Friday, July 18, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #353

                     Entry # 353

July 18, 2014

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, the clubfooted wonder, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I have been leading a medically exciting life.  For those of you not following the highly fascinating Saga of My Toe, I had a benign growth on one of my rear toes that periodically grew, bled, became infected, etc. causing my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth no end of anxiety and vet visits.  The hope was to treat it via drugs, compresses and ointments to avoid surgery. This was fine with me since I became quite fond of the thing as it enabled me to extort belly rubs in return for not licking it.  Indeed, whenever I felt in need of a belly rub, all I had to do was to park myself conspicuously (although given my size, the conspicuousness probably goes without saying) in front of one of my humans, lick it and wait for the “Wimsey stop licking your toe” command and then roll over and wait for my reward.

Anyway, whilst Elizabeth was away disporting herself shamelessly in Tuscany, the toe thing decided to undergo a major and bloody growth spurt. This led to my visit last Thursday to the orthopedic surgeon at Blue Pearl who usually sees me for phantom ailments that mysteriously vanish when he examines me. But there are no flies growing on him and he didn’t get to be a specialist orthopedic surgeon for nothing, so the minute he clapped eyes on me he helpfully observed “Aha, I see that this time there really is something the matter with Wimsey.” Fortunately, the thing was just confined to the top layer of skin so the next morning I was unceremoniously hauled back down to the hospital for its surgical excision.  But not before Elizabeth gave the vet her speech about how bloodhounds, despite their robust appearance, have metabolisms that are akin to the delicate ones of greyhounds and that we are actually quite easy to kill with a surfeit of anesthesia.  She also expounded upon how I am a particularly poor metabolizer of drugs that are cleared through the liver and that a slow titration of anesthesia drugs is crucial.  I am sure that she was dying to give him a lecture on the biochemistry of the cytochromes, but somehow she forbore. Elizabeth is very popular among veterinarians because they always appreciate her helpful suggestions that they try not to kill me.


But fortunately, I am not disposed of so easily, and before I knew it I woke up with a giant bandage covering half my leg, which, to me seemed a tad excessive. The surgery went very well and the vet commented how the skin on my toe fell right back in place with no tension, so the healing should be quick.  My humans were very happy to hear that all my excess skin for once served a purpose other than mulching the carpet, depositing sharp pieces of kibble under the bedclothes, secreting unwanted medication, serving as a reservoir for drool and growing copious crops of yeast.  

And as usual, there was a plan afoot (every pun intended) to cut my nails whilst I was too incapacitated to resist. And as with all other such plots, someone forgot (probably because they were too absorbed in the slow titration of the anesthesia).  So the first thing my humans noticed was that 1) I was alive and the second thing they noticed was 2) I was still in possession of my magnificent talons. I have always believed that my nails are under the protection of The Universe since even the most foolproof plans to cut them resulted in failure. Nails 10, Humans 0. If there were a World Cup of nails, mine would be the champions.

But on the subject of nails, I now have a clubfoot (or hoof, depending on which human you ask) instead of my usual taloned appendage, which makes having a scratch something of a challenge. The first time I tried, I kind of looked at the thing with that “what the hell is this?” look so well known to my humans. I also find that climbing up on beds and furniture and such with a slippery bandage rather than with grippy claws is a bit difficult but this is more than made up for by the alacrity with which my humans jump to my assistance. I do regret, though, that it is not on my front foot because it would make an excellent thwacking enhancement. Bigger, better, and larger bruises!

Anyway, my surgery was scheduled early in the morning last Friday so I could go home by early evening the same day. After having Pet Chauffeur take me home, the plan was for me to sleep off the rigors of the day and for the ladies to drink Italian cocktails in the backyard and to order in a vast amount of caloric take out food to celebrate my successful toe surgery. However, like most of the plans that my humans make that involve me, it did not work out.  But first, they had to figure out how to get the liquid buprenorphine pain killer down my gullet. In the end, Elizabeth mixed it with organic vanilla yogurt and spoon-fed it to me the way she does when I demand to share her pre-walk snack yogurt. The stuff didn’t taste great, but as I have said many times, what I am being fed is less important than the fact that I am being served it by my humans. (The next day, Maria decided to try squirting the stuff down my throat and to say that this was not happening was an understatement).

So you can see that my humans had every expectation that after a busy day under the knife and then yogurted with pain meds, I would drift off peacefully to sleep while they ate and drank unimpeded.  But as usual, they underestimated The Power of the Hound. (Although I will say that in my drugged stupor I might actually have lain down on the kuranda bed; not to worry, it hasn’t happened again since I’ve been off the drugs). So imagine their surprise when the cocktails and nuts appeared and so did I! I assumed my usual position with my dripping muzzle over Elizabeth’s lap and demanded my share of the mixed nuts at cocktail time and food during dinnertime.  And lest you think it hasn’t been tried, if Elizabeth moves her lap, I move my dripping muzzle. This forces her to return home looking like she has had an unfortunate accident of the lavatorial kind.  I also demanded to be fed pita bread dipped in humus. My humans weren’t sure that hummus was good for me but acceded to my demands for it anyway under the theory that if I survived the anesthesia I would survive the hummus. It is one of the many benefits of being basically gigantic that it takes a lot of anything to do me harm.

