Friday, January 30, 2009

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 104
January 30, 2009

Hello everyone. Wimsey here, coming to you from the ever exciting Upper West Side of Manhattan where winter’s charms continue unabated and where I continue to display the charms of my formidable ice dancing skills. My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth are worried that they will make Hound Ice Dancing an Olympic sport and that I will have another ring in which to misbehave.

Olympic Hound Ice Dancing

Peggy Fleming: Well Dick here we are at the Olympic Rink in Vancouver and we should have an exciting show here tonight.

Dick Button: That’s right Peggy, excitement is my middle name. For the first time ever Hound Ice Dancing is an Olympic Sport. But how did it happen so quickly? I mean dogsled racing isn’t even an Olympic sport yet.

Peggy: As I understand it Dick, Wimsey was drawing quite a few crowds with his scintillating ice dancing exhibitions in Central Park and they attracted the attention of the head of NBC sports who strongly suggested to the Olympic Committee that Hound Ice Dancing should be made an Olympic sport. I mean if curling is a sport, why not Hound Ice Dancing? At least people know what it is!

Dick: And here comes our first couple—it’s Wimsey and his partner Maria with a Viennese Waltz.

Peggy: The green, sequined leash and collar are a nice touch— ice dancing has always been the glamour sport of the rink. But are you sure this is a waltz, Dick—it looks more like a Quick Step to me.

Dick: No, it’s definitely a waltz—the music is from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

Peggy: But are those live swans legal Dick? They seem to have gotten Wimsey quite riled up.

Dick: Yes, Wimsey’s coach believes in providing positive reinforcement to bring out the exuberance of the dance.

Peggy: Well it seemed to have worked—Maria’s gone down on the ice.

Dick: That will earn Wimsey some extra style points because as we know, the waltz is known for its rise and fall.

Peggy: A stunning performance, Dick, especially that death spiral. It really looked like Maria was going to die! And I think the baying and shrieking duet at the end will definitely increase the artistic impression score. I can’t wait to see the Tangogogo from this exciting American pair and their fox trot is apparently going to feature some live foxes.

Dick: And the crowd loves it! Perhaps the Olympic committee should consider Hound Curling.

Anyway, speaking of show rings, the highlight of my human’s social year, The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, is coming up and even though it was determined after last year’s performance to spare the world another of my masterful displays of baying, non-stacking and innovative gaiting, preparations are underway to have me meet and greet some of my bloodhound brethren. My humans also want me to make a favorable impression on one of my breeders who will be in attendance. (Something in the way she says “He’s just like his father” makes me think that a good impression might be necessary). To this end a bath is even being contemplated for next Friday, which should be an interesting experience since Elizabeth is caring for a little lady pit bull whose owner is sick. While I am perfectly agreeable to walking around with the genial little Heidi no one knows how I will feel about her making free with my second apartment (one which Elizabeth is under the misguided impression that she owns —which is generally true as long as I am not in residence), so the upcoming bath night could be more than usually exciting.

But I am still looking forward to bath night as this means another home cooked meal and, as you know, we Wimseys have quite a refined palette.

Wimsey TV Gourmet

Jamie Oliver: Today we welcome one of the outstanding gourmets of his breed, the galloping gourmet himself, Wimsey.

Wimsey: Ahrooh! A pleasure to be here Jamie, although I am also a Naked Chef. What have you got for me today?

Jamie: It’s comfort food day here and we will be tasting that traditional, gustatory treat, kibble.

Wimsey: Excellent choice. Jamie. Few people realize how interesting kibble can be.

Jamie: Good. Well first, here is some from Timberwolf Organics—it’s called Dakota Bison. Tell us what to look for Wimsey.

Wimsey: Well, first we assess the visual appeal: notice the unusual shape—very appealing to the eye, although it would be better if the kibble were actually bison shaped. I really think kibble should be shaped like the animals it is made from. Anyway, this is a very small kibble which makes it ideal for secreting in one’s wrinkles for later distribution in inconvenient places around the home. The bed is always a fine choice for kibble deposition, as is the bathroom floor---stepping on kibble with bare feet is remarkably painful. Now the aroma—we can smell how much this premium brand cost our humans to shell out for us in order to demonstrate their care and concern Next we come to the excellent crunchy texture—a good kibble should make a real racket during a middle of the night snack. A fine kibble should cause humans an infinite number of sleep interrupted nights. And the taste… well what can one say about the taste of kibble? Jamie?

