Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Dairy of a Manhattan Bloodhound #222

Entry #222

July 30 2011

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Better Late Than Never Wimsey coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side, otherwise known as Houndistan on Hudson, where the summer heat has abated sufficiently for me to eschew the dreaded cooling coat. Not only does the coat impede my roaching pleasure but it also impairs my ability to shed hair all over my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth causing them to look unpleasantly clean. Looking clean is tantamount to looking Houndless, so it is a very unsettling and undesirable situation all around.

Well as some of you may have realized, my schedule these last few months has been a bit different. Normally I spend the day at Elizabeth’s whilst Maria is at work, but Maria is between jobs (“resting” as they would say if she were an actor, although resting and Hounds are antithetical concepts) so I am mostly at home these days. This has led Maria to various revelations, like why Elizabeth and I were getting home from our midday walk at 4pm—almost just in time for my 6pm after work walk; funny how my humans set out for the park with the best of misguided intentions to limit my walk to a paltry ninety minutes and return home four hours later. But when it’s a choice between meeting and greeting people from all over the world and basking in my reflected glory amidst the leafy greenery of Central Park or doing chores and work at home there really is no contest. A state of affairs I encourage via my repetitive imitations of Hound shaped cement lawn ornaments.

Of course it can also take quite a bit of time to even get to the park when one factors in my extensive sidewalk socializing. For instance, this week I discovered that the side door to the neighborhood Starbucks is a likely source of Venti Hound loving baristas and so I call in there regularly. I am waiting until they figure out that I can be even more charming when presented with surplus food items.

But Elizabeth does come out with us

regularly and this week I escorted her to a hair appointment on the East Side where I did a bit of window shopping on Madison Avenue. It is always encouraging to note that I am even more popular on the posh East Side where people really appreciate an elegant and unusual canine fashion accessory such as myself. And although I can’t be stuffed into a high end Sherpa bag (perhaps Louis Vuitton could make me a Sherpa trunk) and toted around

into shops I do attract the kind of admiration and attention that East Side fashionistas crave. I could be the start of a new fashion trend! But “bloodhound” doesn’t sound very nice so I would have to use my fancy French alias, Chien de St. Hubert to have the appropriate East Side cachet. Of course, then I’d also need some humans with cachet.

East Side Shop Owner: What a magnificent dog! What kind is he?

East Side Lady: He is a Chien de St. Hubert, a very old, aristocratic French breed.

East Side Shop Owner: How clever of you to have a found an obscure breed of dog that no one else has! He’s very fashion forward.

East Side Lady: Yes, he’s good at being forward.

East Side Shop Owner: But he looks a lot like a bloodhound.

East Side Lady: Clearly you know nothing about dogs! I’ll bet you’re one of those people who think American Staffordshire Terriers look like pit bulls.

East Side Shop Owner: I don’t think either of those breeds live on the East Side, but how is the Chien de St. Hubert different from the bloodhound?

East Side Lady: He’s a lot more expensive for one thing. He’s French after all.

East Side Shop Owner: Well he did try to stick his tongue in my mouth but so does my boyfriend from Brooklyn, so what else makes him different?

East Side Lady: Well he has been bred by the finest Parisian perfumers to exude a scent that they guarantee leads to a long life and personal happiness. Mostly his, but the scent does seem to energize my housekeeper to new heights of scrubbing.

East Side Shop Owner: Wow! An aromatherapy dog! I was wondering what that smell was. What else?

East Side Lady: Well I’ve been told that getting whacked with his heavy tail and smacked with his flying ears are very good for getting rid of cellulite Also when he dances on your thighs. And there is the eight hour a day of walking that helps me remove all vestiges of body fat from my frame. I’m down to a size minus 2.

East Side Shop Owner: And they say French women are thin because they smoke cigarettes, drink a lot of espresso and don’t eat! I bet these chic dogs are the secret.

East Side Lady: Well they are tough to keep secret—they tend to get a bit loud when they get riled up.

