Friday, March 30, 2007

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 10
March 30, 2007

Hello everyone. Wimsey here. Well my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth are pretty impressed these days with my knowledge of Newton’s Laws (see entry # 9) and it’s been all “Oh, I see, so it’s really Newton and not actually Wimsey who is responsible for dislocating my shoulder. I feel a lot better about that” and ‘Gee, now we can calculate with mathematical precision the exact degree of pain that Wimsey is going to inflict on us. How useful.”

Anyway, all this knowledge has got me thinking (it is a scurrilous lie that bloodhounds don’t think) that there are probably plenty of other subjects where humans could benefit from their applications to the Hound. For instance, think of all the people from all over the world who want to learn English (Personally, I find baying to be a far more expressive means of communication, but I will be the first to admit that it is incredibly difficult to master. Clearly humans are interested in trying to learn, however, because so many of them attempt to bay back at me. I humor them, but frankly they have terrible accents).

But getting back to English, I mean really what is the point of learning to ask where the library is or which way to the bathroom or what time is it when there are so many more important subjects:

English Student: Your Hound is very handsome.

Professor: Thank you. Yes he is very beautiful.

English Student: May I pet your beautiful Hound.

Professor: Yes you may pet my magnificent Hound.

English Student: May I feed your gorgeous Hound a juicy hot dog?

Professor: I am sure my wonderful Hound would like a juicy hot dog.

English Student: Would your amazing Hound enjoy a large rawhide?

Professor: My gracious Hound would be happy to accept a large rawhide.

English Student: Would your splendid Hound also accept this ice cream cone?

Professor: Yes my resplendent Hound would like to eat the ice cream cone.

English Student: And would your angelic Hound also like this fluffy stuffed toy shaped like a duck that quacks when squeezed?

Professor: Yes, my delightful Hound is willing to accept that too.

English Student: And may I present your charming Hound with this bag of squirrels?

Professor: Yes. I am sure that my swift and graceful Hound will be able to catch all of them.

English Student: It is very kind of your knowledgeable Hound to help a foreigner learn English.

Professor: Yes, he is a terrific Hound: He is completely obedient and unselfish. He never paces, or sticks his nose in your food or steals your underpants or hides your brassieres or blocks the computer screen or slimes your glasses or burps in your face or fights you for the contents of the toilet or shoves you off of the couch or drags you through the park. Also, he is very intelligent.

English Student: Why is he making that very loud noise?

Professor: He wants your water bottle.

English Student: What a melodious sound. And what is the name of the refreshing fluid that he has flung in my face?

Professor: That is called drool. But there are many other important synonyms such as spit, spittle, slime, saliva and slobber. Let us now review the parts of the Hound…

And so forth. Anyway, all this has given me the idea of creating The Wimsey Institute of Houndly Studies—an Institute of higher learning possessing a broad curricular mandate:

English Literature: Comedies of (the Lack of) Manners and the Hound
History: The Hound and Western Civilization: Cause and Effect
Art: The Hound in Repose: Rare Masterworks
Mathematics: Fractals, Chaos Theory and Hounds
Music: The Art of the Fugue and the Bay
Biology: The Evolution of the Hound: How Did They Get That Way?
Chemistry: Drool: Chemical Composition and Novel Methods of Colloidal Dispersion
Astronomy: The Planets: What Do They Smell Like?
Dance: Hound Lake (guess what really happened to those swans)
Physical Education: Pacing for Beginners
Anthropology: Migration and Mayhem: Tracking the Ancient Migratory Routes of the Hound
Psychology: Masochism and Ownership of the Hound
Theology: Hounds of Heaven: Visions of Paradise in the Early Church.
Philosophy: 125 pounds of Hound, 123 pounds of bladder: philosophical thoughts and constructs.
Theater: “What Did You Do!!”: a new play in many acts.

The list of potential classes just goes on and on. The Wimsey Institute would focus on bringing a refreshing Hound Centric interpretation to scholarly topics far too long dominated by the narrow Homo Sapienonic point of view. I think I would quite enjoy being Professor Wimsey. After all, I already teach my humans so much.--like the locations of the nearest emergency rooms and which makeup covers bruises best.

But although I am busy contemplating my illustrious career in academia, I am still never too busy to enjoy the pleasures of early spring here in New York City. Yesterday I peed on the first crocus of the season and soon I will be snorting through the cherry blossoms that bloom so spectacularly in Central Park.