Jamie: It tastes like rocks.

Wimsey: Exactly. That’s why we seldom really eat it unless it is mixed with a lavish amount of expensive viands.

Jamie: But then what is the point of the kibble?

Wimsey: No one really knows. I mean it’s not really a recognizable food is it? And it is seldom carried by fine dining establishments nor can you really cook with it, can you? (“liven up that Boring Bordelaise with a touch of shaved kibble...”). I like to think of kibble as more of an architectural, rather than alimentary element in my food bowl. And of course there is the beneficial exercise that toting home the thirty pound bags provides for my humans.

Jamie: And very grateful they are for that, I’m sure. That’s all we have time for today. Next week we will explore the theory that kibble was invented by silicon based extraterrestrials.

Well also on the subject of television, as might be imagined my humans watch quite a lot of it as social possibilities are very limited for people with large, demanding Hounds. I have been looking over some titles and here is what I think:

Wimsey’s TV Guide

Bones: An entire show devoted to a beloved subject.

Damages: A human acquires a Hound.

Ugly Betty: A Woman’s wardrobe post-Hound.

What Not To Wear: Things that smell like your Hound.

Crusoe: A show about a hot guy who never seems to be wearing a shirt who has built a luxury villa on a surprisingly busy deserted island that is constantly being invaded by undesirables, such as ruthless pirates. A very boring show as it has nothing to do with Hounds (except for maybe that’s why the guy doesn’t have a shirt).

Life on Mars: Life with a quiet, obedient Hound.

Cold Case: A Hound uses his nose to jab his human in the small of the back in the middle of the night. A very exciting show.

The Big Bang Theory: What was that????!!!!!!!!!! And where is the Hound????!!!!!!

The Bachelor: A show about a guy with a Hound.

Hell's Kitchen: A kitchen with a Hound in it.

24: Humans try frantically to Hound proof their home over the course of a day but are ultimately defeated by their Hound, Bauer.

Scrubs: What people with Hounds spend their life doing.

The Biggest Loser: A competition to see who has lost more of their possessions to their Hound.

Law and Order: Something that people who have a Hounds will never experience.

It’s Me or the Dog: Surprise! It’s you!

Anyway, with all this talk of entertainment I feel an artistic urge coming on as we head over to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art to look at this week’s selection. The Musicians: (Caravaggio, 1595, Metropolitan Museum, New York). As we have discussed before, Caravaggio was a master of baroque painting with kind of a wild personal life and in this painting, painted for his patron Cardinal del Monte, we see not only his self-portrait (the chap in the background looking at us) but also his boyfriend (the fellow playing the lute). This is not one of Caravaggio’s best efforts, principally as all the figures seem to have been painted separately and do not really relate to each other. But see how we can easily correct this problem with the insertion of a loud, magnificently musical Hound! See how the Hound, clearly in fine voice ties the central figures together as the lute player accompanies him and the background figure looks on in amazement. We can almost hear the acoustically robust bass baritone of the Hound as he indulges himself joyously in song! And see how his position in the painting draws us into the frame and makes us feel like we are withholding some boiled liver. Wimsey With Musicians

Well I think that concludes my epistolary efforts for this week. Time for a nice chew on the TV remote whilst I keep my human company.

Until next time,

Wimsey, the entertainment capital of the couch

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 103
January 23, 2009

Hello everyone--Wimsey here coming to you from my personal urban playground, otherwise known as Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Well the week started off in excellent fashion—we had some snow in time for my usual Sunday afternoon walkabout in Central Park—snow always being pleasing to a Hound of my playful disposition. Unfortunately my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth elected to put their own personal safety above my full enjoyment of the conditions and I was forced to wear that heinous head collar. Shockingly selfish they are.

