Friday, September 26, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 86
September 26, 2008

Hello Everyone! It’s me, Wimsey, trying to stay dry here on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where we are having some seriously wet weather. And whereas some degree of moisture is helpful in enhancing the delectable smell of rotting leaves and rodentian goings on, there can be too much of a good thing. Of course the rain also enhances my already formidable fragrance which is some consolation, at least for me. My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have other views on the matter and are forever in search of newer and better products to mask my fine houndly aroma with which their apartments are permanently imbued. Last week Elizabeth trotted over to Laytners Linens on Broadway and installed a reed dispenser filled with golden orchid scent as she felt that her houseguest from the UK would prefer the scent of orchids to the scent of Hound. In the end the visitor was able to enjoy both these fine fragrances as they became intertwined in a festive mélange (although it was unclear whether the resulting smell was golden orchids with undertones of Wimsey or Wimsey with distinctive notes of golden orchid).

But Elizabeth need not have worried—the visitor from the UK, having had Beagles herself, was well familiar with the many attributes of the Hound-- which is why she now has a Golden Retriever. Not that I have anything against Golden Retrievers but I do get tired of these better behaved breeds being held up to us Hounds as paragons of canine virtue. Where humans see obedience Hounds see a lack of independence. Where humans see an eagerness to please Hounds see a perfidious lack of character. And where humans see a loving nature the Hound sees a suspiciously needy personality. But the reality is that humans (especially in psychotherapy obsessed New York) spend inordinate amounts of time and money on the analyst’s couch hoping to become more like Hounds (assertive, direct, independent, confident, determined, entitled and oozing self esteem) and less like Golden Retrievers (needy, dependent, easily influenced by the opinions of others, ingratiating and tractable). In fact, I believe that the Hound can play an invaluable role in the therapeutic process:

Hound Assisted Psychotherapy (HAPY)

Therapist: Please lie down on the couch.

Patient: There seems to be a large Hound already there.

Therapist: And how does this large Hound make you feel?

Patient: Like there is no room on the couch.

Therapist: And what do you propose to do then?

Patient: Sorry, I didn’t hear you—he’s snoring.

Therapist: And what do propose to do about the large snoring Hound on the couch?

Patient: Well I suppose I could just stand and talk louder.

Therapist: And how would that make you feel?

Patient: Like finding another therapist.

Therapist: Yes, I can understand those feelings. And of course if you left I would have more time to spend with my Hound, which would give me a great deal of pleasure. But how would that make you feel.

Patient: Like I had just spent $200 for a five minute conversation about a giant snoring Hound.

Therapist: But does the giant snoring Hound remind you of anything?

Patient: Well he does remind me a bit of my domineering mother (especially some of the wrinkly bits) and of course of all the kids in my class who used to bully me. And of my teachers. And of my boss. And of my ex-wife. And of my annoying neighbor. And of the waiters who coerce you into spending $10 for a bottle of water when you really wanted tap.

Therapist: Transference is the cornerstone of the analytic process! And how did you deal with all these people?

Patient: Pretty much like I am dealing with the giant snoring Hound.

Therapist: You see in life you are either the giant snoring Hound-- thoroughly entitled, confidently claiming your space-- or the sniveling, ineffectual analytic patient standing next to the couch and talking louder. Which would you rather be?

Patient: The Hound!

Therapist: Exactly. Now feed him a piece of liver and perhaps next week he will allow you to perch on the arm.

I might add that neither of my humans feels it necessary to have a therapist—they have me! They just ask themselves “What would Wimsey do” and it is surprising how easily life’s little annoyances disappear (of course some people do object to being shoved off of their seats on the subway). So I say to humans, if you admire Golden Retrievers so much, try living like one and see where that gets you.

