christmas means different things to different people so I thought I’d say a word about what Christmas means to me:

Tourists! Tourists! Tourists! And not the ones who hog sidewalks and view trees either, but the kind that hog the sidewalks and view me! And pet me. And feed me. And photograph me (for which I accept a small (ish) emolument of turkey from Elizabeth’s treat pouch—she calls it positive reinforcement, I call it bribery). And these tourists generally make a huge fuss over me and are appreciative of my fine voice when I raise it in song instead of telling me to be quiet like my regular humans. And tourists have many wonderful foreign smells which I like to uncover by doing some serious nose wanding of their persons. Not to mention that they have bags of recently purchased items whose allure would be incomplete without a little souvenir New York Hound drool adorning them.

Trees! Trees! Trees!  And not the usual kind of trees that I have to enter the park to find in any profusion.  At Christmastime the streets are lined with wonderful assortments of fir trees upon which I propose to pee at regular intervals (whatever are trees for if not to pee on?) and which intent seems to agitate my humans a great deal. Fortunately this frequently requires a gastronomic distraction.  And even when gastronomic distractions are not forthcoming, agitating my humans is a reward in and of itself for a large, oppositional Hound.

The Columbus Circle Christmas Fair! I visit this fair at least once every year and create such a ruckus that my image is indelibly imprinted on the stall owners’ memory to such an extent that they have dubbed me The Christmas Hound (as in “Watch out! The Christmas Hound is about to make off with your hat display!” and “When the Christmas Hound shakes his head, duck!”). 

The Satanic Bag That Elizabeth Keeps in Her Closet.  Even in a season of peace and joy when people seem less inclined to mind unexpected gobs of drool flung onto their clothing, there has to be something a little trying—for some it’s their children demanding the GNP of small nations in Christmas booty, for others it’s the fact that their Hound once again ate the Christmas tree and everything under it and for still others (like Elizabeth) it’s the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” which she always says should be renamed it’s “A Terrible Life” and has childhood memories of screaming at the TV for George Baily to get on that train.

But I digress. The Satanic Bag  (which by the way, is sadly kept on a very high shelf) contains my “seasonal items.”  These consist of a velvet seasonal ruff with bells (lest someone fail to notice a giant baying Hound stalking the streets of Manhattan), a Santa hat (wholly inappropriate since Hounds are the Anti-Santa-we sit on people’s laps and take stuff) an Elf’s hat (because Hounds are small and helpful) and not one, but two pairs of antlers so I can be mistaken for an animal that pulls sleds instead of one who pulls humans. 

I would add indoor Christmas trees to this list except that neither of my humans gets one for reasons that I believe are fairly obvious. But mostly I love the festivity (and the tolerance) of humans on the street and all the activity into which I can insert myself.  Like yesterday when I invaded a pedicab ride at 72nd Street and charmed the riders by baying at the driver until he chugged the contents of his water bottle so I could snatch it and play with it. 

This week also got off to an excellent start on my Sunday walk when I was accompanied by Pluto, the little French bulldog that Elizabeth was taking care of while his humans were out of town.  Pluto and I create quite a stir when we appear together-- we are the original canine odd couple.  I sympathized with the little guy though, it was a cold weekend and Elizabeth made him wear a coat—something I am all too familiar with as I have a wardrobe of them for a variety of climactic conditions (my red Speedo made its appearance this week to cope with an onslaught of freezing rain). Anyway, Pluto is coming back next week too and I anticipate that we will spend our post walk afternoons in stereo snoring and that Elizabeth will spend hers with stereo earplugs.  And I intend to demonstrate my prowess at wrestling small dogs over whom I have a commanding weight advantage.

Anyway, we did see this mime who was dressed like the Statue of Liberty.  I am not exactly sure what he does if you give him money (perhaps he has a special welcome for “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free”-- aka, bloodhound owners) but I am never permitted to approach mimes too closely.  It’s apparently very hard to pretend that you’re a statue when there is a giant, cold Hound nose in your crotch.

And in other news, all the results of my recent medical tests are in and are as usual all normal which makes us very happy.  But never in the history of human (veterinary) endeavor has so much (money) been owed by so few (my humans) for so little (result).  It is fitting that I paraphrase my idol Winston Churchill, as today is his birthday.

Ways in Which I Am Like Winston Churchill

I am a commanding presence

I interfere in everything

I drink quite a bit

I take naps during the day

I am a leader

I am colorful

I am a fine orator

I like to paint

I plan invasions

I am a lover of liberty and freedom

I am impossible to ignore

I never give up

My humans, however, would prefer that I be more like Neville Chamberlin.