Nevertheless I did get to do a little meeting and greeting and mingling with New York’s Finest with whom I have a mutual admiration society. The officer in the photos was overjoyed at interacting with a “real dog.” I have noticed that the whole “real dog” thing is just a thinly veiled code for describing a monster sized canine like myself--and by that criteria I think my humans would prefer that I were a little more of an unreal dog. That is not to say, however, that I don’t have small dog tendencies, especially ones that are inconvenient, like, say, sitting in laps or lounging on the furniture. And of course my “real” doginess is substantially enhanced by the fact that I am messy, smelly and noisy. Men appreciate these characteristics as those who also possess them like to think of themselves as “real men,” which, to the extent that I am their canine equivalent, is probably the source of much of their admiration. For them, it’s kind of like looking into an inter-species mirror. (except of course that, unlike them, I have a perfect excuse for never asking directions). But personally I think the whole real man thing is an attempt to forestall any attempts to make them neat, clean and quiet, which fortunately is not really an option for a spirited Hound such as myself. Although my ladies, like ladies everywhere, do try and periodically exert a civilizing influence.

But lest you think that I lack admirers of the female persuasion, the skier in the picture went down because she was so mesmerized by my beauty. (my humans are not the only New Yorkers who like to dress up in outdoor wear and pretend that Central Park is actually the untamed wilderness. People really do ski in Central Park, although personally any trail that I am on should immediately be classified as a Black Diamond route due to the difficulties that skiers have in keeping their balance when eye candy such as myself is in range). And speaking of balance, everyone knows that walking on ice is fun—especially if you have four legs, a low (ish) center of gravity and leather pads that grip like Spiderman—but my humans do not seem to appreciate this activity and are forever trying to move us off the ice. So in addition to my personae of Wimsey the Tractor and Wimsey the Crab, I have now added Wimsey the Ice Walker. There is talk of crampons yet again.

Anyway, this has been an exciting week, what with the inauguration and everything although it was disappointing to note the absence of Hounds at the event. I think I would have added a dignified majesty on the podium. And as one who has been described by Elizabeth as “spectacularly unintelligent”(a description that Maria strenuously objects to, especially because the comment was made whilst Elizabeth was in the process of feeding me her dinner) I felt vindicated by watching two Harvard Law School Graduates struggle to get through the 35 word oath of office—if I had been there I would have administered a gentle nip in the tush to Justice Roberts when he omitted to put the “faithfully” before the “execute”. (perhaps the splitting of the infinitive was simply too radical a linguistic maneuver for the conservative judge) Or perhaps I would have just begun baying and force them to begin again so that they could be heard. But being inaugurated looks like a good gig:

Wimsey’s Inauguration

Wolf Blitzer: Wolf Blitzer here covering this historic occasion.

Anderson Cooper: Hi Wolf. Historic indeed. Why the last time we were together was to cover the invasion of Wimsey’s anal glands (post #46) by a rude gang of bacteria and now we are here to watch his inauguration as First Hound.

Wolf: That’s right. It’s the first time the United States has had a First Hound but I understand the nation has gotten fed up with politicians and has decided to use a little known provision in the Constitution to usher in Rule by Hound.

Anderson: That’s not really much of a departure from how things usually are, but this is the first time it’s been made official.

Wolf: But what will we call the First Hound?

Anderson: Well as he never comes when called, it’s not really much of a problem, but we understand that Wimsey likes to be called “Sir.”

Wolf: Very dignified. Now what about these rumors that Wimsey is not very bright? Do you think it is just because he has a pointy head?

Anderson: No it’s true. He actually is pretty thick when it comes down to it, but given the state of the nation, the people have decided to go a different way. After all, the IQs of the folks on Wall Street are pretty high and they are the ones who got us into this mess, so perhaps having no intellectual ability is not such a bad thing.

Anderson: And Wimsey does have a reputation for getting things done. Now granted up until this time they are not things you want to have done—having a shoulder dislocated comes to mind--but he is unquestionably a Hound of action. Relentless is a word that is frequently used when referring to his character.