And Spring will once again bring a new crop of dense (and inaccessible) foliage for me to poop into. Now, I don’t mean to brag, but I Wimsey, have created a fascinating competitive sport out of these ordinary eliminatory activities so near and dear to the canine heart. (and intestines). Since here in New York City humans must clean up after their dogs, I decided to turn this otherwise mundane activity into a challenging new game of wits and agility-- much to the delight of my humans.

Basically the game goes like this: I discover places to poop where cleanup ranges from annoying (1 point) to totally impossible (10 points). It is my job to discover these places and it is my humans’ job to prevent me from using them. The game requires speed, attention to detail, quick thinking and a willingness to think outside of the box (or shrub). For instance, one of my most innovative 10 pointers is to poop atop a stack of cut branches thoughtfully left out by the Park Rangers. If I position myself correctly on the pile, the poop falls through the branches in such a way as to require the Army Corps of Engineers to get it out. And because Maria and Elizabeth are incredibly conscientious about scooping, watching them try to figure out new methods of retrieval is like watching the planning of the Normandy Invasion. So entertaining! Of course, since my humans understand the principles of the game, the use subterfuge to cloak my intentions is of the utmost importance. So it’s-- La la la it’s me Wimsey just walking, walking walking—quick, quick-- run up a steep hill that is covered in dense ivy, execute a quick pre-poop spin and voila—quick as can be another 10 pointer! And of course next time we pass that ivy patch it will be all shrieks of “ Hurry, stop him-- Wimsey’s heading for the ivy!” So unless my humans have a momentary lapse in concentration (which happens more often than you would think, given the alleged size of their brains) I must continuously uncover and devise new and ingenious locations and strategies. Fortunately, Central Park’s brilliant landscape designers, Calvin Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead, were thoughtful enough to create an astonishing variety of vegetation and terrain-- so it is always game on! I am thinking of proposing this as an exhibition sport for the next Olympics.

Well, no one ever claimed that life with a Hound would be easy— just not boring. Anyway, time to get measured for my academic robes (I think black and tan would look rather nice).

Until next time,


Friday, March 23, 2007

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 9
March 23, 2007

Hello everyone. It’s me Wimsey. Well it’s been quite a week here in New York—we had a delightful (for me) little icy snowstorm that made my humans wish they had gone ahead and purchased those mountaineering crampons! And then in response to my last post, my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have been all “Gadzooks, Wimsey would you like to go for a walk?” and “Forsooth Your Houndship, I perceive that the dinner bowl hath arrived” and “Wimsey, you are getting your muddy paws all over my new kirtle” and “Would Sir care for a joust with yon’ Bruno the Rottweiler?” etc. etc. etc. Very funny ladies.

Of course Maria and Elizabeth are completely baffled about why I know so much about the Middle Ages (“How come Wimsey knows what a bilaut is and we don’t?”), especially since interest in the past is not generally a strong suit of those who live in New York. (I have noticed that New Yorkers like to tear down any buildings even vaguely old and put up shiny new ones!). Now in spite of the fact that my humans routinely belittle my intellectual abilities (being thought intellectually challenged has its advantages, as in “Oh, we don’t bother teaching Wimsey not to put his nose in the food, he’s not very bright, you know. He wouldn’t understand.”) when it comes to all things Hound—including my distinguished lineage-- I am a veritable Einstein. Who else has perfected the art of detecting hidden stashes of dirty underwear or exciting piles of recyclables. I am also a master of the strategic use of drool—a particularly valuable skill when I want to call a halt to human activities that require the use of optical surfaces such as eyeglasses or computers (I permit the use of televisions provided I am enthroned in a lap and being scratched)—humans can’t do what they can’t see. Did you know that drool has the enviable property of changing the focal point of a lens, thus making any drool coated surface blurry and useless? Then humans are once again free to focus all their attention on me, where it belongs.

In addition to being an expert on The Optics of Drool, I am also well versed in the application of Newton’s Laws of Motion (of a Hound). My personal favorite is of course Newton’s wildly popular Second Law which states: Net Force equals Mass times Acceleration. This means that if you let me get a running start on my 30 foot leash the net force on your arm will result in a visit to the emergency room. And who can forget Newton’s delightful First Law which states “ a body will remain on the couch until I shove it off” (by the way, it is a myth that Newton discovered gravity when he observed an apple falling from a tree—it was really his bloodhound falling off the couch during a particularly exciting nap that gave him the idea). And of course Newton’s Third Law explains why Elizabeth can never get me off of her lap as every lap ejecting action by her is met by an equal and opposite lap retaining reaction by me!