And this week we once again heard from a family that (in spite of reading my blog) is going to get a bloodhound puppy.  They feel that they are prepared since they had Rottweilers previously.  I am certainly not like a Rottweiler—you can actually train those.  And rotties have a natural instinct to listen to those that outrank them whereas I have a natural instinct to listen to nobody.  We wish them a lot of luck and look forward to many hilarious emails to come. (Especially since when the “Don’t get one” bloodhound advice is ignored my humans have many supportive things to say such as “Yes, they do like to do that” and “No you can’t stop them from doing that” and “There are some excellent wall cleaners” and “No bathing them doesn’t help” and “Four hour walks do help. Sometimes” and “It’s not you, it’s them” and “They don’t learn very fast. Or at all” and “Think of them not as a dog but as a lifestyle. A very expensive lifestyle”). But what can I say. We are very cute. 

Anyway, as you can see on Tuesday we had a freezing rainstorm which meant that I had to wear my winter snow/rain suit (also known as the red speedo owing to its stretchy, form fitting nature).  It also meant that, as is my custom when it rains, I towed Elizabeth down to The Lake so I could watch the ducks—something about pouring rain just seems to invite standing around duck watching.  Elizabeth generally disagrees with this assessment but fortunately is usually not in a position to do much about it. It’s just another one of my idiosyncrasies that my humans either have to learn to find charming or to drink.

Well I think I will leave it there for this week.  I have to prepare myself for the many joys of the season (Satanic bag excepted).

Until next time,

Wimsey, the un-Santa un- elf un- reindeer

Friday, November 23, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #285

Entry #285
November 23, 2012

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from the festive Upper West Side of Manhattan where everyone is thankful for the beautiful weather we’re having and the loud, stinky oppositional Hound that they don’t.  Everyone except my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who are always thankful to have me around so people will actually notice them.  Well sort of notice them because mostly people notice me and if they don’t notice me a good poke in the rear end or a loud bay will quickly remedy the situation. (Like the new elevator guy in Elizabeth’s building who fled into his elevator when I chose to bay my displeasure at having to wait for the service elevator).  He noticed me.

But first before we begin I have to congratulate our friend Nancy who had her second baby on Tuesday.  I offered her all kinds of helpful suggestions via Facebook during the labor. I have often thought that I would make an excellent doula since the only way to get rid of me would be to actually have the baby.  Sadly Nancy thought an epidural would be preferable.  My humans also think an epidural would be preferable but nobody offers them any when I park my 130lb posterior in their laps. Mostly they get offered gin or sympathy. Anyway, the birth of Nancy’s baby is significant because it means the return of carriages and strollers stocked with snacks to feed me when we run into her in the park.  And at some point the little tyke will be large enough to feed me herself; I am very gentle when stealing food from small children.
Well, it has been a pretty busy week around here.  I wanted to make sure that my humans felt especially thankful for me so on Sunday I dragged them around Central Park for 3 ½ fun filled hours.  And although I have crashed many events in my time on Sunday I crashed my first LARP (live action role play)!  In this case the participants were enacting medieval recreationalists who were engaging in swordplay--- so I joined the LARP as a medieval St. Hubert Hound out to steal their stuff. What could be more medieval (or more Renaissance or more Enlightenment or more Regency or more Victorian or more Edwardian or more modern) than that? 

And this LARP made me realize that I myself have been a participant in one all along—playing the role of the Sieur de Wimsey who is determined to find the Holy Grail.  This quest involves extended hunts into all sorts of nooks, crannies, bushes and garbage bags as well as the acquisition of a multitude of Holy Grail candidates that must pass The Test of the Teeth (the true holy Grail being indestructible).  So far I have run through many grail candidates but have been unable to locate the actual article itself.  But I will continue to look. And my humans, Lady Maria and Lady Elizabeth will continue to attend me on my quest and to clean up the ensuing mess.
Anyway, also this week my French bulldog buddy Pluto  (aka “Little Sir”, since my humans generally refer to me as Sir) arrived at Elizabeth’s while his humans are in the UK celebrating Thanksgiving. Now I can’t help thinking that celebrating a holiday that involves fleeing from oppression in the country of that oppression is a bit ironic.  Being thankful to the Pilgrims that we are not English and going to England to celebrate the fact seems like rubbing their noses in it a bit.  Of course if I were an English Hound instead of an American one, things would be completely different:
1.  Instead of stealing sausages and French fries I would be stealing bangers and chips.

