Friday, November 26, 2010

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #190

Entry #190

November 26, 2010

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where Thanksgiving has been celebrated in the traditional manner--I get to be annoying over the long four day weekend instead of over the customary two. These days this entails me sticking my big nose into the boxes my human Maria is still unpacking from our recent move and towing her friend Elizabeth through mountains of slippery leaves. And if you follow me on Twitter you will know that as I was towing Elizabeth through one of my favorite, but very dark, fields in Riverside Park she fell into a hole that was imperceptible owing to it being filled with these leaves. one of my humans eats dust it is a cause for Houndly celebration even if, strictly speaking, I can’t take full credit. Needless to say I came rushing over immediately to gloat although my humans preferred to think I was there out of concern.

Anyway, I am really liking the new apartment and have discovered that it is conveniently located around the corner from Grom Gelato, the ne plus ultra of fine, artisanal ($$$$) Italian ice cream. So whenever we round the corner I inhale deeply to ascertain whether the shop is open (no sense wasting precious towing energy carrying on if it’s closed) and then I turn into a block of concrete and stare pointedly at the counter. The other day I decided to my point by engaging in some vigorous baying at customers already in possession of the desired comestibles and created such a ruckus that the lady behind the counter came running out proffering a hefty spoonful of the stuff. “What Wimsey wants Wimsey gets otherwise he is going to be damned annoying” is another Houndish rule of dewclaw (I don’t have thumbs) that I live by. The fact that I am damned annoying anyway doesn’t seem to have dawned on my humans. Like when I turn into a block of concrete in front of Le Pain Quotidien in Central Park and stare and drool at the people trying to enjoy their food. (I strongly recommend their chicken on a baguette).

Well, last week things were a bit busy around here so I did not get to turn my attention to the news captivating both sides of the Atlantic—namely the engagement of Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton. Like so many of earth shaking proportions this one came about with the able assistance of a Hound (and another one of my transatlantic relatives)

Sir Algernon Arbuthnot-Wimsey, Royal Matrimonial Counselor

Prince William: I would like to see Sir Algernon please.

Secretary: Do you have an appointment Sir? This is usually his hour for digging a hole in the garden.

Prince William: Yes, I do. But I thought this was his hour for rifling through the Palace garbage. He told me he would make an exception due to the urgency of my situation.

Secretary: Normally yes, but he’s running behind owing to the unusually long nap he had to take after seeing your brother.

Prince William: Well I am glad he could make time for me. I know how hard it must be to keep up with the affairs of my family.

Sir Algernon: You have no idea. Also they have a lot of stuff that requires artistic rearrangement, to say nothing of the Royal Collection of Dirty Underwear, literal and figurative. But I am here until my daily three o’clock with Fergie to discuss why trying to peddle influence with your ex-husband is not conducive to a robust social life.

Prince William: Well I am trying to decide whether to ask my girlfriend to marry me. I mean I don’t want to make a mistake like everyone else in the family and, I mean, I’ve only been dating her eight years, so I don’t want to rush into anything.

Sir Algernon: A very commendable exhibition of prudence. Well let us examine the facts: Is she the daughter of a flamboyant, famous earl?

Prince William: No she’s the daughter of a flight attendant.

Sir : That could come in handy in the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure on the royal jet.

Prince William: And now her parents run a business selling tat for children’s parties.

Sir Algernon: I guess running off with people who sell party tat for a living isn’t as popular as running off with international playboys or celebrity heiresses so her parents’ marriage is unlikely to be a source of embarrassment. Is she a virgin?

William: Certainly not! I know what the world thinks about the masculinity and romantic abilities of the English but I think eight years is sufficient time for an Englishman to score. Even an Englishman who is a member of the Royal Family!

Algernon: I am relieved to hear it. A virile member of the Royal Family—that’s one in the eye for the French, what! Moving on, is she obsessed by being thin and does she like to throw up her food after meals?

Prince William: No. But just to be on the safe side I don’t let her go to the ladies room after we eat. And when she asks me if something makes her look fat I always say no.

Sir Algernon: Excellent. Does she refer to your ex-girlfriends as Rottweilers, which frankly I always considered a compliment—excellent animals those.

Prince William: No, but she does say my brother is a dog.