But I digress. We were discussing the visit of Elizabeth’s English friend. Now after several days of massive bouts of tea drinking, clothes shopping and cocktail swilling-- occasionally interrupted by some sightseeing-- Elizabeth proposed to her friend that they accompany me on a lovely walk around Central Park. Now it has been a while since I last saw the English friend, but a Hound never forgets a scent, especially of a hound loving pushover. So when I saw her I immediately produced an impressive array of greeting bays—I must say I have been in fine voice lately—which impressed her immeasurably. She kept petting me to make me stop. Who amongst us can resist the flattering vocal attentions of a handsome Hound such as myself; I am the Rudolph Valentino of Hounds (except for the silent part of course). The friend was captivated! So much so that she wanted to immediately empty her newly purchased bottle of water to give me the bottle to play with (“But listen to him-- he wants it!”--my bottle begging bays having even more auditory gusto than my greeting bays). She did observe, however, that I seemed somewhat less well behaved (who me?) than on our former walks. I was probably sick last time she was here. Or perhaps it was just that I was a mere stripling of a pup at 118 lbs instead of at my current commanding mass of 128lbs. Anyway, I think it was when I noticed a bit of slack in my 20 foot leash and took off at a dead run for a particularly odoriferous bush with Elizabeth running as fast as she could to keep up that might have prompted her observation.

But as far as badly behaved dogs went, her Beagles could certainly have given even me a run for the money. In addition to relentlessly raiding rubbish bins, climbing into the dishwasher, snatching sandwiches out of people’s hands, counter surfing, and consuming everything from lemons to various pieces of electronic equipment (“The breed book did say that The Beagle has a hearty appetite”) they were formidable Hounds even on outdoor outings. There was the time for instance that William, the chief Beagle, having been let loose in a field, noticed a paucity of appropriately vertical surfaces upon which to relieve himself. So he did the only thing a Hound could—he ran up to a stranger’s leg and availed himself of the facilities-- leaving a profusely apologetic Elizabeth trailing in his wake. There is nothing in Emily Post to cover such a situation. Fortunately being an American helped—the stranger seemed convinced that this was just another barbaric aberration common in the colonies.

Then there was the time that a large group of enormous cows blocked William and Elizabeth’s path, imprisoning them in a field. Now William was an inveterate cow chaser (unlike his younger brother Henry who was much more of a bird man himself) and even though he was being held tightly on a leash next to Elizabeth’s leg, the cows seem to sense that they were in the presence of a canine who was potentially up to no good. Elizabeth observed that the herd of cows appeared to be surprisingly assertive and seemed to be led by this one particularly aggressive cow (probably because it was a bull) and every time she tried to head for the stile that led out of the field the cows charged over to block her way. With visions of Pamplona racing in her head, Elizabeth tossed poor William into the Thames-- which fortunately bordered the field-- and waded around the blocked stile whilst the indignant William swam at her side. And trust me nothing is quite as unpleasant as an involuntarily soaked Hound, particularly one who has just been deprived of the opportunity to wreak havoc amongst a herd of cows. I can so relate. Well to this day Elizabeth claims that she dresses like a farmer on the off chance that she might be forced to wade into the Thames to escape a herd of angry cattle. (“You never know when raggedy clothes and Wellington boots will come in handy.”)

The thing is that we Hounds look so good on paper. Breed books wax poetic about our fine attributes and it is not until one has acquired a Hound that one realizes the true meaning behind the accolades. In addition to mentioning that Beagle has a hearty appetite the breed book used by Elizabeth’s friend also mentioned that the Beagle will exercise itself in its yard. Of course the fact that this exercise takes the form of digging out of the yard in order to raid the neighborhood trash bins is nowhere specified.

Anyway, as far as the English visitor goes, every cloud has a silver lining (and for Hounds, life is pretty much all about stealing the silver linings) so although I was deprived of Elizabeth’s services for a few days I received due compensation in the form of extra adulation and a left over piece of steak au poivre. In addition, the English visitor insisted on buying and feeding me my favorite snack—Grom gelato and you can see me being Grommed on the video below.

