Friday, August 29, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry #82
August 29, 2008

Hello everyone. It’s me Wimsey wishing you all a happy Labor Day weekend! And as I look out at the broad acres of my demesne on Manhattan’s upper west side I see that the natives have all fled to less laborious locales. Manhattan gets seriously empty on this holiday except of course for those like my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who must tend to the needs of a large and demanding Hound.

And now that the Great Elbow Crisis has joined the Great Anal Gland Crisis in the dust bin of history, I need to find new ways to be fussed over and fretted about.—although that is getting increasingly easier. The other day as I was engaging in some necessary hygienic maneuvers it was all “Wimsey get your nose out of your tush! We paid for that tush and we won’t have you messing about with it!” Now the mere fact that my humans’ Christmas money ended up in my tush so to speak (the ladies were contemplating whether they should put tinsel on it or gift wrap it) does not, I believe, give them supervisory privileges over my golden tush. I reserve absolutely the right to groom it at will and especially to plunk it (and the 125lbs to which it is attached) painfully onto their laps. And I bitterly resent Maria and Elizabeth referring to it as the tush that ate the Christmas bonuses. Anyway, it is much more like a monetary black hole-- and speaking of which, actual black holes are a subject that I have been contemplating deeply lately.

Now as many of you know, I am a devoted physicist, freely utilizing the laws and equations of Sir Isaac Newton to inflict the maximum amount of damage upon the fragile bodies of my humans. But lately I have gotten much more interested in modern cosmological topics (these are not related to drinks involving cranberry juice and vodka, whatever my humans believe to the contrary) such as the concept of dark matter and dark energy. Now it turns out that most of the universe is made up of this stuff called dark matter which just happens to be conveniently invisible.

Wimsey’s Physics Research Station

Dr. Wimsey: Today we are going to explore the question of dark matter and dark energy.

Hound Assistant: But no one knows anything about them. How will we find any dark matter?

Dr. Wimsey: I am a bloodhound, I can find anything. Let us use our brilliant minds (no snickering here please) to deduce the answer to this puzzle. First what do we know about dark matter?

Hound Assistant: Well, obviously it is not just dark, it is invisible.

Dr. Wimsey: Good. What else?

Hound Assistant: Well, we know it exists because of the gravitational energy it exerts on planets and galaxies and such.

Dr. Wimsey: And by gravitational energy you mean…

Hound Assistant: It pulls.

Dr. Wimsey: Aha! Now we are getting somewhere. What else is important about dark matter?

Hound Assistant: Well, the universe could not exist without it. It holds everything together.

Dr. Wimsey: So we are dealing with something that is dark, that pulls and with which the universe as we know it could not exist. Sound like anything familiar?

Hound Assistant: It’s a Hound! A massive, invisible omnipresent, cosmological Hound!

Dr. Wimsey: Excellent! I will notify Stephen Hawking immediately! And now we can move on to more crucial questions like calculating the optimum trajectory at which to pee.

But getting back to my tush—it reminds me that whatever the failings of my humans (like not wanting to live in Central Park or the constant brandishing of The Halti) they provide excellent nursing care. And I am soon to have the opportunity of reciprocating as Maria is having a dental procedure over the weekend.

Nurse Wimsey: I need to take your temperature.

Patient: You just stuck your tongue in my ear!

Nurse Wimsey: I thought you would prefer it to the alternative methods. You have a fever, but I will bring it down by covering you with soothing drool and by pushing my icy cold nose into your pulse points.

Patient: I think I’d rather have the fever.

Nurse Wimsey: Don’t be difficult. It’s time for your bath.

Patient: How are you going to do that?

Nurse Wimsey: The same way I groom myself. It’s very thorough.

Patient: That’s disgusting.

Nurse Wimsey: Then I’ll do it when you’re asleep. And now I’m going to turn you over so you don’t get bed sores.

Patient: But you’ve shoved me off of the bed!

Nurse Wimsey: You can’t get bed sores if you’re not in the bed. I’ll just rearrange the bedding for you while I am up here. And a few holes will add much needed ventilation to the sheets.

Patient: Get off my chest! I can’t breathe.

Nurse Wimsey: I’m listening to your heart. You seem quite agitated.

Patient: Isn’t it time for my dinner?

Nurse Wimsey: Yes. You have clear broth to start and Jell-O for dessert.

Patient: What happened to the main course?

