Friday, August 23, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #316

Entry #316
August 23, 2013

Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey, back at last and manning (or dogging) my usual post on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where August feels more like June which felt more like August.  However, while the rest of the world takes August easy my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth are inundated with professional responsibilities which means that I am inundated with Houndly responsibilities-- principal among them is to make sure that amidst all the busy-ness my needs remain paramount. So bear with my spotty reportage in August.
Let’s see, Maria has to work late pretty much every night in August and when she works really late, I get to stay over with Elizabeth so I can be properly companioned and looked after.  This is always a great deal of fun if for no other reason that I like to pit the gaseous contents of my digestive tract  (I like to sleep with my nether bits pointed at her head) against the sleep inducing powers of Ambien.  When they invent a pill that can keep someone asleep while they are being asphyxiated with Hound gas I want to invest in that company. In the meantime, August is not yet over and there remains every hope that I can hang out with Elizabeth again and force her to cook for me and then disrupt her sleep with the results.
Elizabeth, on the other hand, suddenly had two new projects come in at once so she too, is very busy which means that it is my duty to take up as much of her time as possible and to squeak my Hedgie during important telephone call (which by definition are actually not important telephone calls because they are not about me). Part of her time, however, is spent playing around with her new Samsung Galaxy S4 phone that she acquired to keep her Blackberry Z10 company. She is threatening to turn her fax number into an iPhone 6 which means that Maria and I are threatening to enroll her in a 12-step program for gadget and gizmo addiction.  Of course she has been using the new device to take some nifty pictures of me which allows for some degree of mitigation.   And she had a real chuckle when the phone salesman tried to talk her into a hugely expensive screen protector since, expensive or not, it would offer no protection against that which it needs protection against. Namely, me and my copious secretions, both salivary and follicular.

Any ahroo, with my humans being so busy and it being summer, life has been a bit uneventful. Of course this didn’t preclude me from turning a 15 minute vet visit to draw blood for some routine tests into a 2 ½ hour outing owing to my insistence on visiting LUSH, a purveyor of natural handmade cosmetics on the way home.  In the first place the store smells amazing and in the second place it was chock a block with ladies who were eager to admire me and to pet me.  The fact that the store had a consignment of freeze-dried treats, courtesy of the pet shop around the corner, had absolutely nothing to do with it.  LUSH is now on my “tow to” list but it has not yet ascended to the heights of the “tractor to” status enjoyed by the our local JP Morgan Chase bank where the combination of a bowl of large, cheap cookies, the cool tile floor and the AC cranked up into the Arctic range have made visits thereto one of my chief summer obsessions.  And whereas pet shops are used to giant, smelly, drool flinging Hounds (to the extent that any commercial establishment is used to giant, smelly drool flinging Hounds), my appearance at the bank is inevitably greeted with shock and awe.  Consequently, JP Morgan has now become the epicenter of the Wimsey Universe and all locations lead thither. Fortunately, Elizabeth is always in need of an ATM to fund my gelato purchases and to deposit my many insurance checks.
And speaking of locations to which I obsessionally tow, I continue to be relentless in my pursuit of visits to the Boat Basin Café. I even managed to crash a private party.  I began drooling all over one guest whose lack of concern initially seemed related to the large glass of vodka that he was drinking until he proudly produced pictures of his dogs at home—2 large Newfoundlands that made me look petite.  Anyway, there are no good pictures of me being surrounded and adored at this party as Elizabeth tends to keep two hands firmly on the leash at these moments, but she did manage to squeeze in one as I was being taken (dragged) away.  Now I visit that section of the Boat Basin at every opportunity to see if that party is still in progress.

And Maria and I have been running into my Frenchie friend Pluto quite a bit in the morning which means that no one in the neighborhood is sleeping much these days owing to my acoustically dynamic greeting style. It also means that Elizabeth and I have been running into neighbors quite a bit who start conversations with “Is this the dog that....” They get no further because Elizabeth always says “yes,” since she pretty much knows that whatever it is, I AM “the dog that....” I have not been able to teach Pluto to bay (he seldom ventures anything beyond vigorous snorting) but I have had greater professorial success with instructing my canine companions on the fine art of standing on one’s head, as demonstrated here. I now have several non-Hound adherents who realize how attention-getting a gesture it is. The other day I was standing on my head for a lovely lady pit bull of whom I am quite fond when she reciprocated much to the amusement of all. But especially me. If all dogs were more like Hounds they would lead much more satisfying lives. Their humans not so much.