Wolf: Good point Anderson. Wimsey is known for getting his own way—whether by charm, manipulation, intimidation or by some blend of the three, no one is really sure, but it works. The Congressional leadership is already worried about how to resist him.

Anderson: Well one of his campaign slogans was “resistance is futile” and perhaps Congress could stand a little strong arming these days. And of course Wimsey is always known for being his own Hound.

Wolf: Yes, if he commits to something it is as good as done. I think the Congress is hoping that furnishing the Oval Office with lots of nap inducing cushy couches and squeaky toys will distract him.

Anderson: We’ll have to see about that one—although I did hear that there was some talk of releasing an actual red fox into the Rose Garden. And Wimsey has loads of foreign policy experience too, because as it turns out those outside of the US find him just as irresistible as we do.

Wolf: Listen to the baying of the crowd, Anderson. They are all waiting for “Hail to the Hound” to be played and Wimsey to make an appearance.

Anderson: Well, they’ll have to wait-- Wimsey will come out onto the steps when he is in the mood. But no discussion of Wimsey would be complete without a discussion of his unique sense of style.

Wolf: Quite right. Wimsey seldom does anything the way anyone else does it. During his visits to the show ring he eschews the traditional trot in favor of the pace, the gallop and a gait of his own special design called the trop, which as I understand is a hard to replicate blend of the pace and the trot.

Anderson: Yes and he likes to enliven the solemn show proceedings by concertizing and socializing, which is quite unusual.

Wolf: And he also likes to demonstrate his fine American sense of independence by choosing to place his feet only where he wants them and has been known to throw in a wholly innovative maneuver like stacking backwards.

Anderson: Very true, but I understand the backwards stack was so he could gaze into the resplendent jowls of his lady love Phoebe. Do you think we can expect puppies in the White House Wolf?

Wolf: Well Wimsey is itching to have a First Lady Hound so one never knows. It would be nice to hear the yips and howls and sound of little paws running about again. But of course whether or not the people’s house will be so blessed, one thing is certain-- it won’t stay white for very long.

Anderson: And here comes Wimsey!

Wolf: Wow! He’s not even wearing a coat. That’s very unusual for a Hound of New York.

Anderson: Yes, Wimsey is a great admirer of JFK who wanted to demonstrate his vigor and resistance to hypothermia by remaining coatless. And here are his humans!

Wolf: How charming they look! I am told that LL Bean and Lands End designed those parkas especially for the occasion. And they’ve painted Sir’s water canteens red white and blue in honor of the inauguration. But how will Wimsey be sworn in?

Anderson: Well considering what Wimsey did to his human’s cook book collection it was thought unwise to use a Bible, so he is going to be sworn in on his favorite orange monkey.

Wolf: And here is Chief Justice Roberts to administer the oath. I think he has it written down this time. Let’s listen:

Chief Justice Roberts: I, Ch. Ewine Ramsey Creek’s Wimsey do solemnly swear…
Wimsey: I, Ch. Ewine Ramsey Creek’s Wimsey do solemnly swear..

Chief Justice Roberts: that I will faithfully execute the office of the First Hound of the United States..

Wimsey: that I will FAITHFULLY execute the office of First Hound of the United States providing that I am in the mood to do so..

Chief Justice Roberts: and will to the best of my ability…

Wimsey: and will to the best of my considerable ability…

Chief Justice Roberts: preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Wimsey: preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, providing I never get my mouth on the actual document-- then all bets are off.

Chief Justice Roberts: and as First Hound do you further swear to make life as difficult as possible for humans in the most entertaining way possible thereby abrogating their natural tendencies toward pride, pomposity, self interest, self esteem, and self love and refocusing and redirecting these energies towards the well being, comfort and pleasure of their Hound.

Wimsey: I do so swear.

Chief Justice Roberts: Congratulations, Sir. You are now First Hound.

Wolf: Look! The crowd is engaging in that hallowed tradition, the flinging of the boiled liver! Duck!

Anderson: No, they save the duck for the Inaugural Ball.