Well, it is once again time for our weekly visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houdish Art and in this week’s visit we continue our election season theme of Great Moments in American History. Last week we saw how one of my colonial ancestors, the martial genius, Nimrod Wimsey assisted in winning the Battle of Saratoga and today we jump ahead to 1781 and the surrender of General Cornwallis as immortalized by John Trumbull: The Surrender of Cornwallis (John Trumbull, 1820, Capitol Rotunda, Washington DC). Now in 1781 things weren’t actually going all that well for the colonies—the Brits were by no means beaten and occupied considerable territory, including New York City. To make matters worse General Cornwallis was rampaging about in the south and had captured Charleston and Richmond. It was then that General Washington and the French Admiral, the Comte de Rochambeau, ably assisted by Nimrod Wimsey, put their heads together to come up with a plan. Washington, who had considerable troops in New York, wanted to attack the British there while Rochambeau, who had a fleet waiting off of Chesapeake Bay, wanted to confront the British in Virginia. The impasse was broken by Washington’s trusty Hound, Nimrod, who sided with Admiral Rochambeau (Nimrod’s detractors claim the strategic application of a considerable amount of foie gras played a role in Nimrod’s thinking, but family papers indicate that it was the entrenched position of British forces in New York that actually swayed him—but he did like being addressed as Monsieur le Hound). In any case, the rest as they say is history. Rochambeau’s fleet defeated the British in Chesapeake Bay and blockaded British forces whilst Washington’s newly arrived army, together with the forces of the Marquis de Lafayette, shelled Cornwallis’ armies into submission. And then, in what amounts to one of the greatest sore loser moments in history, Cornwallis claimed to be too ill to surrender to Washington and instead sent his sword via one General O’Hara. Thus in Trumbull’s famous painting we see General O’Hara surrendering to General Benjamin Lincoln as both Rochambeau, and Washington depicted on horseback in front of the French troops (on the left, under the white Bourbon flag) and the American troops (on the right under the colonial colors) respectively were of too high a rank to accept the sword from a subordinate. But although military protocol dictated that Washington could not accept the sword he positioned his Hound Nimrod, in his dress uniform, next to general Lincoln as his personal representative.

Well it has been an eventful week here in Houndville and I feel a nap coming on (when do I not?)

Until next time,

Wimsey, Conqueror of the British, both ancient and modern

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wimsey's Blog:Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 85
September 19, 2008

Hello Everyone. It’s me Wimsey coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where we are having a splendid week of brilliant autumn weather. And before I forget, I want to thank those of you who have given me awards—my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth hate it when I get any type of recognition and it’s all “Wimsey already behaves as if he owns the world (don’t I?)—all these awards will only make him worse.” And “But can anything really make Wimsey worse?” But I appreciate getting the awards, which is all that matters, so thanks!

So what with the weather and the awards this would have been a perfect week were it not for the perfidy of Elizabeth who is apparently taking a Hound–free holiday to entertain a visiting friend from England. Now I am all in favor of visiting friends from England as long as they are visiting me--think of how much Grom gelato they could buy me with their strong currency. And of course as a weighty Hound, I like any country that calls its currency “the pound.” I am to receive a visit from this friend later today and I intend to show her just how strong a pound really can be. (Perhaps other countries could call their currencies the bay, the stench, the drool, or the sticky spiky hairs that you will never really be able to get out of the couch).

But instead of attending to me, Elizabeth has been shopping for gourmet treats such as cheeses, pates, olives and smoked salmons to accompany the consumption of wine and cocktails—gin and tonics apparently being a dietary staple—along with tea—of the English. And of course Elizabeth has been lavish with her purchases secure in the knowledge that with me around none of it need go to waste (I am especially fond of goose liver pate, although my attempts to secure the actual raw material have not been met with approbation. ((“Don’t let Wimsey play with the geese!”—humans being attached to the delusion that I, a magnificent hunting Hound, want to “play” with the delectable animals and birds with which New York’s parks abound. I guess this sounds better than “Don’t let Wimsey run down, shred and consume that poor defenseless animal”)). Anyway there has been much brewing of tea chez Elizabeth, as it is not a myth that the English believe that a nice cup of tea is the antidote to all the world’s ills (following this up with a large gin never hurts either). I believe people in England who have Hounds drink an extraordinary amount of tea.