Well I know that everyone must have one burning question these days—am I using my new Kuranda bed that my humans purchased for my outdoor napping pleasure in out little yard.  So here’s the skinny (or the wrinkly): yes and no.  The back story is that my humans have started a new tradition—after Elizabeth has finished her volunteer work at the animal shelter on Saturday evenings she appears with a bottle of cold white wine, a container of mixed nuts and an apple and we all repair to the back yard where I demand to be fed a substantial amount of the apple and then make my humans comb through the nuts to feed me the peanuts of which I am inordinately fond.  This last Saturday pizza was also produced and I was lured onto my Kuranda bed (which I had been studiously ignoring since its arrival) and fed some of this pizza. So naturally on Sunday when I felt the urge to munch a slice I got up on the Kuranda and waited. When no pizza was forthcoming I took a nap instead.  My humans were ecstatic and pictures of me napping on the Kuranda were flashed around the world. However, it is best not to count one’s chickens before they’re hatched (especially if there is a Hound around) and I have not used the bed since.
Now as you can imagine, my humans get along quite well because the principle mission of both their lives is me.  However, they do disagree from time to time. Lately this involves Maria’s use of the word “spoiled” in reference to me. Elizabeth dislikes this word (probably because she is the one doing the lion’s share of the spoiling) because it implies that something that was once good is no longer so and she doesn’t think that this applies to me. She prefers the word entitled.

How to Determine if your Hound is Entitled

The Hound insists on chewing his crunchy, crumbly ostrich bone at the edge of the futon and then staring at his human to retrieve it for him when he shoves it off. Repeatedly.

After the Hound has had a session with his ostrich bone his human must carefully vacuum up all the sharp pieces that he has distributed throughout the apartment.  The only time that his human feels comfortable depriving him of the ostrich bone is when she is giving him a bully stick.

All furniture is measured carefully before purchase to make sure that it is deep enough to comfortably accommodate the Hound’s expansive posterior.

The Hound’s human has to squeeze herself into the tiny space allotted to her on the bed when the Hound decides to sprawl the wide way.

If the Hound is occupying the entire couch, his human watches TV on the floor.

If the Hound is occupying the entire bed, his human sleeps on the couch.

The Hound is endlessly scratched and petted and told he is a good boy even though he is never a good boy.

The Hound greets his human by exposing his belly for her to rub.

After being leashed up for a walk the Hound climbs onto the couch repeatedly so he can be bribed off of it again.

Hound will not eat cups of gelato or yogurt that are placed on the ground for him—he insists that his human spoon-feed him.

The Hound’s humans routinely carry 4 or 5 different types of snacks for him and the Hound spits them out until he finds the one that he wants.

The Hound’s human is forced to visit the bank when she has no banking business because the Hound likes their cookies.
The Hound’s human is forced to visit the Boat Basin Café when she doesn’t want to eat or drink anything because the Hound likes their cookies.

The Hound’s human is forced to visit all the pet shops in the neighborhood when she has nothing to buy because the Hound likes their cookies.

The Hound’s human scours the Internet for products that will interest the Hound when she should be doing other things, like earning a living.
The human’s coat is crammed into a corner because the Hound’s wardrobe monopolizes the hallway coat hooks.

The Hound’s water bowl must be refilled after each use because he doesn’t like drool in his water.

The Hound’s human wears a sweater indoors in the summer because the Hound likes the AC turned down low.
The Hound’s humans make a trip to the Farmer’s Market and the only things they buy are freeze-dried duck hearts and ostrich strips.

The Hound has his own credit card for all the charges that he likes to run up at the vet’s.

When on a road trip humans must limit the size and amount of baggage that they bring because the Hound’s stuff takes up most of the room in the large SUV that they were forced to rent to accommodate it.

If you have it, the Hound wants it. If the Hound wants it he gets it.

Well, those are just a few examples of how to determine if your Hound is entitled.  There are as many other examples of Hound entitlement as there are Hounds.  But no one spoiled us. We come that way.

Before I leave you I would like to reference my last post on the many uses of Hound drool. At the time I only had 8 uses, not a nice round 10.  You will be happy to know that this situation has been remedied. Our friend Bentley contributed  #9--- his humans find drool to be an excellent paint remover. And on the Sunday following the blog post Elizabeth came home from a particularly productive walk to find that her jeans stood up by themselves.  So the #10 use for drool is fabric starch.  And I misspoke when I described drool as neither a liquid nor a solid.  While this is most often the case, I forgot about the drool that fails like a bevy of raindrops at or on my humans’ feet when I desire to be fed something that they are eating. This drool is clearly liquid as evidenced by the large pools that it forms.

