Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #154

Entry #154
January 29, 2010

Hello Everyone. It’s me Wimsey, right back where I belong letting the world know how they’re hanging on Manhattan’s Upper West Side (although today they are not hanging very far due to the cold, windy weather that has suddenly come upon us).
Anyway, first as you can see from my headshot we had the long awaited photo session featuring the bear hat that my human Maria received as her secret Santa present. I am incredulous that humans would want to wear such an item but apparently the people at Maria’s office Christmas party evinced such an intense desire to obtain the bear hat that Maria was forced to turn down innumerable tempting swap offers in order to retain possession. Apparently everyone wanted the bear hat. I guess it’s true what they say-- that it’s so hard to get noticed in New York City (except of course if you’re an outsized handsome Hound such as myself) that people will do just about anything to stand out—even to the extent of wearing polyester fake animals on their heads. But fortunately for me, bear hats were not designed to fit elegant flat and pointy shaped heads such as mine so this is one further sartorial humiliation that I will be spared.

Now last week Maria’s friend (and my auxiliary human) Elizabeth had the temerity to leave me and sneak off for a winter birthday break to Santa Fe, New Mexico. This was a terrible event, forcing me to take my midday walks with hired help and then return to my actual apartment of residence instead of heading off to nap on Elizabeth’s furniture. And the only thing in my lunch bowl was kibble! Not salmon, or trout or roast chicken or even scrambled eggs. Despicable neglect. Anyway as punishment Elizabeth’s trip back featured cancelled flights, an airline that first couldn’t find a plane and then couldn’t find a flight crew, then flight attendants who announced to the passengers that they should be very grateful to them for showing up (one of whom looked at Elizabeth like she was mainlining heroin when she took a pill) and finally several missed connections. Oh yes, and they lost her luggage. Abandoning a Hound for frivolous recreational reasons is clearly bad karma.

Anyway, the ladies were all keen to surprise me on Saturday with the Wayward One’s return totaling forgetting that you cannot surprise a bloodhound. On our way to meet Elizabeth’s evening 86th street cross town bus after her volunteer shift at the ASPCA I found the spot where she had waited for the bus that morning and refused to move. I mean she had been there once, so there was every chance that she could materialize there again. But obviously I knew she was back and didn’t even need the few seconds for her scent to waft out of the doors of her bus to commence some acoustically robust finding bays (followed by some head buttingly robust demands for fists full of turkey from the treat pouch).

Now there are no adequate means of making restitution for the loss of services during the week but Elizabeth did try. It turns out that instead of exploring Santa Fe’s cultural riches she spent her first day exploring Santa Fe’s canine riches. To wit she found this absolutely gorgeous pet emporium called Teca Tu ( where she spent a considerable amount of time perusing the extensive selection of merchandise. And although she longed to buy me a cowboy hat and a serape style coat a la the picture of the owner’s Bernese mountain dog on their website, she remembered how much I appreciated her gifts of haberdashery from Disney World and mercifully forbore. Instead I now have this kick ass southwestern collar shown below which is intended for my Sunday best. Personally I feel it will enhance my macho appeal which is always in need of bolstering owing to the fact that I don’t have a cool macho name like Clint or Buck or Wimsey Ringo. Being named after an effete English aristocrat who is able to tell his Lafittes from his Latours is dispiriting when one really wants to be seen as a rough and tumble Hound who is able to tell his Longhorns from his Limousins. But now, owing to my new collar you can call me Pecos Wimsey “have drool, will fling,” the fastest mouth east of the Mississippi.

And speaking of mouths, having hung out for an inordinate amount of time in Teca Tu imagining me in all manner of western wear, Elizabeth decided that perhaps as she was in culturally significant Santa Fe she should actually visit something other than a pet store. But then on her way to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum she came across this place! Pooch Pantry ( turns out to be a new dog bakery and no sooner had Elizabeth entered than she was assailed by the delightful smell of freshly baked peanut butter and pumpkin canine cookies. However, as I am well known to be a Hound of refined palate Elizabeth enlisted the help of the owner’s lovely dog, Roxy, who is similarly selective, to vet the cookies ahead of time. Although the degree of Roxy’s enthusiasm blurred the photo it reassured Elizabeth of the product’s appeal to those of us of the finicky persuasion. And here you see me on Sunday engaged in some cookie tasting of my own. Both my humans were also tickled by the bag the cookies came in. Pooch Pantry’s online store is not yet up and running but owner Daphne Wright is happy to ship. And although the cookies are awesome it still does not make up for Elizabeth’s absence.