But never fear—even when I am not actually present in body, my houndly presence is still difficult to evade. Yesterday Elizabeth and her friend decided to take a break from shopping, tea drinking and gin swilling to do something that all visitors to New York are supposed to do— visit the Statue of Liberty. It was all:

“The Statue of Liberty was given to the United States by the French. Wimsey loves the French you know—it’s where his ancestors are from.”

“What a lovely park surrounding the statue! I am sure Wimsey would love it here.”

“I can’t believe that Wimsey is not permitted to visit the Statue of Liberty, especially as it’s such a lovely day. Perhaps we should get up a petition.”

“The Statue is holding a book that is inscribed July 4, 1776—did you know that one of Wimsey’s ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence?”

“Lady Liberty is trodding on shackles—Wimsey disapproves of tethering too.”

“Any statue honoring liberty is really a statue honoring Hounds—an extreme devotion to personal liberty being one of the great hallmarks of the Hound.

“Don’t you think the statue would look better like this?”

Anyway, since I have only one human this week Maria has been forced to bear the brunt of my attentions (“When exactly is this friend leaving—isn’t all this sunshine bad for her health?”). As a consequence of Maria’s attempts to single handedly distract and entertain me I have acquired a new giant green octopus. Now although this giant green octopus is very pleasing it is not really compensation for the lack of my full entourage, a fact that I will make painfully clear to Elizabeth when I next see her.

And now as I announced last week, in honor of our presidential election season the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art is pleased to present Great Moments in American History. Last week we saw how my ancestor Nathaniel Wimsey signed the Declaration of Independence and helped shorten the Revolutionary War. But Nathaniel was not the only colonial Wimsey and today we turn our attention to military matters and the contribution of my martially gifted ancestor, Nimrod Wimsey, who was one of Washington’s chief strategists.

The military turning point of the American Revolution was the Battle of Saratoga (really this was two battles—the Battle of Freeman’s Farm and the Battle of Bemis Heights but as both are near Saratoga they are known collectively as the Battle of Saratoga). Anyway the British had what they thought was quite a clever plan—a chap named General Burgoyne would invade New York from Canada from the north while another cove called General Howe would move up from southern New York to meet him in Albany (nothing good ever happens in Albany) and sever New England from the rest of the colonies. But General Howe decided inexplicably to move south against strategically unimportant Philadelphia—no one at the time new why, but the papers of Nimrod Wimsey reveal that he advised Washington to send his regiment, known as the Hounds of Hell, to harass Howe’s army. Apparently the Hounds stole everyone’s pants and headed south for Philly with Howe and his army in hot pursuit. Without the benefits of text messaging or even cell phones, poor General Burgoyne remained alone heading south to a rendezvous for which he had been stood up. And things got even worse when a group of Nimrod’s hounds stole and ate most of Burgoyne’s supplies. This forced him to send men to gather more supplies, during which time they were attacked and Burgoyne lost 15% of his army. Meanwhile the exquisitely sensitive noses of Nimrod’s hounds were able to pin point the exact British location and Nimrod advised Washington to send a force northward. The end result was that Burgoyne was defeated by General Gates. Additionally, the French decided that any side that had access to Nimrod’s strategic mind and ferocious ability to get his own way was likely to win and consequently the French entered the war on the side of the Americans (it did not hurt that Nimrod was known to be fond of stealing French food and was heard to bay loudly on the subject of his French ancestry). Surrender of General Burgoyne (John Trumbull, 1817, Capitol Rotunda, Washington DC). As we can see, General Gates is gesturing towards Nimrod in order to acknowledge his key contribution to the victory. Nimrod himself, magnanimous in victory, was heard to offer Burgoyne a nice cup of tea.