Well I think I will leave it there for this week.  I have a busy weekend of being entitled.

Until next time,

Wimsey, an Unspoiled Hound


Friday, August 9, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #315

Entry #315
August 9, 2013

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where summer activities continue apace. For my part this mostly involves air conditioning and naps and for my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth’s part this mostly involves feeding me desirable things to get me to abandon air conditioning and naps and to go outside to take care of business. Unfortunately I tend to view the business to be taken care of more in the light of opportunities to hoover the ground for discarded comestibles and to socialize with admiring humans and fellow canines.  There is nothing that encourages anal retentiveness in a Hound quite so much as humans who wish him to eliminate in a straightforward and expeditious manner. It is a fundamental tenet of Houndism that if humans want you to do something it is something that ought not to be done (along with its corollary that if humans don’t want you to do something it is manifestly your Houndly duty to do it).
But anyway there is no question that eating and napping played a very large role in this week’s affairs.  So let’s start with eating.  It is very hot outside so I generally wish to consume things that are cold, such as a slice of turkey fresh from the fridge or a nice, tasty cup of gelato. Sadly the Grom Gelato store that was around the corner from me closed and I have been forced to consume alternative gelatos. So here for the edification of humans and untutored Hounds I present a volume from the Wimsey Guide Series on How to be an Effective Hound:

Wimsey’s Guide to Cadging Gelato

Step 1:  Approach the counter and gaze casually into the distance as if contemplating whether the available gelato is worth the effort of procuring and consuming it.

Step 2:  Inhale deeply and smell the gelato aroma whilst reading the gelato menu.

Step 3: Attract the attention of the manager and make her aware of the presence of a gourmet gelato-loving Hound.

Step 4:  Entertain the manager, perhaps by baying loudly in her face when she asks if you’d like some gelato.

Step 5: Place your order for a cup of vanilla gelato.

Step 6:  When the cup of gelato is placed on the ground in front of you, look horrified and confused and have your servants educate the manager about how gelato must be spoon fed by a kneeling human. Have the human demonstrate.

Step 7: Enjoy the gelato.  Very much in the manner of the kings of France I like to be watched and admired whilst I eat.  There is nothing quite so gratifying as eating something delicious while those around you are not.

Thus fortified, I was able to continue on to Central Park and to hunt for a shady place to lie down.  This is not as simple as it seems because the only acceptable shady places to lie down are those in which it is uncomfortable for my humans also to do so.  I prefer them to stand and admire me lying down in a shady place and if they attempt to shirk their duty and sit I get up and find a different spot.  This tends to lead to a number of “I hate you’s” which loosely translates as “Goody boy, Wimsey.”

And speaking of lying down, it had come to my humans’ attention that there are a paucity of comfortable spots in my little back garden in which to lay owing to the fact that most of the garden is graveled over to deter rodentian residence.  There are now two Hound shaped sections on what was formerly known as the flowerbeds, which apart from some paving stones, are my only napping options.  Much research was done on solutions to the pressing problem of my outdoor comfort and this week an XXL Kuranda bed (in Wimsey Green, my most flattering color) arrived.  As you can see it is getting a lot of use.  But to be fair, the weather has not been conducive to outdoor lounging with or without a Kuranda so it remains to be seen whether or not I decide to nap on it.  However, according to the Wimsey Algorithm whereby the degree to which I will use something is inversely proportional to its expense, it’s not looking promising.

Anyhow, it has been a quiet summer week—no royal babies or sexting politicians to discuss-- but there is one topic that is so fascinating that my humans discuss it endlessly. Drool.  Principally they debate whether it is a liquid or a solid, since it displays properties of both—it drips on the carpet and on clothing like a liquid but you can also remove it as an intact string or glob from your coffee like a solid.  And although I produce enormous quantities of the stuff year round, summer is a special time of enhanced drool output.  My humans have often wondered if my drool could be turned into a commercial product so as to offset some of the costs of living with a high living Hound such as myself. If spider silk is Nature’s Kevlar, what could drool be good for? I have some ideas:

Wimsey’s Drool Apps Or Clever Things to do with Drool

1. Sunscreen: I am confident that no nasty ultra violet rays can penetrate drool’s viscous goodness, thus protecting the skin when humans are outdoors endlessly perambulating with their Hounds.  And since so much of what I produce ends up on my humans’ faces anyway they don’t have to worry about remembering to apply it.

