Friday, July 4, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry #74
July 4, 2008

Hello Everyone. It’s me Wimsey wishing you all a Happy July 4th (except for those of you from other countries to whom I wish my usual happy Friday--although I am assuming that July 4th is not an especially happy Friday in the UK).

Anyway, my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth never go away on July 4th since 1) they would have to take me with them so it’s not really much of a vacation and 2) going away would most likely involve the use of an automobile, a conveyance whose mysteries the ladies have yet to fully penetrate—they don’t know how to pump gas (which considering the price of the stuff, is probably a good thing) and windows and trunks fly open and closed randomly with much squealing and speculation about automotive poltergeists. And although they have a GPS, like many New Yorkers they hate being told what to do (“Could the GPS say something using the conditional tense more like “Based on the latest available information, it would probably be advisable that you turn left, in my opinion, should you choose to take my well intentioned advice” instead of the imperative “turn left!”, which sort of sounds like it really means “Turn left you idiot!”) And then the ladies start arguing with it—“Don’t you tell me what to do!” and “What gives you the right to order me around” (I don’t know, access to maps of the world, perhaps) and “Don’t you take that tone with me. You’re such a know it all”-- it’s like they need Dr. Phil to mediate (“How does it make you feel when ordered to turn left…”). And then they turn right. And we get lost anyway. Sigh. I do my best to help them, but they are seldom appreciative of my efforts. But at least we live on a coastline, so there is at least one direction they can’t drive in although I do sometimes think they are still looking for the Atlantic Ocean Bridge.

But July 4th is a wonderful time to be a bloodhound in New York City. First there are tourists from all over the world clearly puzzled by the historical links between hot dogs and nation building but who are only too happy to take pictures of, admire and pet an iconic American Hound such as myself (I never divulge that my origins actually lie in the Middle East and later in France. Two distinctly non-hot dog chomping regions, although I suppose a hot dog could just be considered a patriotic saucisson). And then there are humans and their picnics spread enticingly all over the park. I like to menace these picnics with the massive nasal equipment that can only be brought to bear by an animal of my majestic proportions and olfactory abilities (“He’s spending a lot of time with his nose in the potato salad—I wonder if the mayonnaise has gone off?”). And tonight there will be a magnificent fireworks display on the East River, but personally I think if humans wanted a noisy display they should anchor a barge of baying bloodhounds there instead.

And the other news this week is that there are apparently a few puppies available from a very distinguished litter and Maria, who has her hands full (and her pocketbook empty) with me, was desperate to convince Elizabeth to take one of the adorable little beasts. But it was all “Yes, they are cute, and correct me if I am wrong, but won’t they grow up to be Wimseys?” And “Perhaps there is some mistake and they will actually grow up to be Golden Retrievers?” And she
(here I am being double teamed by a pair of vicious lab pups)
knows whereof she speaks—last week I had a costly (and wholly innocuous as it turns out) tummy bug necessitating the racking up of more frequent flier miles on the well worn Visa card for vacations no one can take-- although I am told that service dogs can ride with their humans (“This is Wimsey my service dog. He serves to remind me each day that I serve him.”). Of course Maria and Elizabeth are really my service humans. But really Elizabeth claims that another bloodhound would be inimical to the proper functioning of her liver (“There is not enough gin in the world…”) so the prospect of the puppy has been abandoned.

But back to the celebration of the July 4th holiday. Few people realize how instrumental Hounds were in the formation of the Republic, so let us review some of the seminal events that led up to the day we celebrate today:

The French and Indian War (1754-1763): The French wanted their Hounds back. The British refused on the grounds that the colonists would starve without them. Britain prevailed but spent a lot of money (the spending of money and the harboring of Hounds being linked principles throughout history).

The Sugar Act 1764: In attempt to raise money and promote good dental hygiene among the Hounds, Britain taxed West Indian sugar. The lack of sugar left the Hounds sluggish and irritable. The colonists were peeved.

Currency Act of 1764: The colonists were issuing a lot of paper currency to replace the notes that the Hounds chewed up. Britain prohibited this as inflationary.

Quartering Act 1765: Britain declared that colonists were obligated to house and feed British soldiers. Colonists objected as Hounds already took up all the space and stole all the food. (especially as they had to compensate for the lack of sugar).

Stamp Act 1765: The most outrageous of all the British taxes as it was the first direct tax and mandated that stamps had to be bought and affixed to all legal documents, newspapers and playing cards—in fact to all the documents that Hounds most love to shred. The replacement cost would have bankrupted the colonies.

Stamp Act Congress 1765: 27 delegates and their Hounds from nine colonies met in New York City (where else!) to air their grievances and eat a little sushi.

The Sons and Hounds of Liberty are founded: Led by the full bodied and frothy Samuel Adams this group of hot heads revved up anti-British sentiment and are associated with the famous “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, which after much debate was changed to a rattlesnake rather than a bloodhound’s tail.

Townsend Acts 1767: Yet more taxes on paper, glass and tea. The Hounds were outraged—all these taxes were cutting into their toy and rawhide money and their humans were spending time in political debate rather than playing with their Hounds. Consequently they took matters into their own paws and started sneaking the stuff into the country. Britain sent in the troops led by General Cesar Millan.