It has also always been my theory that Newton developed The Calculus whilst attempting to control a charging bloodhound: “Gee I wonder whether it is mathematically possible to describe the rate of change of this Great Hound’s ability to cover ground?”—and presto out popped the first derivative (humans call this velocity, bloodhounds call this fun). Later, after nearly having his arm torn off when his bloodhound charged after a succulent animal, he thought (when he was again capable of thought) “Well I wonder if it is mathematically possible to describe the rate of change of the beast’s velocity when chasing a succulent animal?”—and voila we have the second (and arm dislocating) derivative-- acceleration.

Of course there are other laws of physics which are equally enjoyable, one of my personal favorites being the Body Slamming Equation. This equation states that the amount of damage that I will do to you (kinetic energy) is equal to one half my formidable mass times the velocity with which I am charging—squared! It is because the damage is so dependent on my speed at impact that I am banished to the Tribute Couch for all greeting activities. When I remember. Which, being intellectually challenged, is not that often. Anyway, I guess the take home lesson here is that an accelerating bloodhound is a dangerous bloodhound (yes, even though I do not possess a macho name like my father Stetson or an intimidating breed type like Bruno the Rottweiler, I too sometimes get to be a dangerous character: “ Look there’s Wimsey the Dangerous Accelerating Bloodhound! Run!!!!!”). It is such a shame that the applications to which humans put physics are often tremendously boring-does anyone really care at which point an object will reach the top of a parabolic arc—unless of course they are trying to prevent its interception by a large, determined Hound? I must say that the applications to which we Hounds apply the laws of physics are infinitely more entertaining. Indeed they govern the majority of our activities. We can calculate, for instance, the precise speed of head rotation required to fling drool in someone’s face with enormous accuracy or the precise angle at which to apply our body mass in order to immobilize a small human of known height and weight. I am sure that Newton, and indeed all physicists, must have closely studied The Bloodhound. After all, how else could they know what we know.

But I digress. I was discussing my week, which included not only St. Patrick’s Day, but also my birthday. (Thanks, by the way to all my friends from around the world for their kind wishes and cards!) To kick off the celebrations, I went for pleasant walk in Central Park with Elizabeth (Maria claimed that the preparation of my birthday cake was incompatible with my presence. Of course, Elizabeth claims that all human activities are incompatible with my presence. “Wimsey is incompatible with life as we know it” is how I think she puts it. Now I do agree that it is rather challenging to get anything done when I am either sitting on you or snuffling and tasting the objects in your hand (it is not for nothing that the Wimsey motto is “If you have it, I want it.”). Or flinging drool. Or stealing your underpants, etc. etc. etc. But it’s all part of the fun of living with a bloodhound. It is an enduring mystery to me as to why there are not more of us about.

Anyway, after closely inspecting my face in the mirror to see if my wrinkles have finally deepened—I wonder if plastic surgeons know how to create more of them—it’s never too early to think about having a little work done, especially here in image conscious New York (“Look there’s Wimsey, he’s looking awfully smooth, poor chap.” “I know and he’s looking rather thin too, don’t you think. I know it is shallow of me, but I just can’t abide the sight of a smooth, lithe bloodhound. It’s just so unaesthetic. Especially when they can do such wonderful things these days”). Well on the subject of trying to gain weight, I must say that Nanook’s cream cake was enormously helpful as well as being delicious—a perfect 10 on the Wimsey Drool Production Index, if I may say so (my humans dread the perfect 10). Not that I would have anything to do with the cake part of course. I just amused myself by methodically denuding the entire cake of all its whipped cream, much to the consternation of my humans. Being a finicky eater is right up there with being intellectually challenged in the manipulation of humans department. (“Oh no, Wimsey’s not eating! Quick, run and get him a pizza—he likes those.”).

Anyway, the birthday was great—whipped cream, pizza, toys cards from friends and a long session of jamming my elbows into Elizabeth’s sensitive bits while being scratched: Maria: “Don’t shriek so much Elizabeth! It’s Wimsey’s birthday and after all he can’t help doing silly things—he’s not very bright you know.”