Nurse Wimsey: It seems to have mysteriously disappeared but I am quite sure it was delicious. Now it’s time for your physical therapy. I want you to gently move your hands up and down my belly for several hours. This will keep your circulation going.

Patient: I think I suddenly seem to be feeling better.

Nurse Wimsey: I thought you might. But before I can discharge you, you have to maintain your balance while I drag you down the stairs.

I am sure Maria will appreciate all my attention this weekend, as in fact she does every weekend. And of course over the next four days I anticipate spending a good deal of my time in the park. But Central Park is a dangerous place these days—it is filled with murderous puppies with mayhem on their minds. Why just last week I was engaged at close range in combat by a powerful wire haired pointing griffon puppy. He was a most determined adversary as you can see by the puppy warfare montage below.

OK, it is now time for our weekly visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art and this week we travel back to Venice in 1570s: Venus and Mars United by Love (Paolo Veronese, circa 1576, Metropolitan Museum, New York). Here we have one of the most famous paintings by the Mannerist painter Paolo Veronese. Mannerism is a style of painting that developed as a bridge between the high Renaissance in the 1500s and the baroque in the 1600s. Unlike renaissance painters, mannerists were given to less naturalistic and more dramatic forms and a theatrical use of color. In this painting Veronese seems to be highlighting the civilizing influence that love (in the form of Venus the goddess of love) can have on war (in the form of Mars the god of war). The little fellow with wings is Cupid and he is attempting to unite these powerfully opposing forces with a slender ribbon. Frankly, I don’t think he has much chance of success. It would be far better to choose a more potent unifying force, such as a magnificent Hound! Look at how irresistible and adorable the Hound is! Surely everyone—even those devoted to the disparate arts of love and war –can agree on his splendor. For Mars there is his imposing physique and indomitable will; for Venus there are his velvety wrinkles and affectionate nature. Could there be a more perfect embodiment of the unity of these opposites? I don’t think so. Venus and Mars United by Wimsey.

Well, I am off to prepare for my houndly nursing duties. Maria might not be able to consume solid food so I intend to do so for her. I might also add a few bacterial cultures to her yoghurt and help her mash her banana. And I am going to play with my tush when she isn’t looking.

Until next time,

Wimsey, the Florence Nightingale of Hounds

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 81
August 22, 2008

Hello everyone. It’s me Wimsey (or Wimsey the Magnificent as I like to think of myself) coming to you from the seat of my Hound Empire, otherwise known as my couch on New York’s Upper West Side. It is from this opulent (and smelly) throne that I rule the lives of the humans around me, particularly those of Maria, my primary human and Elizabeth, a friend of hers. No detail of their lives is too small to escape the notice of my masterful nose and the intervention of my substantial frame. I escort them to bed bath and refrigerator alike. And like any great monarch I like to sally forth, richly caparisoned in black and tan, with my retinue in slavish attendance. And of course they carry all the paraphernalia necessary to ensure the comfort of an impressive potentate such as myself—my water dish, my biscuits, my business cards, my poop bags (we monarchs have public relief privileges), my Zoom Groom (a monarch likes to look shiny and well brushed in addition to receiving the massage that a session with the Zoom Groom affords), extra leashes, money and credit cards for the purchase of costly dishes of gourmet gelato and other assorted snacks, Direct Stop in case I am ambushed by a canine enemy and the camera for recording my activities for posterity.

And speaking of recording my activities, this week we a short video—it is of the
ed and dignified manner in
which I “find” Elizabeth at EJ’s Luncheonette on Sundays. Next week I will show one of me delaying our park exit by engaging in some time wasting stick chewing. I do this latter activity quite a bit as we seem to be having a delightful August that is more like the weather we should have had in June but didn’t. Consequently I am spending quite a bit of time out and about (as evidenced by the montage of me disporting myself in the shallow body of Central Park water known as The Stream). I also have perfected a new park leaving preventative maneuver that I call “The Tractor”.

And yesterday, in honor of the fine weather, Elizabeth and I mounted an expedition to the East Side to see her friend Dr. Julie Horton who runs a vet clinic on East 74th Street. Fortunately it was a purely social visit and so nothing untoward happened (except that there was this large green bird who is even noisier than I am and whose better acquaintance people around me seemed intent on preventing me from making). But I have to say, the East 70s are so elegant and the posh people on that side of the city had a true appreciation of my houndly grace and charm. It was all “Look at that magnificent bloodhound!” in hushed, educated tones rather than the more familiar West side hail “Hey Lady, That’s some big dog!” And the people were so well dressed—even Elizabeth dressed up for the journey with a pair of jeans that actually fit and weren’t covered in drool and a black H&M tee shirt that she reserves for formal occasions. She needn’t have bothered of course, when I am around no one even notices that I am attached to a leash let alone the insignificant human who is holding it. Anyway, I really liked the East side (especially that bird) and am planning on towing my humans east at the very next opportunity. I wonder if there is a position open for an East Side Manhattan bloodhound?

