Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #226

Entry #226

August 26, 2011

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from Hound Hurricane Central on New York’s Upper West Side where preparations for my safety and comfort are in full swing. Originally my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth were going to rent a car and take me on a drive to nowhere (also known as Ohio) to escape the coming storm. Then they became concerned about getting back if the roadways were flooded and also about looking pretty ridiculous if the storm turned out not to be so bad.

So then the debate focused on whose apartment would be safest for me—my own where I have easy access in and out but which is on the ground floor in a small building that might flood or Elizabeth’s which is on the 14th floor and likely to get a tad windy and would have no elevator service if the power went out. In the end Elizabeth did some advanced meteorological research and realized that hurricanes come in from the east and her windows face out to the west. So she’ll have a couple of houseguests as of tomorrow night.

I understand that all the cupboards and closets (not to mention the refrigerator) in Elizabeth’s apartment are now filled with emergency supplies (I don’t know, are two dozen eggs really enough? Maria is only bringing a dozen already hard-boiled. And I won’t even mention Elizabeth’s battery collection or the fact that she’s got three phones). The only thing Elizabeth didn’t have to buy were adult beverages as she somehow always manages to have a vast supply of those.

She specializes in preparing The Wimsey Cocktail (a large glass of gin) and if you drink a few of those you quickly forget that you are cooped up with a large, smelly bored Hound. And in a prodigious demonstration of domestic skill Elizabeth will be boiling noodles and assembling a giant lasagna for me to steal. The only thing she apparently learned from watching all those Gordon Ramsey TV shows is how to scream at me, call me a donkey and tell me to piss off (which has an entirely different meaning when applied to me so it is best used only in outdoor situations).

But seriously NYC is going to be in lockdown mode—mass transit has been suspended for the first time in history and even Fairway (our local gourmet store cum supermarket of horrors) is closing tomorrow at noon. No one knows what to expect except my humans who know exactly what to expect—a giant Hound in the lap, a large paw in the ribs and enough drool to make a hurricane seem like a light drizzle. And I expect a large lasagna.

There is talk of spending the night depleting Elizabeth’s drink collection and playing Scrabble using only words relating to Hounds. There is also Trivial Pursuit but sadly there is no Hound version of this. There should be:

Original Version (Hound Version)

Geography (Holes your Hound has dragged you into, locations of gelato shops, snack shops and overpriced pet boutiques)

Entertainment (things your Hound has done to entertain himself that have resulted in law suits).

History (The shoes you used to own, the bras you used to own, the clothing you used to own, the furniture you used to own, the food you used to eat).

Arts and Literature (things the drool pattern on the walls and ceilings remind you of, famous stack dances, Wimsey’s most memorable quotations).

Science and Nature (origins of the disgusting deceased animals onto which Hounds like to enthusiastically roll).

Sports (ice skating without skates, sledding without sleds, skiing without skis, mud wrestling, bath wrestling, eating dinner, etc.).

OK, so enough for the moment about the hurricane (I will try to tweet, post on Facebook, blog or otherwise update you on my hurricane happenings). The week was actually quite busy—a lot of meeting and greeting (including a family who has bloodhounds!) and park lounging and carrying on on the way home. There were no tuna sandwiches this week but we did stop at Handles, the new frozen yogurt shop so Elizabeth could try some. Needless to

say, the sight of her eating what should be my frozen yogurt incensed me to such a degree that it provoked some really world class irate baying. And the sound of this world class irate baying incensed passersby to such a degree that it provoked a storm of world class demands to let me have the yogurt. So after hurriedly gobbling a few guilty spoonfuls, Elizabeth complied.

Bucking public opinion on the streets of New York is never easy but when the cause in question is as cute as I am it is ne’er well impossible. The yogurt is pretty good—not Grom Gelato by any means—but an acceptable tribute after a hard afternoon spent refusing to go in any direction that my humans want to go in.

And we did run into a bride (you can see her in the background) who was trying to get her picture taken but she, her entourage and those watching kept getting distracted by my attempts to add a musical accompaniment to the proceedings. I was kept at a distance where it was deemed that even I could not fling drool but folks around found my vocalizations so compelling that they joined in. So I was frog marched out of Bethesda Terrace to the sound of humans baying (or trying to—humans seem to find it difficult to replicate my chest voice —they bay from the throat which is poor technique. And they fail to achieve a proper lip purse also).