Until next time,


Friday, March 16, 2007

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 8
March 16, 2007

Hello Everyone! Wimsey here. Or maybe I should say O’Wimsey, as St. Patrick’s Day is once more upon us. For anyone reading this who does not live in New York City, it really is true that on St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish (even bloodhounds) which means that everyone is entitled to celebrate, which they do. A lot. And then some. And then some more. In short, it is a very festive day. Whilst there is no serious talk of dyeing me green this year, I have informed my human Maria that I will be wearing my elegant green sequined cravat in honor of the occasion. I make a very handsome Irishhound if I do say so myself. And of course Maria’s friend Elizabeth is already looking forward to the nutrition-enhancing drool with which I intend to fortify her St. Patty’s day libations.

Now however, laudable St, Patrick was—protecting bloodhounds from snakes and all that, I want to propose that November 3rd--St. Hubert’s Day-- should also be a holiday. For those of you who do not actually spend their evenings curled up with “The History of The Bloodhound,” you may not be aware of this, but my ancestors were brought from the Holy Land during the Crusades and deposited at the Monastery of St. Hubert in the Forest of the Ardennes. This was apparently a wholly appropriate maneuver as St. Hubert is the patron saint of hunters. But can you just imagine the shock and awe (not to mention mess) that my relatives must have caused:

Abbott: What on earth are they?

Crusader: We don’t know, actually. We stole them from the Paynim on general principle. We were hoping that the learned monks here could figure it out.

Abbott: Did they lose a lot of weight on the way over or something? They seem excessively baggy.

Crusader: No, I think they come like that. We don’t exactly know why anyone would want something that looks that way, but you know, these Paynim are a strange lot.

Abbott: Gadzooks! The beast seems to have flung some strange fluid onto my cassock.

Crusader: Ooops, I forgot to warn you about that. They seem to do it quite a lot. Why the Sieur de Baskerville alone has had three embroidered silk bilauts ruined. He was mighty peeved, I can tell you! But then the beasts found a juicy boar, so we decided that the fluid was a magic embrocation of sorts. I must say, the stuff does rather get into everything. We found that only a mounted knight in full body armor is truly protected. But then we started worrying about rust factor you know. And the horses weren’t happy.

Abbott: And what is that strange odor?

Crusader: That’s them again, I’m afraid. They are a rather pungent lot. They also tend to get a bit loud when riled up.

Abbott: My son, while we monks of St. Hubert are always appreciative of a small tribute or two, the munificence of your gift of these beasts overwhelms us. We find that this gift is simply too generous to be compatible with our humble monastic lifestyle.

Crusader: Well, we thought you might see it like that. The thing is, we think we can scam the King of France into thinking that they are rare and precious—think of the privileges that we could extort, er, I mean the gratitude that would come our way—if you were the only source of supply of these desirable animals. Here’s the deal: we heroic knights will take care of the demand side of things—you know, creating the right buzz at Court and all that, while you monks take care of actually raising a supply of the creatures.

Abbott: That is asking a lot my son. However, who are we humble monks to deny the King of France a prize that he so richly deserves. Might I suggest, however, that you alert the royal tailors to lay in vast quantities of additional cloth. I have a feeling His Majesty may be needing it.

And of course, the rest, as they say is history. The French king took the bait hook, line, and drool and bloodhounds became the ne plus ultra of medieval chic:

Duke of Burgundy: I hear the French king has acquired a strange new animal. I must have one too.

Conte d’Anjou: I don’t know if that is wise your grace. I hear they are loud, smelly and cover everything within a several cubits radius in a strange, sticky humour. Also, the monks of St. Hubert are charging a fortune for them and they are refusing to sell them at all unless you have connections.

Duke of Burgundy: If the French King has one then the Duke of Burgundy must have one. Also, the Duchess has been nagging me about it. Apparently she thinks they’re sweet. She also has it on good authority from the Queen’s bedchamber that Her Majesty’s youthful appearance is due to smearing the animal’s secretions on her face. Anyway, even the Conte d’Artois has one.

Conte d’Anjou: Yes, but that was only because he won it in a poker game from the Duke of the Aquitaine.

And so the fact that my kind could only be owned at the highest echelons of society, were hideously expensive to buy and extraordinarily inconvenient to keep, made us the acme of fashion (and people wonder why I think humans are foolish). And in those days, it wasn’t even necessary to dress up in little pink clothes either! Sometimes, the old ways are best.

Well, I don’t like to brag, but because of the Bloodhound, (or the Chien de St. Hubert as we came to be called—I am sure the Abbott was thrilled), the good Monks of St. Hubert prospered and built many fine buildings to inspire the faithful, the textile trade and consequently the entire economy flourished, people far and wide were well fed because of the increased availability of juicy boar, and the Queen of France looked young.