Sir Algernon: Well he is, so that doesn’t count. How is she on the matter of toe sucking? Has she expressed any desire for American millionaires to have their way with her toes?

Prince William: No. Although I’ve never broached the subject and I avoid that activity as it might lead her to desire other toe sucking experiences. I’m told it’s very addictive. At least that was Aunt Fergie’s excuse.

Sir Algernon: Well I certainly wouldn’t leave her alone with any riding instructors or rich Egyptians or Prince Phillip , but barring that, it seems that you might safely ask her to marry you providing she doesn’t mind being hounded by paparazzi, being written about unflatteringly in the press, having everyone she’s known since childhood being interviewed for gossip columns and running around the country cutting ribbons for new school cafeterias and making earnest speeches that no one believes. Also the Palace Officials will tell her she’s crap at the job. Other than that, I’m sure she’ll be very happy.

William: You don’t think I’m being precipitous. I mean, perhaps a good round ten years of dating…

Sir Algernon: No, my boy. Give her the ring. And a big silly hat. And a really big box of Kleenex.

So you see without the assistance of a Hound the world might have been waiting indefinitely for an announcement. Anyway, we’ve had lovely fall weather this week and I spent much of it out and about in Central Park meeting and greeting tourists, getting my photo taken and carrying a ridiculous amount of leaves and leaf like material into the apartments of my humans. Fall is definitely one of my favorite seasons. As is winter and spring and summer. Too bad we are stuck with these very non-descriptive names for the months of the year. And since I am nothing if not a Hound who is in possession of a vast store of knowledge, it turns out that is the anniversary of the introduction of a calendar that tried to remedy the whole non descriptive month thing. Yes, it’s those whacky French again-- having chopped the heads off of the aristocrats they took an axe to the calendar and introduced new, revolutionarily correct names for the months. Sadly their innovation did not survive them (literally) but I think this was due to the fact that the names were not descriptive enough:

Month beginning September 22

French Revolutionary Name: Vendémiare (grape harvest)

Hound Name: Squirrelimaire

Month beginning October 22

French Revolutionary Name: Brumaire (fog)

Hound Name: Leafpeeingaire

Month beginning November 22

Revolutionary Name: Frimaire (frost)

Hound Name: turkeystealingaire avecmoreleafpeeingaire

Month beginning December 22

French Revolutionary Name: Nivôse (snowy)

Hound Name: tryingtopeeonChristmastreeôse

Month beginning on January 22

French Revolutionary Name: Pluviôse (rainy)

Hound Name: snowtowingôseavechumansplatôse

Month beginning February 21

French Revolutionary Name:Ventôse (windy)

Hound Name: icedancingôseavecmorehumansplatôse

Month beginning March 21

French Name: Germinal (germination)

Hound Name: windblowingdroolinal

Month beginning April 21

French Revolutionary Name: Floréal (flowers)

Hound Name: Stinkywethoundéal

Month beginning May 21

French Revolutionary Name: Prairial (prairie)

Hound Name: diggingupflowerbedséal

Month beginning June 20

French Revolutionary Name: Messidor (harvest)

Hound Name: smellydroolymessidor

Month beginning July 20

French Revolutionary Name: Thermidor (summer heat)

Hound Name: lyingdownunderatreeandrefusingtomovedor

Month beginning August 19

French Revolutionary Name: Fructidor (fruit)

Hound Name: consolidatededisonbillsbecausethehoundhastobeairconditionedaroundtheclockdor

So much more descriptive, don’t you think? Of course I did have a French Revolutionary ancestor, Citoyen Hound, who advised the Revolutionary government to be more creative but he was overruled by Robespierre and my ancestor may have been a Hound but he was smart enough to know what happened to people who disagreed with Robespierre.