East Side Shop Keeper: So I can hear. Why is he making that noise?

East Side Lady: He wants something that you have.

East Side Shop Keeper: What?

East Side Lady: Everything. But the best thing is that he produces these oral secretions that are better than Botox!

East Side Shop Owner: You mean all that drool?

East Side Lady: It’s not drool! It’s called La Bave de St. Hubert and every night I brandish a piece of cheese in front of him and he produces enough of the stuff to smear on my face and entire body. My plastic surgeon says it will be years before I need my next face-lift.

East Side Shop Owner: Wow! He’s like a spa on a leash!

East Side Lady: So you see he could not be more different from a smelly, loud, drooly bloodhound. He’s French.

Clearly those on the East Side appreciate a refined character such as myself and my French heritage explains my preoccupation with food, my inability to speak English and my appreciation of the finer things in life—especially those that don’t belong to me. Of course there are those American tourists who would say it also explains why I am rude and I smell, but Francophile that I am I won’t go there.

But anyway it has come to my attention that the last of the Harry Potter movies has opened and that people continue to be excited by the adventures of Harry and his friends. Perhaps the time is right for me to issue a Hound version of the series:

Wimsey Bloodhound and the Philosopher’s Collection of Delicious Books: In the first book in the series, Wimsey is living among humans (known as the Mugs) and proves to be so stubborn and annoying that he is sent away to school. The Mugs think they are sending him to an obedience school run by the evil Lord Cesar Voldemort but he is spirited away to the Hogeverything School to perfect his already considerable Houndish talents.

At Hogeverything Wimsey is introduced to the Hounding World via its headmaster the kindly but sneaky Headhound, Allofus Dumbare who introduces Wimsey to various spells (givemethatusnoworelsus) and charms (stare into my eyes and hand over your sandwich) aimed at teaching him how to get the most out of the Mugs. Periodically Lord Cesar Voldemort appears to try to achieve dominance over Wimsey but Wimsey uses his mastery of the spell, Iamingoringyouz to thwart him.

Wimsey Bloodhound and the Chamber of Cheese: Wimsey and his friend Weasel the Beagle discover a hidden chamber of finely aged cheese. Apparently it belonged to Lord Cesar Voldemort who was hoping to use it as positive reinforcement to achieve dominance. They eat the cheese, thus thwarting Voldemort’s plot. In opening the chamber they also unleash a number of hostile cats who begin wantonly slashing the noses of the

Hounds who want to chase them. Wimsey discovers he can speak Felixtongue and sends the cats over to Voldemort’s with a note suggesting that maybe he’d have better luck training them.

Wimsey Bloodhound and the Prisoner of Ridiculous Celebrity Dog Trainers: In this book Lord Cesar Voldemort has slunk off to train Golden Retrievers and Wimsey is attacked instead by an escaped TV dog trainer. Victoria You

Cannot Be Sirius Stilwell Black. It turns out she was responsible for tormenting Wimsey’s parents with a clicker so Wimsey reaches out for help to Remussitup Lupin, a master of defense against the dark arts of dog training. Remussitup is revealed to be a Siberian Husky, a race of canine wizards whose imperviousness to training and whose mastery of disobedience exceed even those of the vaunted Hound Group (although not by much). It turns out

that Black has had experience with Lupin’s brand of magic, so she takes one look at his piercing blue eyes and decides to join Voldemort with the Golden Retrievers.

Wimsey Bloodhound and the Goblet of Drool: Wimsey is entered in a challenging liver stealing contest with a variety of other disobedient, larcenous breeds. However, Voldemort, whose confidence has returned after teaching obedient dogs to be obedient dogs,

has decided to use the liver to lure Wimsey to the Dog Psychology Center where he intends to brainwash him (he calls it training). Although Wimsey falls into the trap he easily digs a hole under the Center’s fence with his giant, spade-like Hound feet and triumphantly returns to Hogeverything with a pair of Lady Voldemort’s panties.