Well, that’s just where things stood when William the Conqueror had the brilliant idea of foisting us upon the English. It is my belief that the sight of us confused the Anglo Saxon armies (“Forsooth, what the hell is that!!!) and that bloodhounds are responsible in large measure for Duke William’s victory at the Battle of Hastings. From there, of course we jumped the pond (baying our way across the Atlantic, no doubt) to America where we established ourselves in great style. And now we hunt juicy boar in Central Park.

But I digress. We were speaking of holidays. Think of all the extra fun a new holiday would engender! On St. Hubert’s Day people could drink lots of beer, fling drool, bay and engage in the wearin o’ the black and tan (a lot more tasteful and flattering a color than green, I think). But why stop there. In addition to St. Hubert’s Day, I believe that our annual roster of holidays should include National Bloodhound Appreciation Day, take a Bloodhound to Work Day and Walk a Bloodhound for Six Hours Day. Also, a parade up Fifth Avenue would not be amiss. (“Grand Marshall Wimsey is leading the Band of Baying Bloodhounds on a nine hour march through the boroughs of New York”). As bloodhounds are actually responsible for the Norman Conquest, and, as a consequence, much of Western Civilization, I hardly think it too much to ask.

But of course the most exciting holiday (from my point of view at least) is the fact that March 19th is my birthday! Well, on hearing about the date of my birth it was all “Did you know that Wimsey was a Pisces when you agreed to have him?” and “Was that really wise; Pisces are so difficult; they have a very artistic temperament that is so hard to deal with” and “Is that why Wimsey sings so loudly?” etc., etc., etc. But I don’t care (do I ever?)-- I will finally be three and I won’t have to cope with the human fear that I am going to get even bigger. On the other hand, it has become apparent to me that show judges like a rather meaty looking bloodhound, so in the spirit of cooperation for which I am well known, I have instructed Maria to make me the same cream cake that that famous gourmand Nanook had for his birthday. Whatever made him that big, I want it too! (“If Nanook the Newfy has it, then Wimsey the Bloodhound must have it”—some things are timeless, don’t you think. Although I must say, I think I will pass on all Nanook’s bath paraphernalia. ((As an aside, Maria and Elizabeth have a plan to bath me in Elizabeth’s bath tub. Stay tuned for that one)).

Well, that’s all for this week. The juicy boar of Central Park await. I hope you enjoyed the history lesson. We Wimseys are very illustrious you know.

Until next week,


Friday, March 9, 2007

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 7
March 9, 2007

Hello everyone. It’s me, Wimsey. Well, I am here to tell you that sometimes it is just so much fun being me that it should be illegal! I don’t know—can they outlaw me like they do some of the other breeds?

“Your Honor we move to prohibit The Bloodhound in the County of New York—he is just having way too much fun and, as a consequence, causing a public nuisance and a breach of the peace. The endlessly fun seeking, attention getting and single mindedly disruptive Bloodhound does, we respectfully submit, contribute to the erosion of the tax base of our heretofore fiscally sound Metropolis. We declare that The Bloodhound willfully impairs, impedes and hampers all manner of economic activity. Previously upright and tax paying citizens cease to engage in income (and therefore tax) producing activities whilst they ogle, fondle and generally expend precious tax generating time upon the non-tax generating Bloodhound. Your Honor, it is of the utmost concern to us that The Bloodhound has even managed to strike at the very heart of this City’s fiscal foundation, to wit, Wall Street. We are grieved and alarmed to report that the enormous tax revenue—to which we all looked so forward every year-- from a formerly respected Wall Street stock analyst has completely vanished in the face of the competing charms of clickering the aforementioned Bloodhound. We cannot, in good conscience, permit the integrity of the financial markets (and our tax base) to be undermined by the pernicious influence of The Bloodhound. We therefore move for his entire banishment, body, drool and all from the precincts of our normally industrious and tax producing polis. We find that the temptation to fiscally unsound fun is simply far too great to permit of his continued existence amongst us.”

Hmm..breed specific legislation (isn’t being a breedist politically incorrect?)—all the more reason for me to seriously consider a run for Bloodhound in Chief! (Bizzy would make a charming First Bloodhound, don’t you think)?