Nothing much else was new this week, I spent some of my indoor time sitting on the couch watching the Olympics which are sadly about to end. Someone seems to have persuaded my idol Michael Phelps (think big feet, big hands, big ears and a refusal to lose—sound familiar?) to pose with all of his medals which is OK except that their straps made him look like he was wearing a halter top. Now my humans are always trying to get me to pose in a silly manner or with garments inappropriate to my dignity so I can empathize. The price of dignity, houndly and otherwise, is eternal vigilance. But I like the Olympics because just like Hounds, they bring the world together for peaceful pursuits that yet somehow manage to result in an extravagant amount of human bodily harm. I think if more people had Hounds there would be no wars because people would be too injured to fight.

Anyway, I have a strong global spirit and I love it when people from other countries read my diary. When a South African dot pops up on the map I imagine myself peeing on the Veldt and stalking the great Wildebeest; an Argentinean dot puts me in mind of peeing on the Pampas and chasing cattle; and when a dot from France pops up I think about peeing on Paris’ ancient architecture and slobbering on couture. And of course when I see a dot from India I dream of running a call center:

Wimsey’s Call Center

Hound: Wimsey’s Call Center. My name is Wimsey but you can call me “Jack.” How may I not help you?

Customer: I keep getting the error message: “Kernel32.dll: Invalid page fault in Module Kernel32.dll.”

Hound: Is the computer plugged in?

Customer: Of course the computer is plugged in!

Hound: Well did you try turning on the computer—that sometimes helps.

Customer: The computer is plugged in and turned on!

Hound: Let me put you on hold.

Hound: (to Hound colleague): This guy is getting a kernel32.dll error message. Do you know what that is?

Hound Colleague: Haven’t a clue. Did he plug in the computer?

Hound: Yes, he claims it is plugged in and turned on.

Hound Colleague: Well, he’s just about exhausted our technical expertise. Give him a few more minutes and maybe he will go away.

Hound: Sir are you still there.

Customer: Yes.

Hound: Sorry for the delay. I was just consulting with one of our experts. Can you tell me what your feet smell like?

Customer: What has that got to do with the computer?

Hound: I’m a Hound. I’m much better at smelling feet than fixing computers. But I can tell that your computer problem is upsetting you, so here is what I would like you to do: find that that piece of equipment on the end of your computer cable that attaches to the wall.

Customer: You mean the plug?

Hound: Yes. Exactly! I can tell you’ve done this before; it is a pleasure to deal with someone who is so computer literate. Anyway, I want you to remove that piece of equipment from its present location, wipe the two prongs that you see on its end with a piece of cheesecloth, then count to thirty and reinstall it into the wall. We find that most problems can be solved by following this procedure.

Customer: And if that doesn’t work?

Hound: Did I ask you what your feet smelled like? Anyway, if that doesn’t work I can give you the telephone number for Microsoft—they will charge you $200 an hour and keep you on hold indefinitely and then tell you that they don’t support OEM software and send you back to us. And then you can tell me what your feet smell like. But there is another option.

Customer: What is it?

Hound: I suggest that you take your Hound for a very long walk, cook him a lavish meal, and rub his belly while he naps. Then buy another computer.

Well anyway, I really do possess a considerable amount of computer expertise. I know how to block a view of the screen with my body, I know how to shove the keyboard return away from human fingers and I know how to use drool to make the keys really sticky. And naturally I like to shred the documents being worked on.

But really this week it was my visit to the East Side which really impressed me. So much so that it influenced my choice of masterwork for our visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art. Today we look at one of the most famous works by society portrait painter John Singer Sargent. Madame X (John Singer Sargent, 1884, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Now John Singer Sargent was one of those turn of the last century chaps so beloved of novelists and the film makers Merchant and Ivory —an American born in Florence who studied art in Italy and Germany before finally washing up in Paris where he was a successful contributor to the famous Paris Salon. All was going swimmingly until he painted this portrait of a famous American beauty married to wealthy French banker (holy Edith Wharton!), Virginie Gautreau. Now although the lady was a society beauty known for dressing ahead of her time, this painting so shocked and scandalized Paris that Sargent was forced to flee to England (fortunately he took the picture with him before the subject’s family could destroy it).