Wimsey Bloodhound and the Order of Protection: Fed up with all this dog training nonsense, headhound Allofus

Dumbare decides to fight fire with fire and enlists the help of Dr. Phil to help Voldemort with his training addiction, Suze Orman to show him how much money he’d save by leaving Wimsey alone, Oprah Winfrey to talk about how sometimes impossible dreams are just impossible, Dr. Oz to call attention to Wimsey’s adverse effect on blood pressure and Judge Judy to issue an order of protection.

Wimsey Bloodhound and the Half-Breed Hound: Wimsey discovers that one of the Hounds at Hogeverything isn’t really all Hound. This explains why it is smarter than everybody, quieter than everybody, more interested in pleasing Mugs than everybody, less inclined to dig holes than everybody, less adept at stealing than everybody, less destructive than everybody and suspiciously less stinky than everybody. Wimsey feels sorry for it, however, because it is also less cute than everybody.

Wimsey Bloodhound and the Deathly End of All These Lucrative Book and Movie Deals: The author considered killing everybody off (especially Lord Cesar Voldemort who could easily have poked one Rottweiler too many) but settled for having all the animal behaviorists yell at Voldemort so much that he is forced to bribe dogs with food like everybody else. The Hounds do ultimately defend themselves against all dog training methods and graduate with honors and make the lives of the Mugs miserable while looking too cute for them to do anything about it. Wimsey goes on to write a best selling book called “If You Let Me Do What I Want We’ll All Be a Lot Happier.”

Well I think that’s all for this week. Sorry for the late post—it’s summer and I’ve been spending so much time refusing to leave the park that I’ve gotten behind on the serious business of letting people know that I’ve been spending time refusing to leave the park.

Many thanks to the neighbor’s cat Paris for her contribution to this week’s post.

Until next time,

Wimsey Bloodhound and the Idiot Humans

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound

This week's blog post delayed owing to too much summer laziness. Stay tuned.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #221

Entry #221

July 22, 2011

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey coming to you from my air conditioned abode on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the weather has been, in a word, vile (and when a Hound considers something to be vile it must be very bad indeed). It has been hot, humid and decidedly non-Houndy as I have been extremely reluctant to leave the

comforts of the air conditioning, cooling coat or no. This has proven something of a boon to my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who are more accustomed to me dragging them out in all weathers for extended ambulatory explorations.

Consequently there were very few pictures of me taken this week as I opted for short walks. Also, a

preponderance of any pictures taken would have shown me lying on the ground doing my imitation of a concrete lawn ornament. And even I, who believe that any picture taken of me is wondrous to behold, would be forced to admit that such a montage would have been boring to behold instead.

Of course Elizabeth (my photographer) did have the option of joining Maria and I on our 6 am morning walks when climactic conditions are more conducive to movement but she

somehow kept declining. But not to worry, the Wimsey archive contains approximately 10,000 photos of moi so there is never a shortage of images from which to choose, each one lovelier than the next. Louis XIV may have known what he did every moment of every day (see last week’s post) but I can actually see what I did every moment of every day.

But due to the weather things have been, in a word, b-o-r-i-n-g, so much so that yesterday I was reduced to having the indoor zoomies, (something not easy to accomplish given the size of New York City apartments) and wrestling with Maria over my stuffed reindeer (where are

the snows of yesteryear when you need them). And socializing has largely been restricted to email, text and telephone because no one, including me, wants to leave the air conditioning. So I decided that this made it the perfect time to reprogram my automated messaging system.

The Wimsey Automated Messaging System

Hello, you have reached Wimsey. Please listen carefully to the following choices as our menu options have changed. If you would like to speak to someone immediately please press the “w” key and listen to an extended loop of me baying. Feel free to throw your phone against the wall at any time.

Press 1 if you would like to speak to Wimsey.