I was not very interested in walking the first four days after surgery and my humans couldn’t decide whether it was the hoof or the painkillers. However, when I charged out of the apartment baying loudly the day after my last dose of painkillers, they had their answer. Maria is relieved that she doesn’t have to pretend to eat the drugged yogurt anymore.  I will get the stiches out on Monday and until then I am enjoying all the sympathy the giant bandage elicits—at least from people other than my humans.  I managed to get the bandage wet once this week (saran wrap and plastic bags being no match for a Hound), and had the toe rebandaged at my regular vet’s.  The Hoof II is just as big as Hoof I and I really think a bandage that goes half way up my leg is a bit much for a small incision on my toe--but then again I get a lot of sympathy.

Well if there was ever any doubt that I am a talented fellow, I think that writing 1300 words about my toe should put those doubts to rest. Of course you’ve just read 1300 words about my toe….

In non-toe related news: you’ve heard me relate many times that my humans consider me to be pretty horrible—probably it’s all those “Wretched animal!” and “I hate him!” texts that fly between them on a regular basis. And here is one small example from yesterday as to why:

2pm: I seem to be very gassy. Oh well, I’ll just take a nap so I don’t have to smell it.

4:45pm: Elizabeth seems desperate for a 15-minute catnap on the couch.

4:46: I now have an urgent need to arise from my afternoon nap and engage in a noisy and prolonged drink of water.

4:48: Why is Elizabeth lying on the couch under a fluffy blanket? Is she OK? I’ll go check.

4:49: Poked Elizabeth then noticed that my muzzle was dripping so wiped it on the fluffy blanket.  Waved my tail at her to indicate that I would like a scratch.

4:50: Elizabeth declined to provide scratch so I have to sit down and have a noisy, grunting scratching session by myself.

5:00:  Scratching complete. Elizabeth still on the couch. Is she OK? I’ll check.

5:01: I am bored. Think I’ll lie down next to the couch and chew my bully stick.

5:10: Bully sticks always make me thirsty. Time for a drink.

5:11 My muzzle is wet. Fortunately there is that fluffy blanket that Elizabeth is under on the couch.

5:12 Elizabeth up. She seems annoyed about something. I know, let’s go for a walk! Perhaps it will help the gas problem I’ve had the entire afternoon.

5:13: Elizabeth getting ready for our walk.  Think I’ll eat a bowl of kibble.

5:15: Apparently I can’t go for a walk after eating kibble.  Just because I’ve never been walked after eating a bowl of kibble doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. So I’ll just keep asking to go for a walk anyway. You never know, right?

6:14: Elizabeth getting ready for the walk again. Time to demand my share of the pre-walk yogurt.

6:16: We’re out! Think I’ll sit in this nice field and watch the dogs play in the dog run and that nice lady feed the squirrels.   Was there something else I was supposed to be doing? Hmmm. Can’t remember. Anyway, it couldn’t have been that important.

6:17: Elizabeth texting. Again.

My humans are so easily annoyed, it’s hardly even a challenge! But they are now both working hard on getting my art book ready to be published on Amazon, so when they are done dealing with me in the flesh (or more accurately the fur), they have to deal with me in pictures.  I am desperately eager for these books to be published (they will come out in four volumes) since the more of me the merrier. Or the more annoying. Your choice.

Until next time,

Wimsey BigFoot (and mouth)

PS: Did I mention I was undergoing mid-summer shedding?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #352

Entry #352
July 4, 2014

Happy July 4th Everyone! It’s me, Wimsey coming to you from my rained out barbecue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Not to worry—it has been postponed until tomorrow and I am to have an entire piece of salmon from the fancy fish store—that is if my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth can figure out how to work the barbecue thing-y without burning down the yard.

I have been absent so long that I am sure many of you thought that I would never return. But as my humans know, it is not so easy to get rid of me. When we were last together, Elizabeth was going to leave me for ten days to go hang out with clients and friends in the UK and Tuscany.  Now I must say that I am usually a very easy-going and agreeable Hound but when something Displeases me I will admit that my behavior undergoes an alteration that is not always to the liking of my humans. So when Maria started taking me out for my midday walk instead of Elizabeth I was extremely Displeased.  This led to numerous emails and texts flying across the pond mostly on the subject of how I was taking my displeasure out on Maria. I admit I may have ignored Maria a bit by refusing to acknowledge her presence and always turning my back on her when we were in the same room. Also, I stared at the door when she came in to let her know that she was not the correct human. She also was only able to administer my eye ointment and clean out my ears on two occasions during the ten days. And I may have towed over to Elizabeth’s building on each of my four walks a day.  I was also listless and depressed, but who among us would not be when a treasured servant leaves us?