Anyway, it is only due to my famously good temperament that I am in such a good mood. This week it was my human Maria who was sick. Can humans really be this susceptible to microbial invasion or is this yet another misguided attempt to modify my behavior? I mean this week it was all ‘Oh Wimsey, stop bouncing up and down on my stomach like that it makes me throw up” and such. Of course the risk of a human throwing up is absolutely no deterrent to me-- human effluvia of all sorts is deliciously fragrant and often quite tasty. But putting my sensuous nature aside, being a bloodhound is just plain fun. When I go out for a walk there are such squeals of “How beautiful!” and “How cute!" and “How adorable!” And of course Maria and Elizabeth (a friend of hers, whose current canine activities are apparently an enduring source of disappointment to the city’s tax authorities) know that there is not the remotest possibility that these comments are directed at them. Last year, even Joan Rivers-- that queen of red carpet critique-- stopped traffic on Park Avenue pointed in my direction and loudly proclaimed: “Fabulous! Fabulous! Fabulous!” Unless I am very much mistaken, I don’t think it was Elizabeth’s baggy, drool covered ensemble that attracted her admiration. And this week an obviously astute upper west side young man eyeballed me, gestured grandly to his friends and declared resoundingly and repeatedly “Now that is Fashion! (So I guess I can relax about black and tan going out of style any time soon). And of course it was also quite a lot of fun last weekend when Maria nipped into Starbucks to get us all some coffee and emerged to find Elizabeth and I surrounded by fascinated men. And trust me; it wasn’t Elizabeth who was fascinating them. I am worried that my humans are going to develop a complex:

Dr. Wimsey: So tell me, Maria, when did you start to have these feelings that people were ignoring you?
Maria: When I got you.
Dr. Wimsey: Well, yes, I can see how that could happen. I am really so much more exciting and interesting than you are. You are very perceptive. Ah, I see our 45 minute hour is up. You can leave my $200 fee with my receptionist, Elizabeth --she used to be a famous stock analyst you know, such a sad case!

Anyway, when we walk down the street no one yells out Maria or Elizabeth, only Wimsey. No wonder humans are all in therapy (except sad to say, mine, who I believe would benefit enormously by working through the fact that they will always exist in my large, hound shaped shadow).

In addition to spending lots of time in therapy, humans here in New York City are famous for spending the GDP of entire nations on gym memberships, Pilates and yoga classes, diet books, exercise equipment, etc. But really, what they actually need is a bloodhound. Now in addition to getting a lot of public flak about the existence of my testicles poor Maria is often assailed by people questioning my suitability for life in New York (really of course, they should question her sanity, but that is a whole other issue). Little do these interlocutors realize that they are addressing The Wimsey Total Mind-Body Fitness System. Kind of like a canine Bowflex, I do it all.

The Wimsey Way to Total Mind-Body Fitness rests on three sound principles: physical health, diet and hygiene and mental health. All backed up by an astonishingly simple, yet effective set of incentives.

First, the Wimsey System builds endurance: my humans quickly learn that if they have any hope of their possessions remaining intact, they will walk me for as many hours as they can stand up (I, of course, being a well bred bloodhound, can walk indefinitely). And the beauty of it is that the effects of the walks are never cumulative — each day is a new day-- the Wimsey odometer resets to zero each morning and the walking must begin all over again. But these walks do not just breed endurance. No, they are also aerobic since at random intervals I take off after some attractive odor and the only way to stay upright is to run along with me! Never underestimate the fear of humiliation of being dragged behind a conspicuously baying bloodhound!

Next, let us discuss the upper body, particularly core strength. In addition to my prowess at marching and charging, I also posses a powerful tow. Again, in order to maintain an upright posture, leash holders must engage the abdominals inwards and upwards whilst mobilizing the arms and entire upper torso. For really, really long periods of time. It’s six pack abs the Wimsey Way. It is such a shame that gyms simply cannot provide the appropriate physical penalties for failure to perform. I guess they feel that threatening to hurt their clients and shred their possessions would not be revenue enhancing—also possibly illegal--, but let me tell you, it is highly motivating.