I did try several times to jump in the lake (last year we visited the Michigan Lakes and I refused to go in—illicit bodies of water are a lot more appealing than the licit kind--) and apart from the fine that would be levied if I am caught Maria swears that she will hustle me off to Elizabeth’s for immediate deposit in the tub if I succeed. The Central Park Lake water is delightfully stinky and I think it would make a fine addition to my Houndly scent so stay tuned.

In last week’s post I discussed the importance of developing new skills and expanding one’s repertoire of annoying habits. Well owing to the friendly Pedi cab guys at the 77th Street entrance to Central Park I have become obsessed, enamored and just plain crazy about Pedi cabs. Not only do I insist on inspecting the ones at 77th Street (apparently only one of which has a seat deep enough to accommodate my majestic tush) but I now tow (charge?) my humans over to all of them scaring the bejesus out of some of the less canine savvy Pedicabistas (to say nothing of the frozen looks of terror I get from some of their hapless passengers!) It’s all very satisfying. At least for me.

And then of course there is my eternal fascination with New York City’s extensive wildlife population (except the mice in my apartment who I find boring—perhaps because my human would prefer otherwise). This juicy duck rather took my fancy.

But sadly I was not permitted to get to know him better. I am thinking of requesting duck for my hurricane meal. Perhaps I should add it to the list of tips for hurricane preparedness:

1. Stock up on essential items (dog food, bribing turkey, bully sticks, gin)

2. Remove the Hound to higher ground (the couch)

3. Fill bathtub with water so toilet can be flushed and Hound can safely drink.

4. Reassure Hound that it is safe to go into a bathroom with a full tub

5. Secure important documents such as

Hound’s registration, championship certificate, show photos, etc. in plastic bags.

6. Do not allow Hound access to the plastic bags (tape to ceiling)

7. Buy Hound new toys to distract him from the storm

8. In the event of power failure, feed all perishable items to the Hound

9. Make sure you have cash so Hound can steal high denomination bills and your screaming can drown out the sound of the hurricane when you try to retrieve them

10. Make sure you have plenty of ice cubes-- in the event of a power failure use the ice cubes to make cocktails—you’ll need them.

Anyway, I think I will leave it there for the moment. For now the sun is shining and it might be time to attempt another pre-hurricane inspection of Elizabeth’s apartment. (I think around here Hurricane Irene is going to be known as Hurricane Wimsey).

Until next time (and until my storm-tracker Wimsey updates),


PS: It is always a bad sign when The Weather Channel sends Jim Cantore to your city—he usually shows up where they expect things to be most “exciting”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #225

Entry #225

August 19, 2011

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from my Hound Kingdom on the Hudson, otherwise known as Manhattan’s Upper West Side where a reprieve from the heat means that I am once again out and about in Central Park, meeting and greeting New York’s many visitors. And although my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth are happy that I am feeling better after being diagnosed with a urinary tract infection they are not necessarily happy with the behavioral results of my feeling better. It’s all, “the good news is that Wimsey’s feeling better” and “the bad news is that Wimsey’s feeling better.”

So in addition to the usual, mundane dragging, baying and drool flinging, I have now decided that it is imperative that both my humans accompany me to the park for my midday walk so as to most effectively monopolize both their afternoons. If Maria should have the temerity to try to walk me without Elizabeth I simply point myself in the direction of Elizabeth’s apartment and commence tractoring operations. Alternatively if the weather is too hot for this I lay down on the sidewalk with my nose pointing in the direction from which Elizabeth should be meeting us and refuse to move. If Maria does succeed in getting me to walk in the direction of Central Park I insist on doing it with my my head pointing backwards while I emit pathetic little squeaks.

At the end of the day, it is just easier for Elizabeth to abandon all hope of getting anything done in the afternoon and spend the time watching me disport myself in the park. And I am pretty pleased because it is not all that easy to add a new, obnoxious behavior to a repertoire already bursting at the seams with them. Nevertheless, I believe that it is important to continue to acquire new skills throughout one’s life.

And I am not even counting the massive expansion of my cookie behavior. This started innocuously enough with me poking Elizabeth’s cookie pouch during a walk and staring fixedly at her (making what henceforth became known as the cookie face), which initially was deemed quite cute and exceptionally intelligent for an obtuse-seeming Hound such as myself. It then expanded to include me walking crab-wise in front of my humans (threatening to trip them) whenever I wished to be fed a cookie. And somehow I found that I wished to be fed a cookie quite a lot. It is immensely pleasant to be dragging a human down the street whilst munching a cookie and observing the passing urban scene.