Elizabeth got back around 6-ish last Thursday and she immediately went around the corner to Fairway to grocery shop. This meant that when I came out of my building at 6:45 her scent was all over the place meaning that I engaged in furious nose twitching.  Although I was cruelly prevented from following her scent to the shops, I did the next best thing and parked my bottom on a park bench across from her building.  Maria had to summon Elizabeth from her unpacking—it was all “You have to come out. He knows that you’re in there and he’s not leaving.” And what a joyful reunion it was! So much slobber, so much baying. Then I sat on her.

Elizabeth did send me some pictures from Tuscany, including a photo of a lovely boar that was on the grounds of the spa of the thermal spring whose laxative waters she was supposed to drink. Fortunately she just sipped a bit but all the toilet talk among her fellow invitees made her feel like she had never left me. (Did I mention that my humans have an inexhaustible ability to discuss my eliminatory activities?). My ancestors hunted juicy boar and I was very disappointed that she did not bring one back for me. But apart from the fact that I was not there (or maybe because of it) she had a lovely time and got to wear real-person clothes and not Hound clothes and even got to wear shoes with heels!  (There is a pair of white trousers in her closet with my name on them!), She actually had many fascinating conversations that were not about me (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one), admired some decorative men (fortunately they were taken—I would NOT have approved) and ate her weight in gelato (for which I am intensely jealous; it is after all the fact that I am the gelato-eater of the group that keeps my humans’ clothes fitting the way that they are supposed to).

Anyway, absent an actual juicy boar, I think that statue would have looked great in my yard. Kind of like Hound food porn.  And speaking of the yard, our friend Ilonka came to visit to give her opinion on it. Sadly, Elizabeth was away at the time but both humans were happy to know that according to Ilonka the yard isn’t being overrun by weeds—all those things they keep cutting back on are actual plants. Ilonka knew the names of them but Maria was not able to remember the name of a single one when Elizabeth asked (gardening, I fear, being right up there with learning to use the barbecue. Good thing I like raw salmon). However, my humans already know the names of the plants: this is the plant that Wimsey likes to eat, this is the plant that Wimsey likes to nap on instead of on his kuranda bed, this is the plant that Wimsey likes to dig up, this is another plant that Wimsey likes to eat, etc.…

But my humans should know that I would never condescend to eat and nap on weeds. As you may have surmised, the continued shunning of the expensive kuranda bed continues unabated. But we are now back to all having Saturday night dinner in the yard. This is preceded by mixed nuts with wine or cocktails which means that eating the nuts is preceded by my humans having to feed them to me, one nut at a time as I prefer. One must savor each one to the fullest. And on the subject of cocktails, those who read this blog know that on Elizabeth’s last trip (Maui) she came back with a recipe for mai tais. This time she came back with a recipe for an aperitif called an Italian Spritz (prosecco, aperole, club soda and orange slice) that have formed the basis of a new round of alcoholic experiments. But as I always remind her, drinking a mai tai on a Hawaiian beach or an Italian spritz at a tony hotel in Tuscany is not the same thing as drinking them in a small, ugly yard surrounded by buildings and containing an intrusive, drool-flinging Hound. And she wonders why they never taste the same.
Anyway, not many picture this week as Elizabeth (my photographer) came home with a pile of work and the weather has been too hot for my usual extended walks. I am an air conditioning kind of guy and tried to hide when my cooling coat made its first appearance of the season.  But these projects that Elizabeth is so preoccupied with seem to involve a lot of writing. Since I taught her everything she knows about writing I am sure it is a challenge for her to write business English which is supposed to feature short, active declarative sentences—the opposite of how I write! So it occurred to me that these short, active declarative sentences are vastly overrated and we have only to read The Declaration of Independence to know why. Long sentences and passive constructions have never read so well. But would The Declaration sound like if it were written in a more modern style?

Wimsey’ Business English Declaration of Independence


TO: King George III, CEO British Empire
FROM: The Founding Fathers
DATE: July 4, 1776
RE: Termination for Cause

Dear Royal Highness,

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that human events sometimes make it necessary for new Managements to dissolve political bonds with former Managements. The new Management must exercise its right to the separate and equal station to which they are entitled by both the Laws of Nature and the Laws of God  (to which, I believe we both fully subscribe). Nevertheless, the new Management does feel that it is incumbent upon it, in the spirit of fairness and transparency, to provide you with the rationale behind our recent acquisition of your colony and of your subsequent dismissal as CEO. We assure you that, appearances to the contrary, these actions were not hasty nor poorly thought out. We think that in the end this will be a win-win for both parties.