Well, in any case Elizabeth finally returned home from Texas last night and rushed immediately to my side where I celebrated her safe return by ignoring her in favor of eviscerating my stuffed duck. I did forgive her though when she made amends by giving me a slice of her pizza. And as Maria commented, ”It’s been a whole 4 days since Wimsey last had diarrhea, so he is overdue.” It is one of the many idiosyncratic delights of the bloodhound that we frequently have delicate digestions. The fact that this delicate digestion is paired with an indomitable will to eat things that upset this delicate digestion is just another one of the traits that endear us to our humans. But as an aside—an upset tummy leads to me being fed pumpkin, which leads to lots of leftover pumpkin which leads to Hound bite sized pumpkin muffins being baked which leads directly back to my stomach— alimentary ills can be advantageous..

So last night I munched pizza while Elizabeth caught up on my doings during the week—from Maria’s slide down a flight of stairs, to my attempts to drag her into a neighbor’s apartment to join a party, to the weak spot on my elbow opening up again and spurting a bit of blood. As to this latter event it appears that when I came rushing out of the bedroom seeking medical assistance, Maria initially assumed that I was merely fleeing an attack of flatulence. Florence Nightingale she is not.

And while Elizabeth was in Texas she had occasion to visit the Alamo, which was very exciting to me until it was explained “No Wimsey, not the place where we rent the cars to take you on trip.” But the Alamo also reminded me of the exploits of one my ancestors, Wimsey Crockett, who actually escaped from the siege. When the Mexican General Santa Anna was eventually captured he was disguised as a private. Now some people think this was guile, but really it was because his regular uniform was stained yellow (his captors also noticed some suspicious tooth marks on his rump which the General was too embarrassed to account for).

The non car renting Alamo is apparently having trouble with the deterioration of the interior walls because so many visitors want to touch the shrine; as a consequence every wall is plastered with big signs that say “Do Not Touch Wall.” Now Elizabeth reported that until she saw those signs the idea of touching the wall would never have occurred to her but somehow the signs inexplicably made her want to touch the wall (she restrained herself, however). So now she knows what I go through on a daily basis when it’s all ‘Wimsey, don’t even think about jumping on that dog” or “Wimsey, don’t you even think about putting your nose in my wine or “Wimsey, don’t dare even think about pinning me to the couch again.” But the power of suggestion is too much, even for a Hound and so I think, “But that dog, (who was previously unnoticed), looks like it wants to be jumped on, and suddenly I have an urgent need to sample the bouquet of that wine and I was going to have a nap on your lap but now that you mention it, pinning is such good fun.” I am hoping Elizabeth remembers the Alamo next time she tells me what not to do.

Well, I think that about covers all the events of this week so now we will take our weekly peek at the collection of the Institute of Houndish Art where we again look at a painting by Eduouard Manet, this time one with an appropriately Spanish theme: The Matador, (Edouard Manet, 1866, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Here we can see Manet, who was something of a realist, being romantically inspired by the Spanish art of the 17th century after he visited Spain in 1865 and watched a bull fight. He subsequently painted this ¾ view of a famous matador, turning with proud posture as if to acknowledge the cheers of the crowd. But man does not live by bull alone and see how much more proud and dignified the Matador looks when he is standing next to his proud and dignified Hound! Perhaps the Hound is also owed tribute by the crowd for riling up the bull before the fight. And see how graciously the Hound accepts the well deserved tribute of the crowd. See how the Matador has wisely not told his Hound “Don’t even think about playing with my cape” so the Hound has remained tranquil and see how much better looking the Hound is than the Matador. Wimsey and His Matador.

Well that’s all for this week. Time to go cadge another muffin before my frigid evening stroll.

Until next time,

Wimsey, First among equally naughty Hounds

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

Entry # 102
January 16, 2009

Hello Everyone. It’s me Wimsey and I hope you are all keeping a lot warmer than we are here on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where even I am starting to get a little peeved at the thermometer—and as we know there is not much that goes on in the great outdoors that I get peeved about (except perhaps being restricted in my pursuit of squirrels or of making the acquaintance of the odd raccoon). Not to mention that it takes my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth an unconscionable amount of time to suit up for our expeditions into the frozen wasteland that has become Manhattan. It’s like being with Scott of the Antarctic four times day. Any day now I expect to see a team of huskies at the front door and pemmican in the treat pouch.