Now let us proceed to the frequently neglected issue of hygiene. I have previously discussed how I effortlessly trained the slobby Elizabeth to be neat, but few people know me in my equally important guise as the Bath Inspector. As a committed trainer I personally, supervise the ablutions of the humans I have caused to be drenched in sweat. Using my keen nose I instantly detect any unwashed spots and alert the human to their presence by licking them. In addition, I conduct spot quality control checks throughout the bath process to make sure the human is (or was) completely clean. I also test the water with my muzzle at regular intervals and dispense some moisturizing drool into it. And after the bath, one should not even think about getting away with wearing a used t-shirt or second day underwear. My nose instantly attaches to the delicious odor emanating thereof, conspicuously calling attention to the offending garment—shame can be such a powerful weapon in modifying human behavior! And much faster than a clicker. And diet is even easier to modify than hygiene. Food becomes remarkably unappetizing to humans when mixed with bloodhound secretions.

Finally, we must discuss the mental health portion of my program. Let me just say, that The Wimsey System admits of no negativity. The other day, Elizabeth was sitting on the couch upbraiding me for some perceived (and no doubt wholly imaginary) failure so I calmly stuck my tongue in her mouth. At this she instantly ceased speaking, no doubt reminded of the potentially pernicious (if not to say infective) nature of vocalizing negative thoughts.

And of course throughout the entire day, I keep my humans well hydrated. By dint of sticking my entire muzzle and ears into my water bowl I find I can transport quite a quantity of water to deposit on my humans. My thoughtful actions keep them cool and moist throughout the day. An excellent use of the many facial folds and wrinkles for which we bloodhounds are justifiably famous.

Anyway, I am looking into promoting The Wimsey Total Mind-Body Fitness System on the Home Shopping Network. Elizabeth says I need the taxable income.

Until next time,


Friday, March 2, 2007

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

March 2, 2007
Entry # 6

Greetings all. Wimsey here. Well, I must say this has been a rather disappointing week. After all this talk about clickering me and stacking me and trotting me and road trips to exotic out of town locations like New Jersey-- nothing much has happened. Now Maria (my human) says it’s because Elizabeth-- a friend of hers, and the one who is supposedly going to wield the clicker to such marvelous (and unrealistic) effect-- has been sick this week. We did, however, manage to take one walk together and I wish we hadn’t-- illness makes humans so crabby. Instead of just depositing a steaming pile of fragrant vomit on the carpet and have done with it, humans engage in this incessant whining and complaining when they are sick. All I heard on our walk was “Wimsey, why are you pulling” and Wimsey why are you baying” like these are some altogether new and shocking behaviors! Maybe the cold virus also destroyed a few neuronal memory synapses. Or then again, maybe it was the surfeit of medicinal gin and tonics.

Anyway, I still find it extraordinary that such a weak minded species has taken over the planet. Perhaps my next writing project will be a science fiction thriller about a Legion of Super Hounds that puts this situation to rights. One Hound will have amazing strength and one Hound will have an amazing sense of smell and one Hound will be super smart (OK, maybe not him) and one Hound will always get his way… But hold on, we non-super hounds already do all of this. Perhaps we really are a super race after all and just need to organize a bit better. Maybe I should consider throwing my leash into the ring for the next presidential election—I don’t think I could look any sillier than the present group of hopefuls (let’s see, we have the African American guy who is somehow not African American enough, the lady in the ugly pantsuits whose husband likes the ladies, a guy people fear might secretly favor polygamy, a former New York City mayor with a few too many ex wives and an obsession with ferrets, a guy no one wants to say anything bad about because he is a war hero and the other guy, the one from last time, with the good hair who no one pays attention to-- I think I should have Maria call Letterman immediately!) And there would be no risk of me toadying to special interests or anything. As a bloodhound, my only special interest is me.

I can just see it all now: Wimsey on Foreign Policy: anyone starting a war will get bitten. Wimsey on economic policy: resource guarding will not be tolerated—The Wimsey Administration will swap a piece of turkey for all Goldman Sachs bonus checks; Wimsey on race relations: The Wimsey administration supports affirmative action for the sporting, working terrier, toy, herding and non-sporting groups; Wimsey’s China policy: No more Chinese takeout menus under the door! Wimsey on crime: anyone caught stealing food will be pardoned; all other crimes will be punishable by spending time with Cesar Millan. And of course as a proponent of women’s rights, I would demand that all women cease demeaning themselves by wearing brassieres and donate them to me. Preferably used.