Anyway, I think I will leave history at that for this week. The weather is turning markedly colder which means I will soon be caparisoned in my various coats of many non-houndly colors which caused my human to buy coat hooks for my wardrobe. She claims that keeping my coats in her closet causes her to smell like Hound. And? No one actually has the heart to tell her that she will smell like Hound regardless—after all we sleep in the same bed, sit on the same couch (when I am not draped in her lap), and breathe the same Hound perfumed air-- but if it makes her feel like she is in control of her odor I will humor her. We Hounds follow the precepts of Winston Churchill and are magnanimous in victory. I would like to say we are also magnanimous in defeat but defeat, like “come” are not really words in our vocabulary.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a Royal Pain

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #189

Entry #189

November 19, 2010

Hello everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from my new digs on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where, although I am only 7 blocks south of my old crib, I am already impressing the denizens of the new block with my majestic appearance and acoustically robust sound stylings. And there is already a dog in the next building that hates me! I can’t imagine why he should find the presence of a large, loud, powerfully scented Hound who possesses one of the finest pairs of testicles extant, disturbing to his sang froid, but there is no accounting for canine tastes. Perhaps I should sing him the Wimsey Anthem every morning:

To the tune of Edelweiss (with apologies to Captain von Trapp)

Testicles, testicles

Every morning I groom you

Large and round, hanging down

Nothing is better than you.

Orbs of fuzz, may you create a buzz

Between my legs forever

Testicles, Testicles

Grace Manhattan forever

But in spite of my new canine enemy things have gone quite well this week. My human Maria has finally emptied most of the boxes and she and her friend Elizabeth have been scurrying about town buying things to make me more comfortable. The big purchase of the week was an actual couch to replace my little black loveseat and if you think finding a couch that is deep enough to accommodate my generous posterior is easy, think again. My humans must have measured the depth of every couch cushion in Manhattan, furiously calculating tush to cushion ratios in the hopes of finding one suitable for a Hound of my ample proportions. Fortunately no actual logarithms were involved before a couch was selected and ordered. The fact that it is big and of a color that goes with nothing is completely immaterial as in the all important tush clearance parameter it was deemed a success. It arrives tomorrow and the ladies are eager for my approval. They are also hoping that one of them will no longer have to sit on the floor when I am enthroned as this couch is long enough (in theory) to accommodate all three of us. This of course assumes that I will not stretch out the long way, which given my proclivity for expansionist activities, is not at all a safe assumption. Personally I think sitting on the floor is excellent for their backs.

Well after the couch buying all that was left was for my humans to entertain the staff of ABC Carpets with their lively discussions about what to put on the bedroom floor to cover up the ugly linoleum. Apparently the fact that Elizabeth does not actually live in Maria’s apartment nor use the bedroom has not stopped her from trying to dictate floor coverings. Personally I think this is a massive redirection—she can’t get me to do what she wants so she’s trying for he next best thing-- my human. But as with everything else, it looks like I will have the last bay— I have decided that I like sleeping on linoleum floor which is causing some massive decorating re-calculations. And then there is also the fact that if I disapprove of the floor coverings my humans know all too well what will happen to them.

And speaking of which, Elizabeth is also in redecorating, and reorganizing mode which means that there is a lot of very fine packing material lying her apartment. Yesterday when she returned from errands she found me atop a nest of packing paper with her NY Times and Wall Street Journal thrown in for good measure. (maybe that’s what Maria should use to cover her bedroom floor). And although Elizabeth is generally pretty tolerant of my nesting activities she did draw the line when I tried to rearrange her stacks of files so I could sleep on them.

Anyway, we have been having some really splendid autumn weather and the autumnal glory of Central Park perfectly sets off my finely burnished coat, which I am happy to report receives frequent burnishing from all the park visitors who want to rub it. Everyone is so enthusiastic about petting me that perhaps they think they will get three wishes if they rub my coat enough. Which reminds me of the family story that my ancestor Abdul Wimsey claimed to have saved the lost tale of Scheherazade’s 1002nd night:

The Tale of the Magic Hound

Once upon a time there was a booming metropolis filled with people who led very exciting lives and people who wanted to live very exciting lives. But strangely no one in this city was very happy. The people with the exciting lives spent a lot of time in therapy complaining about how stressful their exciting lives were and people without the exiting lives spent a lot of time in therapy trying to figure out how to obtain one of these exciting lives. So half the population was on tranquilizers and the other half were on anti-depressants and the therapists built large country houses with swimming pools.

Then one day a Magic Hound appeared in the city (yes technically all Hounds are magical but this one was especially so). He was a magnificent looking animal with a shiny black and tan coat, a large and intrusive nose and a wise and sagacious air that belied a very unsagacious interest in the contents of shopping bags, laundry bins, toilet bowls and dinner plates.