Now the subject of the treat pouch has become a sore point amongst my humans as I have decided that I like to be fed cookies pretty continuously during our walks. And because, as we know. treats do not appear from the side of a human but from the front, the process of obtaining treats necessitates my swinging around to poke my nose into the treat pouch which necessitates my humans paying close attention so as not to fall over me. I also tend to walk forward like a crab (or for those dancers among you, I execute a mean grapevine step) until the cookie is placed securely in my mouth (insecurely placed cookies end up falling off of my pendulous oral folds and onto the ground where I stare indignantly at them and then poke the treat pouch again). Now eons ago, Elizabeth , who thinks I am seriously thick, decided to teach me to poke the pouch for a cookie assuming that this simple trick represented the outer limits of my intellectual, trick learning ability. And what an apt pupil I have become—she now must walk me with her pouch overflowing with treats (and yet still occasionally has to borrow some from Maria) or risk an entire walk with Wimsey the Crab. The good news is that by comparison my towing and incessant sniffing have become desirable behaviors and it’s all “Oh look! Wimsey’s being the tractor again! Walking Wimsey the Tractor is so much safer than walking Wimsey the Crab!”). And of course being a bloodhound I can immediately tell if there is a stray Yummy Chummy buried amidst the cookies and I will contemptuously spit out all cookies until the Yummy Chummy is produced. As a consequence there is much finger pointing from Maria “You taught him do this! Make him stop.” But as we know making a Hound stop anything that he is intent on doing is virtually impossible. Besides, my en route snacking is just a logical magnification of the “trick” I was taught—we Hounds are frequently creatures of extremes.

Another example of this is the stuffed duck that I purchased last week. After a week of being devoted to it, it has become, well just a stuffed duck. It’s like last week I was in love and infatuated—it was new and exciting--and this week it has become boring and familiar so I take it for granted. But aren’t all relationships like that? At least there won’t be any legal bills when I decide to pull the stuffing out of it. So all the anti-guarding precautions of last week (I don’t actually guard but my humans like to take measures to make sure I don’t start) have now been dropped as sadly the duck has joined my extensive menagerie of exes.

Wimsey’s Marriage Guidance Center

Counselor: How can I help you?

Wimsey: Hey! Cesar Millan always says that! You’re not going to flip me on my back or anything?

Counselor: Certainly not. I never engage physically with my clients.

Wimsey: That’s too bad you’re pretty cute.

Duck: See, there he goes again! Wherever did the idea come from that Hounds were faithful? He’s a real dog.

Counselor: Well, I can see your point; there is something of the canine about him. Perhaps it is his giant twitching nose and the fact that he has a tail and four legs. Anyway, other than the fact that he’s large, smelly, deficient in flatulence control, self centered and messy—a male of any species in fact—what seems to be the problem? Does he leave the toilet lid down and prevent you from drinking?

Duck: No. That’s not it. When we first met, I was his own special duck. He was all over me. We went everywhere together. And he would introduce me immediately to everyone who came through the door. And he used to sing me love ballads. Now he doesn’t sleep with me or cuddle with me anymore. And I suspect he’s seeing a hedgehog on the side. Also I’ve caught him with an green octopus from his past.

Counselor: Well all relationships lose intensity over time. Now that you are available to him he doesn’t crave your company as much as when you were out of reach.

Duck: But what can I do? I can’t find anyone else—I look like hell after what he’s put me though. And I gave him the best minutes of my life. Are all males like that?

Counselor: Yes. It’s what keeps me in business.

Duck: But what can I do?

Counselor: I suggest you separate for a while—perhaps take an extended vacation in that out of reach toy basket you’ve always wanted to visit. It’s the nature of the beast to want what it can’t have. I think you’ll find when you return he’ll be interested in you again. Perhaps he might even leave that new hedgehog. Give her my card, won’t you.