The bold expanse of creamy skin, her exuberant curves and a pose that was deemed “suggestive” caused an uproar not seen since Manet’s “Dejeuner Sur L’herbe” (where at least there were some actually naked women involved). To further up the salaciousness quotient, the original painting featured her right strap sliding off her shoulder. Well today of course we are shocked at the shock that such a painting could have caused; especially as upper class turn of the century Paris was hardly a church social. Anyway, as beautiful and sensual as the painting is, it looks quite empty and the lady looks lonely. But see what happens when the elegant profile of the lady is matched by the elegant profile of a magnificent Hound! The glow of his rich, burnished coat highlighting the sensuous black draping of her gown and his regal demeanor echoing her own. Perhaps if Sargent had included this lustrous Hound people would have been so captivated by the innocence of his beauty that he would not have been forced to flee to England. Wimsey X.

Well it’s time for another walk—we are going to have another wonderful weekend and I intend to take full advantage—as usual. I will be closely watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics where I am hoping that in honor of the coming London 2012 Olympics they will highlight the contribution of the Hound to English History (it is a well known fact that we helped win the Battle of Hastings by confusing the Saxons with our novel appearance, overpowering aroma and terrifying sound). Some dancing fish and chips would be nice too.

Until next time,

Wimsey the Magnificent

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 80
August 15, 2008

Hello everyone. It’s me Wimsey coming to you as usual from Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Now there was some talk of me going to Beijing to participate in the Olympics but no one could decide in which of the many possible events to enter me—wrestling, track and field, gymnastics, Xtreme Showdogging, etc. But I have been watching the Games on TV with my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth and find much to admire, especially about Michael Phelps.

Ways in Which I Wimsey am Like Michael Phelps

1. We both have jumbo sized hands and feet (or paws, as the case may be)

2. We both possess a pair of extravagantly generous ears

3. We are both really large, but are also trim and sleek at the same time

4. We both get loud when we are excited

5. We both like to go fast

6. We both like to stick our noses in water

7. We both eat mass quantities of food yet remain mysteriously slender (towing humans, like swimming, being highly aerobic)

8. We are both champions

9. We both hate to lose and seldom do

10. People make a fuss about us both and take our pictures wherever we go

11. We both amaze our family and friends with our feats of athletic prowess

Now with reference to this last point, as you know many ordinary canines like to rearrange the bedding in the middle of the night, frequently leaving their humans with the short side of the blanket. I, however, engaged in some truly extraordinary bedtime shenanigans this week: I moved the entire mattress—and while Maria was still sleeping on it! She didn’t wake up until she rolled over and fell on the floor (I sagely stuck to the side of the bed that was still supported by the bed frame—I’m not as unintelligent as has been rumored in certain quarters). Why did I do this? For the same reason I do most things—I want to and I can. My only regret was that I was unable to capture it for You Tube.

Of course in addition to Michael Phelps, everyone is talking about gymnastics, which is another event that lends itself perfectly well to Houndly skills.

Wimsey’s Gymnastics Competition

Tim Daggett: I am here with Elfie Schlegel at the Hound Gymnastics competition. Tonight is the pack competition and tomorrow is the race for the coveted All Around Hound title.

Elfie Shlegel: Yes, Tim and as you know the event consists of four rotations: Garden, Vault, Soft Goods and the Floor Exercise.

Tim Daggett: Yes, and this event takes place inside an actual home where a pack of hounds will be scored on the speed and style with which they reduce its contents to trash.

Elfie Schlegel: Team Wimsey is favored here—their destructive powers are legendary and team captain Wimsey will also compete tomorrow night for All Around Hound.

Tim Daggett: It’s going to be a thrilling competition, Elfie. Team Wimsey is up against a formidable pack of young Chinese Hounds.

Elfie: And speaking of age, Tim, it is rumored that some of the Chinese pack are actually puppies, which, given how destructive and fearless puppies are, confers an unfair advantage.

Tim: Well the Chinese have produced AKC registrations that they say prove their pack is of competition age but Bela Karolyi is threatening to have their teeth examined.