Committees of Correspondence:
The ever popular Sam Adams organizes teams of Hounds to carry information and messages around the colonies, keeping everyone up to speed on the latest British perfidies, especially as it related to Hounds.

The Tea Act 1773 and the Boston Tea Party: The British East India company is given a monopoly to trade tea in the colonies. Hounds sneak aboard the boats, play with the tea and end up pushing it into Boston Harbor.

Intolerable Acts 1774: In response to the Boston Tea party gatherings by packs of hounds and their humans are prohibited and Boston Harbor is closed, depriving the hounds of a prime swimming venue.

Lexington and Concord 1775: The British try to arrest the effervescent Sam Adams but the colonists are warned in time by the ride of Paul Revere and the ear drum shattering baying of his trusty Hound, Argent (“one bay if by land and two bay if by sea.”…)

Common Sense: 1776: Thomas Paine, inspired by the independent nature of his Hound, is inspired to write the pamphlet Common Sense suggesting that the colonies emulate these estimable Hounds and become independent.

The Flag 1776: George Washington asks Betsy Ross to sew a flag. The original design actually had more stars and stripes but her Hound ate them.

The Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776: The final straw came in the spring and summer of 1776 when there was a rumor that the British Crown was about to levy a tax on Hounds (“We can live without tea, legal documents, newspapers, sugar and glass but we are helpless without our Hounds!”) The colonies were galvanized into action: Thomas Jefferson, a brilliant orator whose hair was as red as that of his vocal Hound, writes the Declaration of Independence at the suggestion of his Hound who declares his independence every day. Jefferson modeled the concept of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” after the philosophy of his Hound, tactfully omitting the part about the pursuit of happiness involving the wanton destruction of personal property.

So today we honor all those brave and independent minded colonial Founding Hounds who provided the inspiration and guidance to America’s Founding Fathers. And of course especially to Jefferson’s Hound who ate many versions of the Declaration that he deemed sub-standard.

Appropriately, we honor a great man this week on our visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art, George Washington. Washington Crossing the Delaware (Emmanuel Leutze, 1851, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Now in December of 1776 General Washington had a lot of problems—the Brits had kicked him out of Long Island (and captured valuable Hamptons real estate), then they kicked him out of New York and forced him to cross the Hudson and flee to New Jersey (a New Yorker’s worst nightmare!) and then finally he even got kicked out of New Jersey. Rapidly running out desirable of tri-state options, Washington camped out on the Pennsylvania (“the boonies”) side of the Delaware River when his Hound announced that there was a strong odor of Hessians coming from the New Jersey side (‘Are you sure you smell bratwurst? Maybe it’s fish and chips—there are supposed to be a lot of Brits lurking on the Jersey shore”). But at the urging of his fearless Hound, Benjamin Franklin Wimsie, who was eager to capture the cache of delectable sausages, Washington led his brave men to a successful surprise raid on the Hessian camp. Here we see the scene commemorating Washington and his heroic Hound: Washington and Wimsie crossing the Delaware.

Well enjoy your celebrations (particularly all you tax attorneys out there who can take pride in the fact that a great nation was forged from bad tax policy). And in honor of all my personal contributions to the national welfare I am to be Grom gelato’d today.

Until next time,

Wimsey a Hound of 1776 virtues

I like to recycle!


Unknown said...

I always love your blog, Wimsey, and today's had even more laughs than usual. Good job, and how do you find time to do it with all the other demands on you, such as destroying documents, pulling humans and being mauled by puppies?

Unknown said...

oh Wimsey I just love reading your posts. You are such a smart and humorous dog! I especially liked the history lesson!

Sherry Pasquarello said...

i just love you wimsey.

i am sherry's new puppy, max (maximus)a puggle that is truly more hound than pug right down to the lovely odor that lingers even after she bathes me in jasmine scented puppy shampoo!

Edie and Gus said...

Greetings from the Northland, Wimsey!
We spent a lazy July 4th at home, basking in the 80 degree midnight sun. Well, actually, I panted and slobbered under the midnight sun. You will be proud of my latest antics. First, I discovered the joys of the strawberry patch, much to Edie's chagrin. My goal is to make sure there will be no berries for jam this winter. Secondly, Alyssa taught me to chase bubbles. Did you know I can leap 8 feet high and level every bit of furniture on the deck? I tried my best to level the humans as well, but they blew bubbles and then ran like hell to get out of the way. Go figure!

Edie has a message for Elizabeth and Maria:
Hmm. You think she has some issues with we three hounds of hell?
Enjoy your week. Eat some Yummy Chummies with your gelato. Stay cool, dude!

Your Mischievous Alaskan Bloodhound Buddy,

Biggie-Z said...

Happy 4th, Wimsey! I had the pleasure of meeting a smallish hound this weekend in Brrr Mont and let me tell you, it was quite an experience. Until now, the only hound I knew was a beagle in my building who is lots of fun to play with.

This hound looked like a coonhound (? his service human didn't say because he was too busy trying to rein him in) and was maybe about 60 pounds, and BOY WAS HE LOUD!! I wanted to play but his owner wouldn't let him off lead because he was afraid he'd follow his nose to something far, far away. So I jumped around him and then we walked away and when I was halfway around the pond I could still hear him baying like he was right next to me. Obviously I have much to learn from you hounds. You're like the opera singers of the dog world.

Just loud barks,