2.  Instead of trying to train me my humans would have a bash at it.

3. Instead of failing miserably to train me they would have made a tremendous cock up of it.

4.  Instead of irritating the life out of my humans (I am not known as canis pestis for nothing) I would be giving them major agro.

5.  Instead of being a pain in the butt I would be a pain in the arse.

6. Instead of working hard to train me (and failing) they would be beavering away at training me (and failing).

7.  Instead of spending a lot of money buying me a custom made coat because I am too majestic for the regular kind they would spend a lot of money buying me a bespoke one because I am too majestic for the regular kind.

8.  Instead of spending a vast amount of money on my vet care they would be spending a vast amount of dosh on my vet care.
9.  Instead of throwing away the leftovers that I am going to steal they would bin the leftovers that I am going to steal.

10.  Rather than taking the cake in the insubordinate Hound department I would take the biscuit in the insubordinate Hound department.

11.  Rather than stealing the cookie I would this time actually be taking the biscuit.

12. Rather than “that bloody dog” meaning that the weak spot on my elbow had opened up again making a colossal mess it would mean that I had shredded a feather pillow again making a colossal mess.

13.  Instead of all my stuff monopolizing all the space in the trunk of a car during a road trip all my stuff would monopolize all the space in the boot of the car during a road trip.
14.  Instead of me chewing up suspenders I would be chewing up braces which is confusing since instead of me chewing up garters I would be chewing up suspenders.

15.  Instead of me causing someone to shriek by poking them in the tush I would be causing someone to shriek by poking them in the bum.

16.  Instead of me removing the roast cooling on top of the stove I would be removing the roast cooling on the hob of the cooker.

 17. Instead of me being obsessed with cops and baying furiously at them to pet me I would be obsessed with the old bill and baying furiously at them to pet me.

18. Instead of terrorizing the guys operating the elevators in Elizabeth’s building I would be terrorizing the guys operating the lifts in Elizabeth’s building.

19.  Instead of me wanting to steal a tourist’s water bottle I would fancy stealing the tourist’s water bottle. (Either way the water bottle would get stolen).

20. Instead of having pockets stuffed with washcloths in a futile attempt to stop me from sliming people my humans would have pockets stuffed with flannels in a futile attempt to stop me from sliming people.

21, Instead of me trying to invade picnic baskets in Central Park I would be trying to invade picnic hampers in Central Park.

22.Instead of my humans being annoyed with me when I try to flee the bathtub soaking wet and covered in soap they would have the hump with me trying to flee the bathtub soaking wet and covered in soap.

23. Instead of being eager to pull my humans over into a snow bank I would be keen to pull my humans over into a snow bank.

24. Instead of running around the house with panties in my mouth I would be running around the house with knickers in my mouth.

25.  Instead of chewing up sneakers I would be chewing up plimsolls.

26. Instead of being 130 lbs. of magnificent Hound I would be 9.3 stone of magnificent Hound.

I think I would have enjoyed being an English Hound—My behavior would have been just as bad but it would have a lot sounded better.

Anyway, Pluto is at Elizabeth’s through Monday and he is a chip off the giant Hound-snoring in Elizabeth’s ear and trying to cadge food.  And amidst the minute, fluffy dogs in the small dog park he is a 27 lb. behemoth—escorting “giant” dogs seems to be Elizabeth’s destiny in life.

And speaking of destiny, I paid another visit to the vet today on account of gunky eyes, gunky ears and possible increased water intake.  Getting a urine specimen was the usual exercise in hilarity with Elizabeth holding my leash and cooing encouragingly at attractive vertical surfaces whilst Maria trailed after us with her gloved hand holding a cup.
They must think I am an idiot.  Of course I have absolutely no interest in peeing under those circumstances. Appropriately enough just as the aggravation quotient was reaching its zenith we ran into yet another person whose dream it was to have a bloodhound. The short version of my humans’ advice: Good luck with that.  In addition to the whole peeing in a cup thing, Maria was also given a set of drops and ointments for both my eyes and ears.   I love the seriousness with which the vet explains in detail how to administer the stuff as if it were something remotely  possible without Step One being: Capture the Hound and Step Two being: Sit on Him.
And no Thanksgiving on the Upper West Side would be complete without a visit to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloons.  Personally I think a Wimsey balloon would be a big hit given the fact that I am photographed as much as the balloons.  I am considering contacting Tanqueray to see if they have any interest in sponsorship.

Well I think that’s all for this week.  Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and gave thanks for not having me around to put my nose in the turkey.