But as it turns out, while Elizabeth was absent from me I was not entirely absent from her. In fact she spent so much of her time either shopping for my gifts or wondering how I was doing that she complained to Maria that I had hijacked her vacation. She seemed to sense my presence everywhere:

At the hotel
Visiting the art museum
Standing in front of the old train station
In the famous Santa Fe Plaza
Visiting the galleries on Canyon Road
On Museum Hill visiting the Indian Museum
And finally, after a busy day, relaxing by a roaring fire
And then getting tucked up in bed
By the way, it would be remiss of me to let Elizabeth take credit for that fire. The hotel has a fire starting guy to help thermally challenged people from big cities like Elizabeth. At one point the fire went out and Elizabeth couldn’t even get the kindling lit. She was busy texting Maria about the inflammable nature of the logs provided when fire starting guy arrived, lit a single match and, poof, roaring fire. Personally I admire this fire’s attitude.

And of course Elizabeth’s hotel also offered a variety of spa services which makes me think that a Hound Spa would be an excellent idea:

Wimsey’s Hound Spa*

L’Air du Chien Aroma Therapy: luxuriate in relaxing bath water that has previously been used by a fragrant Hound. (Depending on the state of the Hound there may be extra charges for a mud bath). Inhale deeply the primal essence of Hound aimed at connecting you with your ancestral spirits of medieval hunters for whom the essence of Hound represented food on the table, a warm bed at night and an aroma that was delightful in comparison to the existing stench around them.

No Pain No Gain Shiatsu Massage: Our expert Hound practitioners find every painful point on your body and stand, sit or poke at it with the aim of increasing energy flow, improving circulation and increasing your tolerance to pain.

Soothing but Smelly Hound Body Wrap: A team of sleepy Hounds use you as their bed providing soothing heat to tired muscles. (Ear plugs provided gratis). The hot bath you will need afterwards increases the relaxation.

Invigorating Olfactory Treatment: Increase your heart rate and nerve conduction by allowing our extra large and wet nosed Hound practitioners to engage in therapeutic poking, prodding and snuffling of your entire body. The resulting leaping and dancing around also provide extra cardio benefits.

Dances with Hounds Massage: A multi-pawed massage as a team of excited Hounds dance on your back. (Tail whipping extra)

Drool and Liver Facial Extravaganza: Take years off your face with our patented Extreme Facial. First a paste of liver puree is applied to the face, then a team of hungry Hounds are unleashed to lick it off leaving an Ultra Hydrating Masque de Drool. Finally scrubbing the tenaciously sticky stuff off exfoliates the skin creating a healthy pink glow. The residual odor of liver ensures canine companionship throughout the day.

* Management not responsible for missing personal possessions.
Anyway, all is back to normal and we went out on Sunday for our usually lengthy Central Park perambulation, in the course of which I met this lovely lady. A lot more pictures were taken but unfortunately many of them turned out to be shots of the nose up the tush variety that my humans felt would be indelicate for me to use. And then as we passed by the Lasker Skating Rink and there were these mounds of shaved ice! Now that I know there is this mountain of delightful snow I predict some furious future towing in that direction. As it was I had to be forcibly removed from it. But then again forcibly removing me from things is all part of the Wimsey walking experience.
Well it is time to toddle off for some cookies and belly rubs. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. At least for my humans.

Until next time,

Wimsey of the West (side)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #153

Entry #153
January 17, 2010

Hello Everyone it’s me Wimsey coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where my generous proportions claim a substantial bit of sidewalk real estate and residents fail to move aside at their peril. Of course being decked by a large Hound, especially one frequently sporting a snappy chartreuse coat, is just another one of those urban perils New Yorkers are heir to, along with the rats, the roaches and the taxi drivers auditioning for NASCAR. Being shoved off the sidewalk by me is pleasant by comparison, although my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth do their best to protect their fellow pedestrians. In any case getting pushed around by a brightly clad charging Hound is one of those quintessential New York experiences no visitor should be without.

Bur before we move on to discuss the fascinating weekly details of my life I want to let you know that there will be no blog post next Friday owing to a schedule conflict. I know how very disappointing this will be to many of you as I would not like to be without me for a week either. The good news, however, is that there is a large archive of posts that I encourage you to dip into to fight the symptoms of Wimsey withdrawal.