2.   Do-it-yourself post-its: Take ordinary cheap paper and turn it into post-its! This not only cuts down on the office supply bill but also enables you to freely post notes around the house to remember to rub the Hound’s belly hourly, keep track of which cookies are his current favorites and reminders to search for new toys to keep him amused.

3.  Hair mousse: Forget about having to buy expensive hair products—drool quickly dries to provide a firm hold for any hairstyle.  It’s especially useful for short hair where it makes a lovely Mohawk when humans fail to notice that its been deposited and run their fingers through their hair.

4.  Batiking clothing:  The BoHo look never goes out of style and you can become your own fashion designer by creating one of a kind garments with a variety of attractive swirls and organic patterns in a variety of colors and textures (results vary depending on what your Hound has been up to or in to lately).  Sell them on eBay and Etsy for those extra shekels so needed by those who live with Hound$.

5.  Christmas tree ornaments: tinsel icicles are a cliché, plastic ones are liable to end up in your Hound’s belly requiring expensive extraction surgery and the real ones melt.  So why not eschew the artificial and take a natural approach to the problem of Christmas tree icicles? Droolsicles won’t melt, they glisten like the real thing and your Hound probably has plenty of them in his belly already.

6.  Anti-personnel spray: Are there people in your life that you don’t like to be around or who always stand too close or who are compulsive huggers or who have personal hygiene challenges? The appearance of a drool flinging Hound solves the problem instantly and insures that you can move about in a large and secure perimeter.

7.  Squeaky hinges: This is an especially appropriate application since I frequently make a noise that sounds like a squeaky hinge when I want something but not badly enough to bay for it. In addition to its liquid/solid properties drool is exceptionally lubricious and is an excellent fix for anything that needs oiling, such as the refrigerator door squeak that causes your Hound to dematerialize from the couch and rematerialize with his head in the fridge.

8.  Recreation: It’s a rainy day and the kids are bored.  What to do? Turn your hardwood or linoleum floors into an instant, super slippery ice rink! NB: failure to remove drool from floors could be hazardous to your health; robust health insurance recommended.

Yes, I know, there really should be 10 products—8 is not a satisfying number-- but unsatisfying numbers are much in my thoughts today as it is Avogadro’s birthday.  For those of you who remember your high school chemistry, Avogadro is the guy who invented Avogadro’s number—6x 1023 which is either the number of particles in a mole of something or the number of toys and bones that lay scattered across my humans’ apartments. But I think that I should have a number as well. Wimsey’s Number could be 130—both my weight and the number of times you can tell me to do something and I won’t do it.

I think I will leave it there for this week. Have fun and don’t forget the sunscreen.  My humans never do.

Until next time,

Wimsey, A freeloading gelatoing Hound

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #314

Entry #314
August 3, 2013

Hello Everyone, it is me, Wimsey (I know, it should read “It is I, Wimsey” to be grammatically correct but taking liberties with grammar is the least of the liberties we Hounds take and grammatical liberties are far less expensive than those that we take with our humans’ time and possessions) coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where summer is in full swing in the sun and I am in full nap in the shade.  But never fear, this does not mean that I have been any less annoying, trying and aggravating to my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth.  So here is a brief synopsis:
Sunday: My humans wanted to go one way down the Central Park bridle path and, I wanted to go another way. The classic Hound vs. Human stalemate that results in a choreography that is minuet-like in its precision: Step A: I lay down and refuse to move. Step B: My humans tug at my leash. Step C: I roll on my back so they can’t tug on my leash. Step D: People stop to admire me doing this. Step E: I get up and shake. Step F: My humans tug on my leash. Repeat starting with Step A.  The stalemate is generally broken either by going in the direction that I want or by bribing me with turkey to go the direction that they want. Either way, I win.
Monday: Monday was hot and sunny so I dragged Elizabeth down to the Boat Basin Café during our afternoon walk, extorted Milk Bones from the staff, spat out the latest gourmet cookie that Elizabeth tried to use to get me to leave the Boat Basin Café and finally lay down in one of my favorite fields by the Hudson to while away the afternoon watching the boats go by while Elizabeth tried not to think about all the stuff that she should be doing instead of whiling away the afternoon watching the boats go by. That evening it was cool so I decided to take my humans to Central Park for an indefinite perambulation.  They tried to convince themselves that eating dinner at 10pm is sophisticated and European.

Tuesday:  Tuesday was hot and sunny so rather than going to one of the nice shady parks I decided to go on a tour of the hot city streets.  Fortunately these all seem to lead to air-conditioned pet shops with attentive staffs proffering free snacks. Elizabeth felt guilty so she bought a de-stinking wipe for me because she’s already purchased all of the toys and bones that these places sell.  Owing to this circumstance she was forced to use the Dr. Fosters and Smith catalog to find me a toy that I don’t already own—in this case a giant green hippo. She was pleased with her choice when it arrived until she found the packing peanuts in my water bowl.