Until next time,

Wimsey, One Half of the Dynamic Duo (or Gruesome Twosome)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #284

Entry  #284
November 16, 2012

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where a holiday atmosphere is starting to prevail and I am reaping the benefits of the plethora of visitors that descend on the city to share it.  My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have to stand idly by as I am photographed and admired by the multitudes who routinely pronounce me to be spectacular.  Confirmation of this spectacularity is seldom forthcoming from my humans, however, unless the word spectacular is paired with the word brat. 
Wimsey’s Rules (much abridged edition) in effect this week:

If you want to go one way and I want to go another, we go my way or we don’t go any way.

If I demand a cookie and you produce the kinds that I am not in the mood for I will spit them all out until you produce the one that I want.

If I am lounging on the bed and it is time for my walk I will cease lounging on the bed only if a (large) piece of turkey is produced.
If there is only kibble in my lunchtime bowl of food I will follow you and stare at you and poke you until real food is added from the refrigerator.

If a new bag of kibble is being opened I will only eat the kibble from the new bag, not the old one.

If you are a tourist holding a hot dog care must be taken so that you suddenly don’t become a tourist not holding a hot dog.

If you want me to poop I will only do so in the deepest pile of leaves available and preferably one whose color matches that of my poop.

If you want me to poop at night I will only do so in a spot so dark that it requires the playing of blind man’s bluff to find it.

If you think that I will drink from a water bowl with drool in it you are sadly mistaken.

If you think that meeting Pluto, my French bulldog buddy, in the morning will not result in the entire neighborhood being woken up by prolonged, joyous baying you are also sadly mistaken.
If you think that I will allow my walking equipment to be removed upon entrance to Elizabeth’s apartment without first charging over to inventory my toy pile you are yet again sadly mistaken.

The degree to which I want to bay at, poke or fling drool on a human or canine is directly proportional to the degree to which they are terrified of me.
Replacing the keyboard return on your computer with my head is a fair exchange.

When I wish to hog the bed I will hog the bed and you can either accommodate that or go find somewhere else to sleep.

If you think you count, you don’t.  Ask the tourists.

Not to admit to plagiarism or anything (what a Hound steal?) but many of my ideas are based on those expressed by Friedrich Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (a very tasty tome, by the way-- like every highly educated Hound I make it my business to read ((or eat)) up on 19th century German Romantic philosophers).  Not the part about God being dead and the existence of the Superman (the Übermensch) for whom ordinary rules do not apply but rather my own version, Thus Spoke Wimsey (Also Sprach Wimsey in the original German) in which The Trainer is Dead (or otherwise rendered ineffective) leading to the emergence of the ÜberHund for whom any rules, ordinary or otherwise don’t apply.  And although philosophers since Nietzsche have debated whether in fact any Supermen (at least those not named Clark Kent and wearing capes) have emerged my humans know definitively that that at least one ÜberHund stalks amongst them throwing his considerable weight around. But fortunately ÜberHunds are very cute.

Well I guess you can tell that I’ve had a good week.  My humans not so much. But on Sunday we all got a special treat—our Facebook friends Jennifer and her sister Kelly visited New York City from Florida and of course it is practically mandatory that a visit with me be put on the “to do” list.  So it was all, “Should we go to the American Museum of Natural History or should we visit Wimsey in Central Park?” It was no contest. I really should be listed in Fodor’s and on Trip Advisor. 

Jennifer is owned by a lovely (although petite—a mere under a hundred pound slip of a Hound) bloodhound named Clementine and like any polite human who is visiting a Hound she brought me water bottles to play with. And as we all stood around talking (especially me) I was bombarded with the usual steady stream of photo requests from passersby.  But then a bride—complete with white dress and trailing photographer-- asked if she could be photographed with me. And as us usual my humans’ faces turned the color of the dress and there was a chorus of “The dress! The dress!”  reminiscent of Tattoo heralding the arrival of the plane to Mr. Roarke. But she said not to worry and so with my humans at the ready to pounce at the first sign of a head shake or a smear I posed like a champ. Of course I am a champ but generally not a very cooperative one. 

Anyway, sadly there was no time for them to feed me Grom Gelato (another thing that should be on the “must do” list of visitors to NYC) but I intend to remedy this on their next visit. I gave them a rain (or drool) check.

Now I realized the other day that the fall TV season is almost finished and I have not yet weighed in with my usual set of improvements.  So if you want to take a media break from generals who can’t keep it in their pants and their jealous ex-mistresses, here are some ideas for good viewing:

666 Park Avenue: 666 is the apocalyptic sign of The Beast and the address of a New York City building called The Hound. Through the machinations of the building’s mysterious owners, residents are tempted to enter into Faustian bargains to achieve their ambitions. But instead of selling their souls to the devil as they expected they realize the situation is much worse—they’ve sold their souls to a Hound.