Elfie: Anyway, the first event is Garden and Hounds will be scored on the number of plants they can dig up (bonus points for mature, deep rooted shrubs and prize flower beds), the number of holes they can dig and the mounds of poop they can conceal until someone unwittingly steps in it.

Tim: And of course the esthetic component will weigh heavily on the judges’ minds—when the Hounds are finished the plants should look like a tornado cruised though and the ground should have that moonscaped appearance so beloved by Hound aficionados.

Elfie: Garden is not team captain Wimsey’s best event—living in New York City he doesn’t get the practice times in that the other Hounds have, but he should make up for it on the other three events. Vault (also sometimes called “Refrigerator”) is a competition to see which team can open and strip a refrigerator’s contents bare and then lounge about innocently as if they had nothing to do with it. Judges will take deductions for burping and muzzle licking.

Tim: Unquestionably Wimsey is a capable Hound on this apparatus and he has the style of innocent look that the international judges favor. But his real strengths are soft goods and floor. He is an excellent soft goods worker—he’s got the big feet and long nails for extra shredding power so he is not as reliant on his teeth as some of the other Hounds. And he’s especially effective on towels and pillows, which carry a high degree of difficulty.

Elfie: But let’s not forget his high level of skill on floor exercise. His human has never had an intact rug or carpet for more than a few minutes and he is a very powerful and complete competitor on this apparatus—even making sure to destroy the under padding; it’s attention to those little details that make him world champion in this event. And of course he has that clean, elegant line with which he moves through the exercise. The judges love that.

Tim: It should be a wonderful competition and we predict that Wimsey will make up for his low scores in Garden to win the Individual Gold Hound of the Baskervilles Medal tomorrow night.

And of course I would certainly win a gold medal for my powerful towing abilities (“Help! Wimsey is doing his tractor imitation again!”) should that ever become an Olympic sport. My towing prowess has even given rise to a new unit of measurement known as Wimsey Pull Units (WPUs, pronounced “whip yous”). Units of force are expressed in Newtons (after my idol, Sir Isaac) and now units of tow can be expressed in Wimseys. They come in very handy when Elizabeth is describing to Maria the relative strengths of some of the powerful dogs she walks at the ASPCA (“Spud the pit bull only weighs 45lbs but he pulls with a force of 0.75 Wimseys—a very impressive effort”). Now on a per pound (or should I say per kilo, since this is science after all) basis I am not the strongest dog, but thanks to the laws of my good buddy Sir Isaac, size does matter.

Before we toddle off to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art I want to thank everyone for their concern about my cut elbow. Like any elite athlete I am now receiving medicated compresses and my elbow is being iced regularly. Cooked meals abound to encourage me to keep up my strength and to wash down my pills and I am spending my days being nursed over at Elizabeth’s (the nursing largely takes the form of me napping on her futon while she gazes at me sympathetically, ((which is not the way she usually gazes at me, particularly when I am being insubordinate, which I am most of the time)). And I hear that there are two large stuffed toys and some roast chicken that will shortly be at my disposal.

Anyway, today’s artistic masterpiece depicts a soothing summer scene that is heavily influenced by Asian art: Garden at Sainte Adresse (Claude Monet 1867, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Sainte Adresse is a resort on the Normandy coast and Monet painted some of his relatives peacefully enjoying the scenery (the peace being somewhat of an illusion as Monet was fighting at the time with his father owing to his latest unsuitable romantic conquest—“la plus ca change…” and all that). The painting’s composition consists of bands of color that were very reminiscent of the Japanese art that was newly popular at the time. But the woman in white is sitting next to a puzzlingly empty chair which makes me think that she is expecting someone. And who better to expect than a giant handsome Hound! Now instead of gazing pointlessly out to sea or talking to her no doubt tedious companion, she can commune with one of Nature’s own masterpieces, a magnificent Hound. But of course the Hound is not paying much attention to her—Hounds seldom pay attention to humans—but is gazing past her, perhaps to a much more important human such as someone selling ice cream or some other desirable comestible. Wimsey in the Garden at Sainte Adresse.

Well it is time for my massage and roast chicken snack.

Until next time,

Wimsey, The All Around Hound

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 79
August 8, 2008

Hello everyone. Wimsey of New York City here wishing you a happy 8/8/8! Now there should be some mystical significance to that date or number—if 666 is the sign of the beast 888 could be the sign of the Hound. (We are the sum of our parts: four giant paws with nails that cannot be clipped, two long ears that track mud, dirt, food and assorted vegetation into your home, one long tail to knock over your valuables and of course. The Nose, ruler of all it surveys).