But now in reference to quintessential New York experiences, in addition to the aforementioned rats and roaches we also have a plethora of TV cameras roaming our streets in search of good stories of which I am apparently one. Accordingly this week I was interviewed for British morning TV. Principally on account of my eye catching chartreuse fleece. GMTV was doing a segment on how New Yorkers stay warm and they wanted to discuss my coat. They don’t appear to have aired the segment which is something of a relief to Elizabeth who was caught shockingly wearing no makeup and caparisoned in her extremely attractive Michelin Man couture. Also her nose was running and she was wearing her hat with the holes in it. In short she looked like she does every day when she’s out with me. I mean it’s not like anyone is going to notice her--except when someone sticks a TV camera in her face to ask about me. You’d think that after all this time my humans would realize that it pays to be camera ready when hanging around (or onto) me.

But there should be more Hounds on TV (a new Tonight show host, perhaps—I have red hair and am more entertaining than Conan) but since I am being followed by the University of Chicago on Twitter my TV suggestions should be indicative of a higher cultural tone:

Master Hound Theater

Wimsey R: An historical drama about the ever popular Tudor England (what’s next, The Real Housewives of Hampton Court?) in which it is revealed that Queen Elizabeth never married because she feared sharing the affections of her Hound. Also revealed is that it was the Hound’s illicitly acquisitive nature that inspired her to sign on Sir Francis Drake as her own personal royal pirate.

The First Wimseys: A lowly Hound named Wimsey is caught stealing the panties of Sarah Churchill and she is so charmed by his wrinkles that she lets him keep the panties provided he keeps her company while her husband John is off fighting all those interminable wars that no one studies anymore and becoming the Duke of Marlborough. The Hound is rewarded with his own personal tree at Blenheim Palace.

The Six Wives and One Hound of Henry VIII: We go back to Tudor England for a prequel to Wimsey R where we find out that Henry VIII’s real problem with some of his wives stemmed not from their inability to bear him a son but because of their problems with his Hound. Queen Katherine complained bitterly about the effect of drool on her extensive wardrobe of black Spanish clothing, Anne Boleyn complained that the Hound’s appetite for learning decimated her library, Anne of Cleves was too fat to exercise the Hound properly, and Catherine Howard was caught canoodling with other Hounds.

The Golden Bowl: A new version of the massively somnolent Henry James novel in which the origin of the golden color of the bowl and how it really got that crack are revealed. The hijinks of a naughty social (and furniture) climbing Hound enliven the otherwise glacial pace of the proceedings.

Upstairs Downstairs: The feudal saga of a rich family and their servants featuring a democratically inclined Hound who charges both upstairs and downstairs stealing food and possessions from all strata of society regardless of rank and finds creative ways to stinks up Lady Marjorie’s morning room and Mr. Hudson’s pantry.

Poldark: An 18th century historical drama wherein a dashing Hound of the West Country, Penwimsey helps in the ripping of bodices and the capturing of pirates and their edible booty.

The Forsyte Saga: A long soap opera in which a woman tries unsuccessfully to get away from her evil husband until she acquires a large stinky Hound and no one comes to visit her any more.

The Jewels in the Crown:
A story about an aristocratic family during the British Raj and their well endowed, highly esteemed Hound, Sahib Wimsey who made the wearing of white linen an act of courage.

Prime Suspect: An English police procedural in which a family with a Hound repeatedly reports thefts of food and possessions and the vandalization of their abode. No one can figure out who is responsible.

I, Wimsius: After Claudius and Caligula there was a brief reign of terror of a Roman Hound. Then someone put him on a leash.

Well, TV aside, it’s been a rather nice week here—I even finally got to strut about naked for part of it and Elizabeth got all artistic with the camera as you can see from my head shot montage. Of course in addition to being artistic she was rather foolish, at one point lying down on a bench while people watched and waited for some mayhem to begin. I look quite well behaved but really I was just hanging around waiting for some bribing photo turkey. In fact I have become a master extortionist, turning even the simplest tasks into snack filled projects.

A CNN Special Report: Extortion Stalks the Streets of the Upper West Side

Anderson Cooper: Hello and thanks for joining us. I’m Anderson Cooper and together with Wolf Blizter we will examine a shocking extortion scheme carried out every day in the otherwise peaceful, law abiding New York neighborhood of the Upper West Side.

Wolf Blitzer: That’s right Anderson. Generally as you know New York is better known for Ponzi schemes and economy wrecking investment banks but I think this level of criminal activity is in a class by itself. You certainly don’t want the children watching this explosive expose.

Anderson: Or the family pet either.

Wolf: Let’s take a look at the secret footage captured by our hidden cameras:

Anderson: Here we see the grandmaster of extortion, Wimsey. What’s he doing Wolf?

Wolf: He’s poking his human and sitting on her.

Anderson: Ouch! That looks painful.