Last Resort: Originally a ho hum political thriller about a submarine ordered to nuke Pakistan that flees to an exotic island instead (it being de rigeur that all TV islands are either exotic or mysterious or both) the concept was changed to the story of Hound owners driven to despair by the behavior of their Hounds who are finally forced to call in a $1,000 an hour TV dog trainer who promises to save the day.  Viewers experience the joys of schadenfreude watching him fail.

Nashville: Country legend Rayna James’ music career is fading so she agrees to be the opening act for an up and coming singer and schemer Juliette Barnes (wait, isn’t this like the plot of All About Eve?).  The she realizes that all she needs to do to revive her career is appear onstage with a large, musical Hound instead. At least the Hound doesn’t scheme. At least not much.

Elementary: Yet another take on the Sherlock Holmes story. In this version Sherlock is played by an actual bloodhound who each week solves such mysteries as what’s in the refrigerator, who didn’t change their underwear, can a large, heavy footed Hound catch a small, swift squirrel and what is the effect of flung drool on an Armani suit.  

The Neighbors:  The Weavers finally buy their dream home in a gated community only to find that it is populated by aliens.  They are relieved since this is an improvement over their last gated community which was populated by Hounds.

Guys With Hounds (original title: Guys With Kids): Realizing that there are too many sappy parenting show Guys With Hounds gives the formula a new twist when instead of being strapped to politically correct babies the guys are attached to politically incorrect Hounds. The guys recapture their masculinity by watching the Hounds pee messily, play with their bits, fart, exhibit poor personal hygiene, wolf their food, get loud, adopt the direct approach with the ladies and do what they want when they want how they want.  Sadly though, the Guys With Hounds become the Guys Without Women.
Revolution: Suddenly the world has no electricity. People can’t use computers, talk on their cell phones, watch TV, go to work, go on vacation or go the supermarket to buy food. They must get up when the sun comes up, hunt for food, stay close to home and live the way their ancestors did.  No one knows what caused the electricity to go out. No one but the people with Hounds.

Arrow: Wealthy dick around town Oliver Queen is shipwrecked on a remote island (it’s probably exotic and mysterious too) and returns a changed man. He is determined to right the wrongs of the world by shooting arrows at people because using guns would be too easy. No one, not even the detective on his trail has figured out his secret identity because there is not a single bloodhound living in Starling City.

Beauty and the Beast:  Catherine Chandler is a police officer who was saved from the villain who murdered her family by a doctor named Vincent Keller who is supposed to be dead but is really alive.  For mysterious reasons (perhaps having to do with an island?) he lives apart from society.  Apparently when he is angry he turns into a destructive beast unable to control his super human strength and heightened senses. Although he correctly judges that being turned into a bloodhound makes living among people a challenge Catherine thinks the long floppy ears, pendulous flews and excessive facial wrinkles are pretty darn cute.

Emily Owens, MD:  A group of doctors act like high school students, which is preferable to the other way around.  However, Emily Owens spends all kinds of time and money going to medical school only to find out that she’s still not popular which was the whole point of the exercise. She gets a large, stinky, loud, drool-flinging Hound so at least now she has an excuse for not being popular that has nothing to do with her actual personality.

The Mindy Project: Another doctor as high school student show wherein a doctor wonders why she can’t meet Mister Right. The answer is probably that shallow high school guys are not overly enthusiastic about any gal who don't look like a cheerleader so she gets an energetic bloodhound.  Now she has a pile of new reasons why she still can’t meet Mister Right but she's in great shape.

Chicago Fire:  A bunch of people who hate each other have to work together.  They solve the problem by replacing the firehouse Dalmatian with a large, obnoxious Hound so now they all hate him.

Well you get the idea.  Anyway, Thanksgiving will soon be upon us but it is impossible to imagine that I can eat any more turkey than I already do.  This year Pluto is coming to stay with Elizabeth while his humans are out of town so I am looking forward to spending time with him; probably a lot more forward than folks in the neighborhood who have to listen to me spending time with him.   I hope everyone has as much fun as I am planning to have and remembers that food that mysteriously vanishes from counters, plates and refrigerators has probably just gone to a remote, mysterious and exotic island and has absolutely nothing to do with your Hound.

Until next time,

Wimsey, Brat of the Week