As the Magic Hound was lounging about looking for a plant to uproot or someone to annoy, a rotund man in a cream colored suit strode up to him and professed his undying admiration for his beauty. The bravery of the man in approaching a Hound whilst wearing light colors so impressed the Hound that he spoke (right after he slimed him):

Hound: I am a Magic Hound.

Man: Does this great gob of sticky slime containing miscellaneous organic matter have magic powers?

Hound: No, it’s just slime. I am a Hound first and a Magic Hound second. But if you scratch me between my flews I’ll grant you three wishes.

Man: OK. But your flews are revolting. What have you been sticking your face into?

Hound: Is knowing that your first wish? Some things it’s better not to know.

Man: No. My wishes are that I want to be famous and thin and find love.

Hound: Such an easy request. OK. Your first wish is granted.

Man: But what is this pack of Hounds doing here?

Hound: They are your pack of Hounds. Congratulations you are now famous. Everywhere you go people will know who you are. You will be impossible to ignore. People will surround you. Everyone will want your picture. Great cries of “There goes that idiot who keeps a pack of Hounds in the metropolis” will follow you everywhere. All your neighbors will know you, the man in the pet store where you order 30lb sacks of food will know you, the doormen who hose down the sidewalks will know you, the pedestrians who your Hounds knock down will know you, people whose cars your Hounds try to break into will know you, the people at LL Bean will know you, vets will know you, people trying to eat lunch on park benches or in outdoor cafes will know you…

Man: But that sounds terrible!

Hound: It’s not so bad. Look on the bright side-- now you won’t have the time or the money to spend whining at your therapist. Your life will actually be quite exciting assuming you have good health insurance.

Man: OK. Well how about being thin.

Hound: Well I did consider giving you another pack of Hounds but I think I will just add a beagle to your existing pack.

Man: How is that going to make me thin?

Hound: You obviously know nothing about trying to eat whilst living with a pack of Hounds. Why the beagle alone is enough to do the job. He can eat his own weight in stolen food you know. I would suggest you get a combination lock for the fridge—he hasn’t figured out how to open one of those yet.

Man: But I’ll starve!

Hound: Not at all. The beagle doesn’t much care for salads. And for everything else his lightening speed is a natural means of portion control.

Man: This does not sound good.

Hound: There is no such thing as a free lunch you know. Unless of course you are a Hound. But you’re lucky. I like you. Usually when people rub me they have to grant me three wishes.

Man: Well how about love. And don’t tell me I get more Hounds.

Hound: Don’t be ridiculous. Of course not. Hounds don’t give love, they take it. I’ve given you a nice Golden Retriever.

And the man lived unhappily ever after. But the Hounds were happy which is the main thing. And he was famous, thin and had love. The moral of the story is to always be careful what you wish for. That and to be aware that a Magic Hound is still a Hound and you are unlikely to come out on the winning end of any interaction where Hounds, magical or not, are concerned.

And speaking of magic, we Hounds are indeed magical—not only can we do things like make bits of kibble magically appear in improbable, if not to say impossible places (like under the sheets) and transport mysterious substances from the outdoors indoors but we also have magic hair. Elizabeth can testify to this firsthand as, in spite of the fact that I only spend weekday afternoons with her, and in spite of the fact that she always obeys the law and wear clothes ,after she takes a bath or a shower her drain trap is filled with hair—and it’s mine!

And speaking of mine, my beer from Baying Hound Aleworks is expanding its distribution in the Washington DC area, so if you are down there check to see where you can get it ( I would love to have a picture of someone drinking my beer! There are also some beer events planned and I am hoping to make a personal appearance at one of these in the future. I can think of nothing more conducive to enjoying a fine brew than a giant, smelly Hound baying at you for a taste and flinging drool into your glass when one is not forthcoming.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving—it kind of snuck up on us here with all the hooha about the move, etc. I think my humans are going out, which I hate, but they usually buy me a turkey dinner anyway because they feel so guilty. I hope there’s Grom Gelato for dessert.

Until next time,

Wimsey, Black (and Tan) Magic

PS: Apropos of the beginning of this post, AOL has a feature called “Real Women Search for a Perfect Pair” (sadly it's about jeans.)