Press 2 if you would like urgently to speak to Wimsey.

Press 3 if you would like to tell Wimsey how handsome he is

Press 4 if you would like to send Wimsey a present and need his address

Press 5 if you would like to schedule a

time to photograph Wimsey

Press 6 if you would like a stool sample (I get a lot of calls from the vet)

Press 7 to report a lost or stolen plastic water bottle

Press 8 to report a lost or stolen sandwich

Press 9 if you don’t believe a 130lb dog can sit in your lap and want a demonstration (health insurance required)

Press 10 if you would like to give Wimsey a belly rub

Press 11 if this is about your dry cleaning bill

Press 12 if you would to order some original Wimsey Wall Art

Press 13 if you are missing an item of clothing

Press 14 if this is about the noise

Press 15 if this is about the smell

Press 16 if you want a an autographed picture of Wimsey (specify type of autograph: muddy paw print, gob of drool, or his personal mark)

Press 17 if you think Wimsey’s human needs her head examined

Press 18 if you buy Baying Hound Ale just because Wimsey’s picture is on the label

Press 19 if you think Wimsey’s picture should be on a Valium label

Press 20 if you think Wimsey is cute

Press 21 if you think Wimsey is cute enough to make up for the rest of it

Press 22 if you would like to speak to Maria (but she’ll probably just talk about Wimsey anyway).

Press any key immediately if you would like to give Wimsey your dinner

Press 23 if you would like this conversation hacked by Rupert Murdoch

Don’t you just love automated voice mail systems- especially the ones that tell you how important your call is but never seem to want to answer it. So aggravating-- I wonder if they were designed by Hounds?

Anyway, this week as I said, much of our communication has been via electronic means and we received a very entertaining email forwarded by our friend Lisa, Sophie the Washington DC bloodhound’s human. It seems that Weight Watchers published an article about the health benefits of having a dog because we active canines force you lazy humans to exercise (something of an understatement around here). The article then goes on to suggest different kinds of activities and identifies the dogs breeds that

are best suited to each one--like Australian Cattle Dogs and Dalmatians being good running partners, etc. But imagine my shock (and my humans’ horror) when the article claimed that the best dogs with which to do yoga are the beagle (do they make edible yoga mats?), the bloodhound (my humans never seem pleased when I attempt to participate—something about confusing yoga with wrestling) and the Jack Russell (does this assume a tranquilizer dart beforehand?). I can’t speak from personal experience about the other breeds, but the only sport for which the bloodhound is a good companion is Extreme Dog Walking (also known as drag racing).

But if we did do yoga, here are some excellent positions:

Wimsey’s Guide to Bloodhound Yoga

The Downward Facing Human (an excellent pose resulting from the exuberant greeting of one’s human or from trying to get better acquainted with a squirrel while on leash)

The Paw Stand (rear paws planted on the floor, front paws planted on the dinner plate)

Hound Salutation (best performed by humans with outstretched hands laden with turkey)

Half Spinal Twist (a pose humans achieve when their Hounds mount a rear guard action against a raccoon or a fast moving rodent; not to be confused with the Full Spinal Twist which results in a visit to the emergency room).

Pose of the Puppy (achieved by lifting one’s leg or squatting on the carpet (humans complement the Pose of the Puppy by assuming the Pose of Nature’s Miracle).

The Half Moon (posture that occurs when a Hound tries to steal a human’s underpants whilst they are still being worn).

The Frog (this pose is performed by repeatedly hyper extending one’s tongue in response to a human with a cup of gelato or frozen yoghurt).

Corpse Pose (a posture assumed by humans after a day out with the Hound. Depending on how bad the Hound’s behavior was, it is also called the “I wish I were dead” pose).

The Bow (also called the Play Bow—a posture frequently assumed preparatory to the Full Body Slam Pose (see Downward Facing Human)

The Camel (Pose that a water filled Hound executes in response to inclement weather or humans in a hurry who wish the Hound to assume The Upward Lifted Leg Pose)

The Crane (pose executed by a human attempting to remove a reluctant Hound from the park.