But again I digress. I was in the process of relating the annoying situation of Elizabeth’s illness. In addition to being crabby, neuronally challenged, and unavailable for walks, she apparently took the opportunity of being sick to hole up with Cesar Millan’s book, Cesar’s Way. I overheard Elizabeth telling Maria that try as she might, she could find no information on dogs that were “bratty submissive.” For myself, I never could understand dogs that feel the need to be dominant. It takes so much work and energy and all it does is alert the humans to the fact that you want to get your own way. It’s like holding up a big red flag that says “train me or else.” How much better it is to follow Wimsey’s Way (do I detect a book deal in the making?) I am so gentle and unassuming—“Oh Wimsey is such a nice dog” and “There is not a mean bone in Wimsey’s body” and “Oooh what a sweet nature Wimsey has—he’s a gentle giant.” And let’s see, what does that get me….uh just EVERYTHING THAT I WANT and I am admired to boot! Quite an accomplishment, I’d say. People give me their water bottles—no need to seize them or anything drastic like that. Humans pet me when I gently lean on them. When I want something, I simply bay and everyone thinks it is so funny that they give me what I want to encourage me to bay some more. And as a non-dominant dog, beds, furniture and laps are all perfectly accessible to me and no one fears that wrestling with me will turn me into Attila the Canine. My leash manners are truly appalling but I always stop submissively in mid-tow if ordered to do so—no insubordination here—and then I just happily resume towing. It’s pretty hilarious, especially because Elizabeth volunteers at the ASPCA and is always asking me why the pit bulls and Rottweilers and such listen to her, but I don’t. It’s Wimsey’s Way. She’s “calm assertive” and I am “I don’t care.” (She could also try being dominant aggressive and I would still be “I don’t care!" --consistency being the hallmark of my training methods). And I think getting pronged in the neck with fingers feels rather nice.

Anyway, the only other thing of remote interest this week was the Oscar’s. Now I do admit to being something of a cinephile (and indeed a cineaste as well—I am planning on adding some of my canine video masterpieces to this site soon). Sitting on Maria, snuffling the popcorn, butter dripping from my nose, quietly playing with the remote control (yes, males of all species must have the remote!) What an enjoyable way to spend an evening. But I do wish there were more good parts for bloodhounds. Our portrayal in the media is sadly one dimensional and stereotyped—“Sir, the prisoner has escaped---call out the bloodhounds”. I mean really. What about our quiet moments at home destroying prized possessions (humans can be so materialistic) or decorating the walls with drool. Not to mention the grievous bodily harm we commit by lap dancing. And there are no film portrayals of our tortured inner contradictions—how majestic, noble and dignified we look on the outside and how foolish and ridiculous we are on the inside (Oh, the trauma of looking like Gregory Peck but having the personality of Jerry Lewis!). All of that reduced to “call out the bloodhounds.” Do they just say “call out the topless blonde women” when a movie gets boring? No, they make movies exploring the depth of character, inner life and deep spirituality of the topless blonde women. And so it should be for bloodhounds.

Getting back to the Oscars, I have to say, that like almost everyone else except for the actual nominees, I watch the Oscar’s because of the clothes. Clothing is such a fun concept as we canines are stuck with one outfit for life (except the poodles, but that is just plain weird). And humans who are all meant to be so creative and talk so much about individual expression and everything all end up wearing the same thing because it is in style (exactly which uber human decides these things, by the way?) This year for instance, there were so many neutrals—ladies please, a little more consideration here—neutrals all look like the same color to me. Still I ponder what it would be like one day if they said, “Sorry Wimsey, black and tan is so last year. Brindle is all the rage—it’s the new black” and Maria dutifully took me to the $300 colorist (brindle isn’t a “single process” operation after all) and had me dyed. I wonder if I would have more street cred if I were brindle (look a giant, fierce pit bull with wrinkles!) Of course if I looked like a pit bull Elizabeth would have to train me. But I do sometimes fantasize about what it would be like to be a tough looking guy—perhaps I can persuade Maria to tell people that I am really a Fila (if you don’t know what that is, trust me, you don’t want to know). Of course, she would hate the concept of me being a tough dog—if you really want to wind her up (I wish I could pay people to do it, it’s just that entertaining) just look at me and say “Hound of the Baskervilles” and you will have one tall irate redhead on your hands going seriously mental shouting “No! No NO! The Hound of the Baskervilles was a mastiff! He was a mastiff! The Hound of the Baskervilles was a MASTIFF !!! He was not Wimsey. Wimsey is a bloodhound. He is gentle.”

Such good fun. As I say, it’s Wimsey’s Way.

Hope next week is more exciting,


PS: feel free to pull the “Hound of the Baskervilles” routine if you see us in the park—I could use a little excitement!