Well that’s all for this week—I have to prepare to meet this international visitor and like Nimrod to engage in activities that will likely require the application of many nice cups of tea.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a large houndy chap

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry #84
September 12, 2008

Hello everyone, it’s me Wimsey coming to you from Hound HQ on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I am pleased to report that the weather has become a tad autumnal which means that I have become a tad frisky, much to the dismay of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who have trouble enough with me even in my more sedate moods. And at my last weigh in I achieved a majestic 128 pounds (that’s 58.2 kilo!), which is up three pounds from my normal 125, and thus I have even more mass with which to conduct physics experiments on the bodies of my unfortunate humans. Having pretty much perfected the half body drape (humans sit on my couch at their peril) I am now conducting experiments to see if I can actually curl my entire body onto Maria’s less than capacious lap. A difficult feat, I know, but we Hounds love a challenge and are relentless in our pursuit of comfort (and pretty much everything else). And of course the extra mass means it is becoming much harder to drag me out of Central Park which is 800 acres of pure Hound heaven. Not only is there an impressive variety of plants upon which to pee and under brush in which to hide poop, but there are also many interesting sights to behold. Here for instance, is a picture of me with a mime. Now I was very much in favor of investigating this mime further (I bet I could get her to talk!) but it was determined that the goosing mimes or the flinging drool on their painted skin would be inimical to their creative activities. But it did make me wonder why there are no Hound Mimes.

Human 1: Look! It’s a Hound mime!

Human 2: I though mimes were supposed to be silent.

Human 1: Not Hound mimes. But if you give him a piece of liver he will stop baying at you.

Human 2: OK. What else does he do?

Human 1: Well, if you give him another piece of liver he won’t jam his nose into your crotch.

Human 2: And what happens if I don’t feed him?

Human 1: Well, he’ll probably become quite peeved and fling muddy drool in your face. Or he might knock you down. Or play tug of war with your pants.

Human 2: So basically you have to bribe him not to annoy you. How is that entertaining?

Human 1: He is not meant to entertain you—you are meant to entertain him. He’s a Hound mime!

Anyway, the park was fantastic this week and I am honing my skills as a botanist-- I have recently identified several new types of nettle and thorn bearing plants into which to poop. The appreciative screams of delight that my unsuspecting humans emit are highly satisfying and I am sure that it will be quite some time before they again disparage my intellectual abilities. And I am always discovering interesting new places, like the café at the Sheep Meadow. Now over Labor Day during my stay with Elizabeth she became excessively hot and aggravated during one of our walks (I can’t imagine why—we often engage in scholarly disagreement over which direction to travel) so we dropped in on the Sheep Meadow café to could cool off with a beer. I enjoyed this beer break so much that now I furiously tow her there at every opportunity, whether she wants a beer or not! You really can’t win where I am concerned so I think my humans should just stop trying. All of which brings up the number one question my human Maria was asked this week—“Why do you have a dog like this?” An excellent question. My humans endure hoots of derision during our walks (who’s walking who?”) as I tow them through the park at high rates of speed. Meanwhile, Marmalade, a Hound from the nation’s capital reported to me that she recently ate a bird, a bat, assorted rodents and two stolen loaves of freshly baked bread and Gus from Alaska’s human received withering looks of scorn from a local dog trainer where Gus was being boarded and disapproving comments about the unusual matter that seemed to be passing through his digestive system. Let’s face it, in our hands even experienced dog people are made to look like incompetent neophytes. As to why we are not just tolerated but much loved, I am sure the shrinks of the world would find much to study, but I like to think that there is simply nothing as entertaining as a relentlessly self-interested and wholly unapologetic Hound. However, there are some alternative hypotheses:

Potential reasons why people harbor bloodhounds

Humans are insane.
They enjoy being humiliated by a dog
They don’t know what they are getting into until it is too late
We’re aspirational --they aspire to be like Hounds.
They think we’ll grow out of it
They have personal property to spare
They like a challenge
They think their Hound will be different
They enjoy serving a clearly superior being
They think we’re cute

And with all this nice weather my humans have been all “Wimsey seems reluctant to leave the park, I think he’s addicted” and “Maybe we should enroll him in a 12 step program.”