Anyway, I have now combined my cooking cadging behavior with my refusing to leave the park cement lawn ornament behavior, creating another splendid addition to my human-bedeviling behavioral repertoire. Now when it is time to leave the park (I don’t believe it is ever time to leave the park!) I walk along at the pace of a snail that has eaten a surfeit of grass and I lie down every few feet and refuse to move. Tugging at 125lbs of dead weight is 1) futile 2) results in me rolling onto my back and roaching and 3) causes passersby to make nasty comments about abusive humans. So guess what my humans have to do to get me to move? That’s right—they feed me a cookie! And guess what happens twenty feet later? That’s right—I turn into a cement lawn ornament again! So it was not only the display of a new skill that had its premiere this week but also the masterful combining of two old ones to form a new and delightful third.

And just to make matters a tad bit worse, one of Elizabeth’s kind neighbors donated a bag of large cookies that the pet store had given her as a freebee (she has miniature dachshunds) and here I am about to enjoy one as a reward for moving forward a few feet. They are even my preferred brand—Old Mother Hubbard. But even a large cookie was insufficient incentive to get me to move away from this waffle truck. To repeat my Facebook posting—Newton’s Fourth Law states that a Hound not in motion in front of a waffle truck will tend to

remain not in motion in front of a waffle truck unless a large piece of turkey is produced. I hate to repeat myself, but I am a big fan of Sir Isaac’s and never miss an opportunity to supply a practical demonstration of his laws. (In any case, I suspect that there is an arti$anal waffle in my future. I wonder if my humans would mind topping it with Grom Gelato?).

As it happens, my waffle truck strike occurred just after Elizabeth

misguidedly tried to have lunch—she didn’t have time to eat at home (I wonder why) so she purchased a tuna sandwich (my favorite!) and attempted to eat it on her own. She was unsuccessful. (She was complaining that her new her jeans are too tight so she should really thank me for my calorie reduction activities). I did also lie down and refuse to move in front of Le Pain Quotidien in Central Park (excellent chicken sandwich)

whereupon a lunching French woman came over to admire me. She asked my humans if I was always so docile. I am a Hound. It’s my special talent to look well behaved even while being the opposite of well behaved.

But summer is winding down so it is time once again to take a look at some popular summer movies that I think could have been substantially improved:

Wimsey Bloodhound and the Deathly Pillows: Wimsey, a heroic and magnificent bloodhound becomes concerned that the plethora of pillows that his human keeps on her bed will suffocate her and she will no longer be around to rub his belly, prepare his meals, spend all her free time (and some that isn’t) with him in the park and pawn her possessions to pay his vet bills. So demonstrating the courage for which he is justly famous, Wimsey throws himself on top of them and (after a brief nap) eats them.

Transformers 3: An exciting action flick just like Transformers 1 where we see interior decorating Hounds transform an entire living room suite into a pile of attractive swatches and the antique Persian rug into a toilet and Transformers 2 in which a team of fashion conscious Hounds transform winter gloves into golf gloves, pumps into peep toes and mules, trousers into shorts, shirts into vests, hats into headbands and panties into thongs. In this latest sequel the Hounds transform an expensively landscaped garden into a replica of the moon in order to help a child with a science project.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Hounds: Captain Wimsey Sparrow is appalled to learn that someone is impersonating him and even more appalled to learn that it is a Golden Retriever. The impersonation ultimately fails when it become apparent that the impersonator does not even know how to ransom a pair of Jimmy Choos for a sirloin steak and worse, drops things on command. Having foiled the impersonator Captain Wimsey heads off with his band of assorted horrible Hounds to find the Fountain of Youth. They succeed in finding it and instead of being terrorized by a band of horrible Hounds, the Caribbean is now terrorized by something much worse—a band of horrible Hound puppies.

Cars 2: Having enjoyed last year’s car trip to Michigan, star Hound, Lightening McWimsey, decides to try to encourage a sequel by surprising strangers by climbing into their cars.

Thor: Thor, a mighty but arrogant warrior with a kick ass body that is displayed pleasingly and to great advantage, is cast out of the kingdom of Asgard by his father and sent to live among humans to learn humility. This doesn’t work because the planet has women and also because he is quickly signed to do an Abercrombie and Fitch ad. Fortunately one of the ladies he meets has a Hound He returns home a changed and very humble and humiliated super hero. He brings a Hound with him but suggests to his father that they change the name of their fantastic realm to Assguard on account of the Hound’s goosing propensities.