And I think that there should be an astrological sign that people can be born under as well: “Individuals born under the sign of the Hound are stubborn, persistent, determined, willful, hard headed, tenacious, persevering, intransient, relentless, obdurate, incompliant, unyielding, unrelenting and thoroughly charming and adorable.” It would be a fantastic sign and I am sure everyone would want to be born under it. Now my human Maria, sadly, is born under the sign of the goat (whose only advantage is that it is better than being born under the sign of the crab) but her friend Elizabeth fares a bit better as she is born under the sign of the water bearer. Now this is wholly appropriate as she will be pouring lots of water over me (and unfortunately over herself and her bathroom floor as well) this evening as another episode of Wimsey Bath Night rapidly approaches. Now I myself am a Pisces which explains my extraordinary musical ability and sensitive and artistic nature but as a bloodhound I am much more interested in stealing and eating fish than I am in emulating them.

And speaking of being a bloodhound, lots of people always ask me about the origin of the name, as generally we are a mild mannered lot (unless riled up by the scent and sight of some purloinable food item or one of our canine or human friends with whom we would like to play). There is some thought that the name refers to our almost magical ability to track an animal from a spot of its blood (this ability was confirmed to me by a retired police officer that I met last year who told me how the bloodhound he was handling tracked a murder suspect to his apartment door on the basis of a drop of blood found at the scene of the crime). Then there is the idea that since we bloodhounds were very rare, expensive and highly prized as status symbols—kind of like the Maybach of the Middle Ages—and could only be owned by royalty and aristocrats (i.e. people of the blood) that “bloodhound” was a shortened version of blooded hound. Of course an alternative explanation is that bloodhound is a contraction of “that bloody Hound” as in “that bloody hound has eaten my best jerkin again!” This usage continues today, primarily in the British Isles where cries of “Get that bloody Hound out of the Sunday roast” echo throughout domestic establishments in that scepter’d and much Hound’d isle.

But, possessing an innovative turn of mind, this week I added a new interpretation to the meaning of the word “bloodhound.” I have a weak patch of skin above my elbow which seems to open at random intervals during the summer and makes a colossal bloody mess. Fortunately, after a brief, but copious emission of blood, the thing stops-- but not before I get rushed to the vet for some expensive “tsk tsk-ing.” Apparently there is very little that can be done (padding the elbow having resulted in a shred fest for me) but my humans have been advised that I should take things easy for a bit. The taking it easy means the cancellation of my midday runs and being forced to spend my days at Elizabeth’s being cooked for and canoodled with owing to my delicate condition. Fortunately the taking it easy does not preclude shoving Elizabeth’s newspapers off of her lap and replacing them with my head nor the insertion of my muzzle into her refrigerator in order to drool upon its contents. And I do get to spend considerable time lounging on her futon which is made up especially for me with a delightful set of Hound scented sheets.

And naturally taking it easy could get quite exciting, for at any moment I may turn into an actual “blood”hound creating lots of drama and mess. Personally, I highly recommend having medical problems that are expensive (if your humans are broke they can’t go out to dinners and movies and leave you alone), not actually serious (you don’t want to get the humans too upset) and most important, messy and inconvenient. This latter point is crucial as I get to wreak havoc and instead of getting yelled at I get cooked meals.

And I also get to go to the vet, which I actually enjoy quite a bit. Everyone makes a fuss over me and admires me and feeds me and then I disappear behind closed doors where my humans can hear the sounds of my feet running around on the floor and much ear flapping and baying all accompanied by a variety of muffled human sounds. Finally I emerge happily dragging some poor newly hound smelling vet tech behind me and everyone insists that I was very well behaved. They’re not talking and neither am I.

Now I bring all of this up because this week we coincidentally received a Google search about bloodhounds bleeding from the elbows. Of course there were also ones about “why basset hounds destroy things” (???!!!Because they’re Hounds) and also a search about celebrities who own bloodhounds (not surprisingly few do. Why would they?)

But in spite of doctor’s orders to take it easy, I did run into my buddy Louie the Weimaraner in Riverside Park this week. Now I have spoken before about Louie—a handsome giant Weimie with whom I sometimes am run in the afternoons. And I think these pictures are really appropriate (don’t show them to my vet) as the Weimaraner is also known as the grey ghost and think Louie’s ectoplasm was resisting being photographed.