Wimsey’s 12 Step Park Addiction Program

Step 1:
Acknowledge that you believe your humans should live in a tent in the middle of the park.

Step 2: Accept that your humans do not want to live in a tent in the middle of the park.

Step 3: Show remorse to humans for dislocating their shoulders whilst avoiding all park exits.

Step 4: Show remorse to humans for splitting their ear drums with bays of protest when they attempt to remove you from the park.

Step 5: Show remorse to humans for lying down and refusing to move.

Step 6: Show remorse for making your humans look bad when they haul you out of the park.

Step 7: Encourage your humans to be optimistic---being addicted to the park is better than being addicted to eating the couch.

Step 8: Encourage your humans to be positive—fresh air is very healthy.
Step 9: Accept that you are controlled by a Higher Power—your nose.

Step 10: Help your humans to accept that you are controlled a Higher Power—your nose.

Step 11: Help your humans to accept that they are powerless in the face of this Higher Power.

Step 12: Furnish your humans with the name of a good camping supply store.

Anyway, as many of you know we are deep into presidential election season and much excitement is being generated by the contest. In honor of this I am pleased to announce that the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art is beginning a new feature: Great Moments in American History.

Today we begin with the signing of the declaration of independence: Declaration of Independence (John Trumbull, 1817, Capitol Rotunda,Washington DC). Now as you know my ancestors were key figures in the American Revolution and I am a distinguished member of the HAR (Hounds of the Revolution). In this painting we see my ancestor, Nathaniel Wimsey with his fellow signatories of the Declaration. Now Nathaniel Wimsey worked closely with Samuel Adams as founder of the Hounds of Liberty, (an off shoot of the Sons of Liberty) and was considered the orator of the Wimsey family (he is known for advising Patrick Henry to amend “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death to ‘Give Me Liberty or I’ll Steal Your Stuff” but was in the end over-ruled and for advising Sam Adams to change his “Don’t tread on me” flag to read “Don’t tread on me or I’ll bite you in the tush” but this was deemed excessively wordy). And of course Nathaniel was also the inspiration for Jefferson’s reference to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (Wimsey’s original phrase was “life liberty and the pursuit of squirrels” but Jefferson elected to broaden the language). In any case when the Declaration was delivered to George III and his Prime Minister Lord North it was reported that the King immediately had a bilious fit when he noticed the unmistakable signs that a Hound was involved-- the colonies would almost certainly get their way no matter what methods the Crown employed to the contrary. George III may have been mad but he wasn’t stupid and he had a healthy respect for the determination of the Hound. Indeed, historians believe that on the basis on Nathaniel Wimsey’s involvement a much smaller force of red coats was sent than would have otherwise been deployed, thus shortening the war. Nathaniel by the way was a big fan of the British uniform if not their wearers and declared that the deep woolen pile of the red coat made for a superior nap. Indeed he was frequently to be seen in the highest councils of government sagaciously resting on his favorite stolen and well ventilated red coat.

And all this talk of England is highly appropriate—Elizabeth is expecting a guest from across the pond this week and I am planning on introducing her to the joys of being towed around Central Park. (She previously had beagles—an experience that so traumatized her that she now has a Golden Retriever). So off I go to work on my (lack of) manners.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a Great American Hound
(the original design of Mt. Rushmore)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Wimsey's Blog:Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 83
September 5, 2008