Wolf: I’m sure it is Wolf. We’re told Wimsey weights 130 pounds. Anyway, it’s his gentle way of demanding to go out for a walk.

Anderson: OK, it looks like his human is complying. She’s suiting up. But if Wimsey wants to go out why is he now lying on his side making snorey noises?

Wolf: It’s the beginning of the shakedown, Anderson. In that position it will be impossible to lift his giant Hound head and put on his many pieces of equipment. The snorey noises are his dramatic way of threatening a nap.

Anderson: Uh oh. Look at that. He’s rolled over now and is demanding a belly rub even though his human is fully bundled up and holding his collars.

Wolf: It looks like the mark is complying. I imagine she’s hoping that if she meets his demands he’ll give her what she wants.

Anderson: Blackmail doesn’t work that way Wolf. Blackmailers always want more.

Wolf: Look. His human is proffering a cookie. That seems to be working. Wimsey has gotten up and is letting her put on that red collar.

Anderson: Uh oh. He’s finished the cookie and has quickly plopped down on his side again. And he’s making those snorey noises.

Wolf: His human looks mighty uncomfortable in all those clothes. But she’s approaching again with the prong.

Anderson: Look! Wimsey’s rolled over for another belly rub. He’s starting the process all over! That’s diabolical. How many pieces of equipment does he have?

Wolf: Sadly, four. Three collars, one gentle leader that his human needs to stay alive on the stairs and also a coat if it’s cold. And he goes for four walks a day.

Anderson: But I don’t get it. He wants to go out.

Wolf: Yes, but it’s apparently a point of honor with him to never do what his humans want without their giving him something in return, even if it’s something he wants to do. He calls it positive reinforcement.

Anderson: The law calls it extortion. But shouldn’t positive reinforcement make him more compliant?

Wolf: Of course not. He’s a Hound.

Well January not only brings the New Year but also the birthdays of both Maria and Elizabeth although Maria is a Capricorn and Elizabeth is an Aquarius. Generally I like it when they celebrate their birthdays by buying me gifts but as a special gift to them I have exercised my psychic powers to create customized astrological forecasts.

Wimsey’s Astrological Forecasts

Capricorn: Your sign is represented by a tasty looking goat. This might be a fine year to honor your sign by fixing a nice goat stew for your Hound. As a Capricorn you are reserved in both your dress and your manner. Your somber dress is likely to be enlivened this year by a wide assortment of light colored dots and stripes cheering you (and your dry cleaner) up enormously. You can also expect to meet many people this year only none of them will really be all that interested in you but at least you’ll have loads of people to talk to, albeit about your magnificent Hound. Your love life will continue to be a challenge as you seem to have little room in your life for romance and little room in your apartment for another living creature (also little room in your closet due to a burgeoning wardrobe of Hound coats). If you do meet a tall, handsome stranger he will most likely be a vet. Finances will continue to be difficult as no matter how much money you make your Hound will always spend more. Travel is not well aspected this year (as usual) since it would seriously annoy your Hound were he not to be allowed to accompany you. There may be a falling out with some friends over their suggestions that you get rid of the Hound and get a life. You’ll likely get rid of these friends instead. Colleagues at work, however, will continue to be supportive and send their leftover lunches home to your Hound which will make for warm work place relationships and periodic visits of your Hound. It will be a good year to count your blessings—especially the bones unbroken and the muscles unpulled.

Aquarius: Aquarius is an unfavorable sign because not only is it not represented by an edible animal but its symbol is a woman pouring water, which looks far too much like she might be bathing a Hound. Anyway, your freedom loving nature will express itself in walking your Hound on an even longer leash and in considering that his bad behavior represents not bad training but a freedom of spirit. You will rebel against the conventional ideal of feminine beauty by insisting that shapeless smelly clothes encourage people to see one’s inner beauty. Only generally they never get past the shapeless, smelly clothes. Your inventive nature will express itself by declaring that drool is the new black and you will see yourself as a revolutionary fashion trendsetter. But others might just see you as someone needing some Handiwipes. Your love life this year is marked by deceit. Expect to meet men who might be using you to get close to your Hound. However the unpredictable nature of the Aquarian means that your Hound could go careening into the love of your life at any moment, although depending upon where the Hound careens, you might not be the love of his life. Travel is well aspected this year although bring extra cash as you will need it to bring home expensive gifts to assuage the intense guilt you will feel in leaving your Hound. Your lucky letter is W and your lucky colors are black and tan.

Well anyway, I apologize for the late post—I was very busy this weekend throwing my weight around in honor of my humans’ birthdays.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a Houndful of joy