Wednesday:  Wednesday I decided that I did not wish to walk and only after much pleading did I lift my leg a few times before repairing to Elizabeth’s apartment for a large yam, turkey and kibble lunch and some serious Zs. The serious Zs led to some serious Fs since I had consumed 13 cups of kibble in a little over 24 hours creating a beehive of gaseous activity in my digestive tract.  Elizabeth discovered that the exhaust feature of her powerful, new keep-the-Hound-cool air conditioner was no match for 13 cups of digesting kibble.

Thursday and Friday: Disaster! Maria took these as vacation days from work so I had to stay home with her instead of going over to Elizabeth’s where I was at a crucial stage in a bully stick deconstruction. I vented my spleen by trying to drag her to Elizabeth’s anyway and by being exceptionally difficult about my eye ointment.  Elizabeth showed up for my evening walks and tried to make amends by feeding me another new snack which I promptly spat out at her.  We Wimseys cannot be bought! (At least not by anything that does not come from Fairway’s deli or meat counter).

So that was the condensed version of my week.  But in addition to being a time to avoid the heat and sunshine and bask in the AC, summer is also a time for movies. This year’s crop has not been much of a success and when you take a closer look at them it is obvious what the issues are:

Wimsey’s Summer Movie Critique

After Earth: Another movie set in the future in which humans have destroyed the earth and are living on another planet.  However, through various plot devices the characters have to go back there so the audience can appreciate the full horror of Homo sapiens mismanagement.  Yawn.  Why is it that Earth 1,000 years in the future is always polluted, destroyed, irradiated or ruled by apes? And the damage isn’t even blamed on Hounds which would make it much more believable. And as for the apes part—we would have chosen squirrels.

The Internship: A comedy in which two idiots go to work at Google because corporations have an acute shortage of them.
Now You See Me: A team of illusionists’ pull off bank heists during their act. And then the Family von Trapp comes to sing.

Man of Steel: Instead of yet another Superman flick, what about one about a Super Hound: “Up on the couch! Look! It’s an adorable stuffed toy! It’s a methane factory! It’s an obnoxious dog! It’s SuperHound! Yes it’s SuperHound—a loud visitor from the planet Krypton who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of normal canines.  SuperHound who can leap tall kitchen counters with a single bound, race a speeding rump roast to the refrigerator, eat furniture legs with his bare teeth and who, disguised as A Bloodhound, a mild-mannered canine loafing around a great Metropolis fights the never ending battle to get his own way.”  Now this is a film worth paying the price of a bottle of gin for.

This Is the End: Why wait 1,000 years for visions of an apocalyptic earth? The Book of Revelations meets Hollywood with predictable results. Apparently sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll are frowned upon in apocalyptic circles.  Who knew.

Monsters University: No, not a film about an institution that trains Hounds to be show dogs but an animated prequel about how a couple of monsters became friends while studying how to scare kids.  Of course we Hounds don’t need to go to a university to know how to scare kids-- that baying at them, knocking them over and stealing their toys works just fine.

World War Z:  A virus turns people into Zombies! (This happens every winter when Maria gets a cold but no one makes a movie about it). Fortunately for the Zombie-threatened world Brad Pitt needs to make money to support all his kids.

If you liked these, there is another Zombie movie (RIPD) about Zombie police officers (Zombies are the new Vampires), another resurrected action hero (The Lone Ranger) and a movie in which Bruce Willis and his team try to prevent an apocalypse, nuclear this time  (Red 2), and so many other riveting products of Hollywood’s recycling mill that space prevents me from critiquing them all. But this is excellent news for me since it means that my humans will not be leaving me alone any time soon to visit the cinema because watching me nap is more entertaining.  I have even created a Hound shaped space in the ivy bed in the back garden for this very purpose where I can dream about animated Hound Zombies roaming the earth to create the next apocalypse by digging enormous sinkholes, poisoning the atmosphere with noxious gasses and consuming the earth’s food supply until thwarted by the heroic triumvirate of Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Beethoven.

Anyway, my humans can always use the spare cash they save by not going to the movies to pay their electric bills. We Hounds are addicted to our own comfort and our humans are addicted to us so it all works out. Now they just have to figure out how to keep me air conditioned when I go outside.

Until next time,

Wimsey, the Summer Zombie Hound