Hello everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the still summery Upper West Side of Manhattan (or Hound on Hudson as I like to
think of it). And I hope you all had as great a week as I have had. My human Maria had some painful dental work and decided that walking me whilst taking codeine was a quick ticket to the emergency room and did the prudent thing—she sent me off for a visit to her long suffering friend Elizabeth. Now Elizabeth is always long suffering not the least because I am in the process of destroying her shoulder, but also because she harbors the persistent delusion that she should be able to control me. Why she should believe this I have no idea as she has not a shred of evidence to support her belief. But nevertheless, my Labor Day weekend was all cooked meals, park walks and relaxing naps on her futon. Elizabeth’s Labor Day weekend was all cooking the meals, taking the walks and watching me nap on her futon. I think she had a fantastic time as she was in a wonderful mood when she finally returned me to Maria. And during the course of one of our weekend walks we were stopped by a young Russian woman accompanied by a 3 month old Harlequin Great Dane. The woman, eyeing the assortment of hound control equipment with which I am always decorated, asked “Does this dog listen to you?” When Elizabeth stopped laughing she snorted, “He’s a Hound.” Seeing the woman’s puzzled expression and cognizant of the fact that English was not her first language, Elizabeth expounded at great length on the fact that as a Hound the only thing that I was bred to be answerable to was my powerful nose and that in this respect, I Wimsey, was a particularly well bred animal. I am always happy to be used for educational purposes as long as it is not me who is expected to be educated.

Wimsey’s School of Socratic Houndship

Professor Wimsey: Class, what is this animal?

Class: It is a Hound.

Professor Wimsey: And why do Hounds exist?

Class: They exist to smell things.

Professor Wimsey: And why else do they exist?

Class: They exist to enjoy themselves.

Professor Wimsey: And how do they enjoy themselves?

Class: By making sure that humans do not enjoy themselves.

Professor Wimsey: And what are the hallmarks of Hound behavior?

Class: The destruction of property, the stealing of food, the monopolizing of furniture, and the flinging of drool.

Professor Wimsey: And what else are Hounds known for?

Class: They bay and they stink.

Professor Wimsey: And why do humans harbor Hounds?

Class: They’re dumb?

Professor Wimsey: That’s true, but it wasn’t the answer that I was looking for. Think again.

Class: They are very cute!

Professor Wimsey: Well done!

Well as you can see, it is one of the Great Mysteries of Life as to why humans admire Hounds. Personally I think it is because humans are very good about lying to themselves

Top Ten Lies People Tell Themselves About Hounds

He’s not disobedient; he’s just a slow learner.
Towing is good for his pectorals.

Drool stains are easy to remove.
It was my fault—I should not have left the (pick one: dinner, sandwich, shoe, glove, bra, sock, towel, sheet, pillow, book, couch) out.
Dogs have a natural instinct to dig.
Peeing on the plants will make them grow better.
He shoved me off the bed because he was trying to get close to me.
He steals the pillows because they have my scent.
Knocking me down is a sign of affection.
He loves me.

Anyway I did have a great week and I have included a video of me chewing a stick in Central Park. I do this whenever I suspect that my humans would like to go home and it is a wonderful diversionary
tactic as nobody has the heart to take the stick away, especially as there are usually crowds of admirers watching the stick chewing with great interest and delight. But of course if my humans are hanging out with me in the park they are not watching the political conventions that have been on TV. I think that Hounds should also have their own party convention.

Hound National Convention

Chairman Wimsey: I call the Hound Platform Committee to order.

Hound Delegate: We don’t listen to orders.

Chairman Wimsey: OK. I declare the Platform Committee in session. We need to decide on the planks in the Hound Party Platform.

Hound Delegate: Can we pee on this platform?

Chairman Wimsey: No, the other party does that. We just build it.

Hound Delegate: Mr. Chairman, I wish to report that The Honorable delegate from the great state of Ohio is chewing up the “No H
alti” plank.