Well normally this would be time the time that we would visit the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art. However, it is about time for my bath. For those suffering houndart withdrawal or those who are unfamiliar with my Institute, please visit to see some selections from the collection. Tonight should be a lot of fun—after my bath and my cooked meal we are all going to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics and I will be imagining all the havoc I could have wreaked had I been invited to participate. . China’s loss is my humans’ gain.

Until next time,

Wimsey, an actual bloodhound

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry #78
August 1, 2008

Hello everyone. Wimsey the Hot and Stinky Hound here, reporting to you from the lush paradise of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Summer weather abounds here and funnily enough, even though hot weather happens every year at about the same time, my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth always seem surprised and annoyed by it. But I think there are a few advantages of the summer that they should stop and appreciate:

1. Due to the lack of snow, they don’t have to wear crampon laden mountaineering boots to stay upright when walking me.

2. My delicious natural stench blends into the city’s summer mélange which consists primarily of rotting garbage tinged with delicate notes of automobile exhaust and wafting excrement.

3. Bending over to pick up my poop is a lot easier when you are not dressed like the Michelin Man.

4. The post poop dirt I kick in their faces is not icy cold.

But humans always seem peeved by these seasonal variations, unlike we Hounds who embrace them—in summer, for instance, I have a wide selection of full figured plants and bushes into which I can inconveniently poop—some even have thorns making poop retrieval extra perilous; in fall I can wreak havoc with carefully raked piles of leaves; in winter I like to create artistic yellow snow art (perhaps I should feature these in the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art as a contemporary medium) and in spring I get to drag my humans through the slippery mud (did you know that mud can be almost as slippery as snow?) and dig up an entirely new generation of flowers.

Apart from the fact that it gets hot in the summer, the other big news around here is that a mouse has been spotted chez moi. Now Maria dislikes rodents with the same stand on a chair and shriek kind of intensity that Elizabeth dislikes bugs-- which prompted a long and vigorous debate about whether it was worse to have a mouse or a water bug (perhaps the Oxford Union should take up this question) which, although a more logical discussion than the one about the superhero superiority of Superman versus Batman as at least both mice and water bugs actually exist, I think really speaks to the depths to which life in New York City reduces otherwise rational people. I expect it’s the effect of living in tiny apartments that cost the gross national product of small nations that is to blame. And of course sharing that already limited space with a mouse or a water bug, to say nothing of a giant fragrant Hound, makes it all that much worse. But the ladies are looking at me with a new respect these days (“Perhaps Wimsey can catch the mouse!” and “But that would make him actually useful. He’s never been useful before so why would he start now?”). But of course I am not a terrier let alone a cat, so the best I can do is use my nose to tell Maria where the mouse is-- but I expect owing to the size of New York City apartments she is already in possession of that information. Anyway, it is another one of the great ironies of urban life that the city is infested by both rodents and terriers. Apparently the latter are purely for ornamental purposes only. Like me.

But other than the sudden increase in my apartment’s animal population, it has been a pretty good week. My Sunday afternoon in Central Park wasn’t rained out for once and I ran into my friend Bruno the Rottweiler on Tuesday. Now Bruno is a magnificent fellow who trots about carrying his own leash or his human’s groceries and such, owing to the fact that he is extremely intelligent and very well trained (but I don’t believe in holding these handicaps against him). My humans always look at me with a jaundiced eye after witnessing Bruno’s impressive feats of obedience (“If we let Wimsey carry his own leash he would carry it all the way to Connecticut” and “Groceries carried by Wimsey would end up in Wimsey.”) but Bruno and I nevertheless manage to create pandemonium anyway. The fun begins when I detect Bruno and emit one of my exuberant bays of greeting. Then Bruno, whose intelligence has fortunately not hampered his enthusiasm for a game, responds by charging full tilt down the street to meet me. Now a large Rotteweiler charging anywhere is definitely a sight to give one pause, but when the object of the charge is a fellow creature, well, what can I say? Faces go white. People shriek. No actual fainting has occurred but I am ever hopeful. And just as the world braces for the horror that is about to ensue, we play bow and it’s on. The clash of the Titans. WWE Hound Smack Down. Canine Olympic Wrestling. (no surprise to anyone, Bruno always wins—he possesses Teutonic brains and brawn. Like a smarter version of Arnold Schwarzenegger). Now my humans always ask why I can’t be more like Bruno but I am sure that Bruno asks why he can’t be more like me!