But this week I did very nearly fall in love for real—we met an elegant lady Borzoi—intact and in season! Naturally I was all in favor of getting to know this sublime creature better (so much better even than I know my stuffed duck) but it was determined, even in spite of my heroic tractor pulling, that this was not a good idea. But on the subject of female Hounds, it seems that that great beauty and my great love, Phoebe (she for whom I stacked backwards in the show ring much to the displeasure of Elizabeth) is being shown at Westminster next month and there is talk of us getting together (although not in the biblical sense I fear). I am aquiver with anticipation—the exquisite scent of her nether regions is forever impressed upon my brain—perhaps that’s why there’s no room left to learn obedience commands. Also my sister Dixie is expecting! I am to be an uncle next month—I hope her pups turn out just like their Uncle Wimsey. Everyone else hopes not.

Well, it is January and January is birthday season around here—unfortunately not mine (that is in March—my Piscean birthday accounts for my sensitive, musical and salmon loving nature) but both Maria and Elizabeth have birthdays next week and I am encouraging them to celebrate by buying me some gifts, which I know gives them great pleasure. And I will give them drool, hair, stink and will graciously sit upon them with my tush. Perhaps I will even share my duck with them (maybe they will get me a real stuffed duck—one with wild rice). Anyway, due to the cold Maria is declining to go out and celebrate and Elizabeth is slipping off to Texas for a few days hoping to thaw out. Needless to say I find this willful absence from me appalling, especially as her work has been keeping her chained to the computer and away from me. As it turns out she was so focused on work that the US Airways jet glided right past her window yesterday (her windows face directly on the Hudson River) and she didn’t even notice! So if she fails to be distracted by large jetliners landing in the Hudson River what chance does a large Hound landing on her lap have? Anyway, I have made out a shopping list for her trip to Texas:

Wimsey’s Texas shopping list:

A cow
A ten gallon hat filled with liver
A new collar with a cowboy buckle
A plate of Tex-Mex
Warmer weather
Some crude oil to make a mess with
A pair of hand tooled boots to chew up—preferably very expensive ones
A bouquet of yellow roses for Phoebe
A Dallas Cowboy cheerleader to coo over me
An actual cowboy for Maria
Another cow

Well I can hardly believe that I am now past 100 entries with my diary. Of course being so prolific a writer has a few unintended consequences—like the fact that things people say on the street start sounding an awful lot like the things I write about. For instance, just this week a gentleman with an accent stopped Maria and asked her very formally “How old is your Hound?” which caused Maria to laugh in the poor chap’s face as it reminded her so strongly of post # 10 about the proper way to learn English. And if you pass me on the street and exclaim “He’s so cute!” the ladies are likely to giggle.

Anyway it is again time for our weekly visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art. Now one of my (many) pet peeves is the fact that public depictions of the Hound so often lack dignity. Many of the videos on YouTube feature Hounds looking foolish, unintelligent and ridiculous (mine of course don’t—I am shown daintily being fed pizza while reviewing a Cesar Millan video, being equally daintily spoon fed Grom Gelato by Elizabeth’s houseguest, quietly chewing a stick in Central Park, demonstrating my houndly prowess by towing a human and showcasing my “finding” ability by finding Elizabeth after Sunday brunch—all with great dignity). But before there was YouTube there were portraits. So today we look at one of the best portraits by the great French neoclassical painter, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Although Ingres painted many subjects he is best known for his portraits, particularly this one: Princesse de Broglie (Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1853, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Ironically, although Ingres considered himself a guardian of the classical style and in direct opposition to the romantics such as Delacroix, his distortions of form and space presage modern art. Look at the beautiful Princesse and notice that her neck is anatomically too long. The Princesse she was known for her reserve, beauty and dignity and this distortion helps enhance these qualities. But as beautiful as the portrait is, see how much more beautiful it is with the addition of a magnificent (and very dignified) Hound! Notice how the solemn demeanor of the Hound echoes that of the Princesses and how the noble Hound has carefully chosen a lovely headdress to complement the glowing silk and lace gown of the Princesse. Prince and Princesse Wimsey de Broglie

Well, that is all for this week. Hope it is warm where you are. And remember, if it quacks like a duck, it’s mine.

Until next time,

Wimsey, A Hound of Massive Dignity