Firstly, we here, at The United States, Inc. (formerly, The Colonies, Ltd.). believe the following:

1. Our Creator endowed us with a variety of highly important inalienable rights that apply across the board to the entirety of mankind. We feel that this is an important point to make since we also believe that Our Creator created all men (even those whose family connections enabled them to hold CEO positions in vast empires) equal.

2. The specific inalienable rights to which we refer in point 1, include, but are not limited to:

     ŸPursuit of Happiness

Furthermore, we believe that the mission of Managements is to ensure that these inalienable rights are available to all shareholders and that fulfillment of this mission underpins a Management’s very existence. When Managements fail in this mission, (as we believe you have), shareholders have the right (endowed, as are all rights referred to herein, by The Creator, whether or not so specified) to alter or replace those Managements with one better aligned with their interests and better qualified to promote Safety and Happiness.

Rest assured, therefore, these actions have not been taken lightly and our failure to act in the past is more a reflection of a natural inertia than our acquiescence to your unfortunate policies. Our current actions result from a long string of what we feel are abuses and usurpations on your part which we have no choice but to view as a desire by you to exercise unacceptable despotic rule. We believe that we have been more than patient with these tyrannical antics, but now feel that we have both a right and a duty to remedy the situation.

We have specifically documented the following failures on your part:

1. You have refused to support laws and policies that we believe are necessary for the public good.

2.  You have declared that laws cannot be passed without your prior approval but have then remained unresponsive to our requests for such approval.

3. You have engaged in bullying tactics verging on blackmail by refusing to give your approval to various laws unless those making them allow you to rule instead.

4.  You have called management meetings at locations and at times that you knew would make attendance impossible.

5. You have repeatedly fired people who disagreed with you.

6. You have refused to replace those that you fired which has resulted in a massive power vacuum that left shareholders vulnerable to hostile takeovers by competing French, Spanish and Native American interests.

7. You have repeatedly shot down all our attempts to promote personnel growth and real estate expansion that we believe are highly desirable.

8.  You have blocked our attempts to establish a judicial system and insisted that you hire all judges and that your office pay their salaries in order to control them.

9.  You expanded your military presence here without our consent and for the sole purpose of intimidation and harassment and then forced us to feed them as well.

10. The military mentioned in #9 refused to obey civilian authorities, and as a result of your direct encouragement they placed themselves above the law.

11.  You tried to single handedly replace us with a bunch of hand picked associates who agreed with your ideas.

12.  Again, we must recur to those troops that you sent who were expensive and not only were not value added but actually engaged in criminal activities for which they were not punished.

13. You cut off our global trading capacities

14. You unilaterally imposed taxes.

15. You deprived us of jury trials and had dissenting stockholders deported for fictitious crimes

16. You wanted us to become part of Canada

17. You unilaterally revoked laws and altered our management structure and attempted to micromanage all governance without consulting us.

18. You waged war on us causing a tremendous amount of property damage and loss of life.

19. You sent vast armies and groups of mercenaries to subdue us when you were unable to win your arguments. The words perfidy, cruelty and barbarous have been variously used to describe your conduct and those of your henchmen. We believe that your conduct is incompatible with civilization.

20. You forced our sailors to work on your warships, killed a large number of people (a point that bears repeating), encouraged our enemies to attack us, etc. We found this conduct profoundly unhelpful.

I apologize in advance for the redundancy of several of these points, but we feel rather strongly about them and should you feel this list is insufficient or require more information we would, of course, be happy to supply it. We believe that the current list is of sufficient merit, however, to warrant your immediate termination.

Rest assured that we have tried on multiple occasions to contact you with reference to the matters listed above, but you have always been unavailable. We also attempted to discuss these matters with your representatives but these discussions proved unproductive. We have reluctantly concluded that your continued position with us is no longer tenable or to our mutual benefit. We suggest that therapy or counseling may prove useful and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
We therefore, as the New Management of the newly formed entity, The United States of America, Inc. declare that we are a free and independent entity and no longer have any relationship with our former CEO, His Majesty George III. We refer all future inquiries to his lawyers.

Management will now be solely responsible for such operations as declaring war, concluding peace, contracting alliances, establishing commerce, etc. that were previously the responsibility of our former CEO. We want to assure the public that we are all heavily invested in the new enterprise and have pledged our lives, fortunes and honor to it and believe that these assets, together with Divine Providence are more than sufficient to ensure a successful outcome. Please find below the signature of representatives of our thirteen new subsidiaries who look forward to serving you in the future.

Best regards,
The Founding Fathers

Well you get the idea.  Perhaps I will be able to help Elizabeth with her business writing after all.

Anyway, Happy July 4th everyone!

Until next time,

Wimsey, Gone for a few weeks but forgotten never (I hope)