But still there is great excitement around here as the actual Olympic Games are about to begin-- assuming the athletes will be able to breathe. Apparently the games are being held in one of the world’s most polluted cities, a fact that has only recently come to light on account of someone noticing the gray haze that always hangs over Beijing and the plethora of choking natives wearing masks. Not to worry though, they shut down a few factories last week to take care of the problem (this is like removing the cheese puffs from a banquet table and thinking that you’ve solved the problem of me stealing the food). It’s this kind of thing that leaves Hounds with the impression that humans are just not all that bright. Nevertheless I am looking forward to many happy hours on the couch watching the excitement of the Games whilst snacking on the remote and fitting as much of myself as possible onto Maria’s lap. It occurs to me that few people realize the important role that Hounds have played in the Olympic movement. The ancient Olympics began in Greece in the 780s BC and the events were much different from those of today:

Events of the Ancient Olympics

Running: Runners competed to see who could get away from their stinky, pesky Hounds the fastest.

Jumping: Jumpers competed to see who could get the farthest away from their Hounds in a single bound.

Marathon: A race of 26 miles for those who really wanted to get even further away from their Hounds.

Chariot race: For those who wanted to use horses to escape the clutches of their Hounds.

Boxing: Contestants fought over who had the worst Hound.

Wrestling: Contestants slathered in slimy Hound drool wrestled for the glory of their Hound-- who then had the honor of stealing their prize.

Discus (Frisbee): If you can’t get away from your Hound, then get your Hound away from you.

Javelin (Stick): See Discus

But the modern Olympics are much different:

Events of the Modern Olympics

The 20 yard dig: An event to determine which Hound can rip up twenty feet of expensive landscaping in the least amount of time.

Long distance tow: Hounds tow humans in a variety of weight classes over long distances. Extra points are awarded for toppling a human or dislocating a shoulder.
Long distance drool fling: An event to determine which Hound can fling drool the furthest. Extra points are awarded for flinging on spectators or for the inclusion of colloidal mud.

Sprint: An event to determine which hound can escape the fastest whilst carrying an entire roast chicken in its mouth.

The Shred and Jerk: An event to determine which Hound can reduce the contents of the family laundry basket to a useless pile of rags in the least amount of time.

The Snatch: An event wherein a Hound must obtain a sandwich whilst a human is still in the process of eating it.

The High Jump: An event in which a Hound steals expensive Italian leather gloves off the top shelf.

The Long Jump: An event in which a Hound knocks a human over with a single leap from across the room.

Diving: Hounds launch themselves off of elevated pieces of furniture into the stomachs of supine napping humans.

Floor Exercise: Hound vs. Vacuum Cleaner

The Vault: You hide valuables. Your Hound finds and destroys valuables.

(Un)Fencing: A big dig event to see which Hound can defeat a fence the fastest.

Modern Hound Pentathlon: The hound must accurately fling drool thus sufficiently distracting a human in order to steal the food off of his plates, then raid the laundry bin and shred a brassiere whilst evading capture, then uproot a valuable ornamental shrub and escape to the finish line by digging out of a fenced yard.

Of course Bruno may beat me at wrestling but I think I am the better Olympian and would certainly win gold (yellow being one of my favorite colors).

Well it is time to leave the realm of sport and enter the realm of art. Our visit this week to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art takes us away from the hot and sticky urban landscape and sends us into the cool and shady world of an 18th century Dutch forest. The Forest Stream, (Jacob van Ruisdael 1760, Metropolitan Museum, New York). Van Ruisdael was one of the great masters of Dutch landscape painting and here we can see how brilliantly he evokes the leafy coolness to be found in a forest stream. But the stream seems so empty with just that one ram. Such a place of sylvan beauty would surely attract many additional and highly attractive animals. See how much more complete the painting looks with the insertion of a hot Hound who is cooling his extra large feet. And notice how the presence of this wonderful creature enhances the pastoral beauty of the scene. We can almost feel the cool water the splendid Hound will ultimately fling on us when he shakes! Wimsey in a Forest Stream.

Well all of this has my humans hunting as usual for some peaceful and cool (in the climactic and not the cultural sense) locale upstate where we can all bask in some leafy splendor and Elizabeth can engage in some more strenuous intellectual debate with her GPS. But until then I will have to settle for digging holes in the cool earth of the Central Park Ramble or basking in the splendor of the decidedly unleafy air conditioner. Of course I could make Maria happy and hunt for that mouse. But I don’t think so.

Until next time,
Wimsey, Hound Olympian