The Roach (a favorite Hound pose best executed in a puddle of mud, on a pile of poop or on top of a deceased animal, preferably right after a bath).

Personally I am a big fan of yoga and always enjoy a session with my humans-- especially all the chanting: “Wimsey get off of me,” “Wimsey go away, “Wimsey that hurts,” ‘Wimsey let go,” etc. But I always thought the chants were supposed to be in Sanskrit.

But what else can we talk about on this very hot, dull week? I mean even the news was boring— another celebrity marriage break-up, politicians fighting, and tabloids behaving badly to get information. Shocking. All this is the canine equivalent of “Hound Steals Food!” “Hound Eats Contents of Laundry Bin!” “Hound Chases Squirrel! Pulls Human Over!” Now if those things didn’t happen that would actually be news. But the week was enlivened by my perusal of my photographic archive where I found this picture of myself in front of a tribute to Alfred Nobel near the Museum of Natural History. This did excite me because I am a big fan of the Nobel Prize and always thought I should win a few of them.

Wimsey’s Nobel Prizes

Physics: The Nobel Prize in physics goes to Wimsey for his elegant proof that matter can neither be created nor destroyed as demonstrated by his ability to convert an expensive Sunday roast into a pile of inexpensive lawn fertilizer. The Academy also wished to acknowledge Wimsey’s fine work in determining the exact length of leash required to exert the maximum amount of torque on a human spine whilst in rotational pursuit of a squirrel.

Chemistry: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Wimsey for his seminal work in pioneering the field of Reverse Alchemy as demonstrated by his turning gold into vet bills.

Medicine: The Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to Wimsey for his groundbreaking work in the field of human obesity, demonstrating conclusively that it’s hard to eat food that’s been stolen and hard to sit on a couch that’s been eaten. Wimsey is also the recipient of a special recognition award from the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists and the American College of Emergency Physicians for his work’s outstanding contribution to their annual patient billings.

Economics: The Nobel Prize in Economics goes to Wimsey for his timely and insightful macroeconomic model of the stimulatory effect on the economy of Hounds. Wimsey conclusively demonstrates that the aggregate effect on demand for a wide range of goods and services (including such items as the complete replacements of household goods) achieved by increasing the number of Hounds far outstrips the beneficial effects of either cutting taxes or increasing government spending. The effect is achieved in spite of a marked decrease in disposable personal income.

Literature: The Nobel Prize in Literature goes to Wimsey, the renowned author of Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound, Wimsey’s Guide to New York and assorted beer labels, all of which contain an unparalleled amount of Wimsey.

Peace: The Nobel Peace Prize goes to Wimsey for his stunning analysis of world conflict in which he observes

that people who have Hounds are too tired to fight. Also cited by the Nobel Committee was Wimsey’s relentless pursuit of inter species diplomacy as evidenced by his unceasing and highly vocal attempts to persuade the neighbor’s cat to let him sniff her.

Of course my feline peace overtures (or ovations) have ground to a halt this week due to the heat. But next week I am to vacation in Elizabeth’s apartment again while Maria attempts to lure the cat into our apartment to hunt the mice that have taken up residence (I am more of a sniffer of mice

than a catcher of them). Maria’s pretty certain that a large smelly Hound straining at its leash and baying furiously might prove distracting to her efforts. But this estimable cat (Paris is her name) has apparently single handedly rid her human’s apartment of mice and our shared back garden of mice and rats. Is it any wonder I want to get to know her better? But it is a bit of a shame about the rats, for although I am indifferent to mice nothing enlivens my evening walk more than a spirited attempt to snag a rat. Judging by their shrieks my humans enjoy this too.

Anyway, I think I will leave it there for this week. Wherever you are stay cool (I am of course cool, in every respect) and pray for snow.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a Noble, Nobel Laureate