Chairman Wimsey: There will be no chewing up of planks until they are all assembled! OK, so far we have:

A mandate to ban the use of all Haltis, Gentle Leaders, Prongs, Slip Chains, martingales, No Pull Harnesses (specifically but not limited to, The Easy Walk Harness, the Sensation Harness and the Dream Walker) and any piece of equipment developed by Cesar Millan, either now or in the future. We Hounds affirm our right to pull, tow, drag, yank, lunge, haul, lug, tug and jerk our humans. We affirm our belief that all heinous hound control equipm
ent should be replaced by soft fabric collars, preferably of a flimsy nature.

Further we call for a ban on leashes under 20 feet in length.

Hound Delegate: Do we have a refrigerator plank?

Chairman Wimsey: Yes. We call for the liberation of refrigerators everywhere through the use of hands free doors that can be opened by a poke of the muzzle.

Also we call for the banning of discriminatory restrictions on access to all beds and pieces of furniture. Access ramps are mandated for small Hounds.

Hound Delegate: A
re there any other planks in out domestic policy?

Chairman Wimsey: Yes. Toilet seat lids must be left in the “up” position at all times. And our transportation plank calls for unrestricted access to all forms of public transport and affirms out right to ride in the front cabin of airplanes. After all our tax dollars pay for these services and we should have access to them.

Hound Delegate: Do we pay taxes?

Chairman Wimsey: Our humans do and since what is theirs is ours it amounts to the same thing. Our tax policy calls for a 50% decrease in personal income tax with the savings to be automatically transferred to a Personal Hound Account whose funds can only be accessed to buy us toys, chews and treats. Also all expenses associated with our upkeep and pleasure are tax deductible.

Hound Delegate: Didn’t we have a plank last year banning humans from all forms of transportation under the theory that trips away from us were wholly unnecessary and a waste of tax payers’ money?

Chairman Wimsey: Yes, but we chewed up that plank because it was decided that it was simply more practical to have us accompany our humans. In fact we are considering adding an additional plank calling for laws against leaving a Hound alone for more than an hour a day.

Hound Delegate: And what about foreign policy? D
o we get to invade anybody this year? You know ever since we Hounds accompanied Duke William of Normandy to invade England some of us have been itching to try it again. Perhaps we could invade Canada—they’re pretty close---and are unlikely to put up much of a struggle against an army of adorable Hounds.

Chairman Wimsey: No, Canada will have to wait; we re focusing our foreign policy this year on our ongoing struggle to achieve dominance over the cats.

Hound Delegate: I see--- a superpower struggle for world hegemony.

Chairman Wimsey: Yes. We will prevail over the Feline Enemy. Well to conclude this session, may I have a bay of acclimation, please?

I do so love politics! But as you know my talents are not limited to politics as I have a distinctly artistic and musical bent. This week our visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art combines both of these great loves. The Lute Player (Caravaggio, 1596, The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg). Now Caravaggio was kind of a crazy guy who got himself kicked out of a number of Italian cities for brawling (not easy to do in the rough and tumble times of the
17th century) but maybe it was this craziness that caused him to paint in a way that no one else had ever done before. Rather than using the idealized forms of the Renaissance or of some of the Mannerist painters who preceded him, Caravaggio employed naturalistic figures that looked like the real people they actually were (he painted from models). Caravaggio also pioneered the dramatic use of light that has come to be known as a hallmark of Baroque painting. He painted the lute painter in a rare period of tranquility while enjoying the patronage of an Italian cardinal and apparently liked the concept (or the model) so much that he painted three versions of it. Now this is a very beautiful picture and we notice immediately the shaft of light illuminating the face of the lute player. However, he seems to be alone, which is a shame and his fine wooden instrument appears to be an ideal shape for a good chew by a music loving Hound. Perhaps the Hound even accompanies the young lute player, who likely was a castrato with a soprano voice, with his fine bass baritone in exquisite harmony. We can almost hear the melodious voice of this magnificent Hound! Wimsey With a Lute Player.

Well time to go prepare myself for my evening’s activities-- there is a rumor going around that Elizabeth is bringing over some left over roast chicken and I must activate my taste buds.

Until next time,

I am Wimsey- and I approved this blog