Captain America: During a top secret World War II experiment, sickly Steve Rogers is transformed into the super powerful Captain America. He is called upon to hunt an evil Nazi agent, imaginatively named Johann Schmidt (John Smith). Rogers enlists the aid of Captain Wimsey and his super olfactory powers, but Wimsey is distracted by the smell of bratwurst and leads Rogers to Captain Klink instead. This enables many more exciting episodes and profitable sequels.

Super 8: A film about a group of high school students who make a movie that appears to be about extraterrestrial super powers but really turns out to be about a bloodhound, a basset hound, a beagle, a coonhound, a dachshund, a greyhound, a ridgeback and a fox hound. Hopes that they will all fly off in a spaceship and stop wrecking the town proves fruitless.

Cowboys and Aliens and Hounds: Aliens invade cowboy territory. Cowboys get rid of aliens. Hounds invade cowboy territory. Cowboys can’t get rid of Hounds.

Rise of the Hounds: A prequel to the horror movie, Planet of the Hounds which shows how the well intentioned introduction of just a few Hounds leads to humanity running around in ragged clothing, having empty refrigerators and being forced to sleep on the floor because Hounds occupied (or ate) the beds. Humans blame it on a retrovirus but the Hounds blame it on good breeding.

Hangover 2: Elizabeth has to spend another week with Wimsey. (Film sponsored by Tanqueray).

Well let’s see what else happened this week. Oh yes, I paid a visit to the New York Cat Hospital yesterday to see an old friend of ours, Dr. Julie Horton, who used to be a vet at the ASPCA. She scratched me behind the ears and palpated my abdomen. But as I was manifestly not a cat (however much I tried to pretend otherwise) and therefore not at the hospital in an official capacity I was spared the traditional veterinary finger up the bum. (I have fond memories of Dr. Horton’s attendance at Thanksgiving at Elizabeth’s—I climbed onto her whilst she was trying to drink a caipirinha causing much encouraging laughing and squealing and caipirinha flying owing to the fact that I am very big and she is very small).

I did have to be restrained, however, from trying to inhale a lounging cat who did not seem pleased to see me and when I tried to make my way into the ward to get to know the other cats better my humans decided it was time to leave. They were at least thankful that I did not bay, but that is a pleasure I reserve exclusively for the neighbor’s cat.

Well I think that is all for this week. I have been informed that I will be bathed yet again in the near future because I have somehow managed to reacquire a big stink in a short time. It might be a record. Probably all that roaching in the mud, dirt and grass but perhaps if my humans wouldn’t try to get me out of the park so much I wouldn’t roach so much. So it’s their fault. Most things are.

Until next time,

Wimsey, abducted by aliens and given special powers or just a Hound?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #224

Entry #224

August 12, 2011

Hello everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where I have been spending much of the summer lounging about in Central and Riverside Parks. Of course sometimes the lounging turns into sprawling and, much to the consternation of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth, I have a tendency to monopolize the paths. I find the cement makes an interesting alternative to the dirt for a much-needed bit of shuteye and has the additional advantage of being inconvenient to passing humans.

(This particular path is in the cool and leafy Ramble section of Central Park so the cement stays at a pleasant temperature for my napping pleasure).

And as I say, the rest was much needed as I have been under the weather lately. My medical tests show that I am suffering from a urinary tract infection and so I am being pumped full of antibiotics which fortunately come encased in rolls of turkey. I must say this result shocked my humans who have become accustomed to my ailments remaining medical mysteries—even a past anal gland infection involved an obscure organism that normal dogs don’t get. But then again I am not a normal dog. I pride myself on maintaining an inviolable air of medical mystery as evidenced by a set of medical records the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

But I digress. In spite of not feeling up to snuff it has been a pretty active week---make no mistake that an under the weather Hound is still a Hound; a pesky bacterium being no impediment to a pesky Hound. So lately I have been jonesing to visit to Elizabeth’s apartment—if you call it jonesing to drag Maria over to Elizabeth’s apartment every day like a guided missile and then turn into cement. I like to think of it as insisting. When Maria is working Elizabeth takes care of me during the day and now that Maria is out of work I am missing my second home. The fact that Elizabeth has a closet containing bully sticks, likes to cook me meals and can frequently be persuaded to spend an irresponsible amount of time in the park have absolutely nothing to do with it. Anyway I was supposed to spend a day with her so she could “assess” me medically. (I like assessments that include scrambled eggs and yams in my food bowl).

But as usual nothing involving me works out as planned and I rather turned into a Hound version of that old movie The Man Who Came to Dinner. I ended up spending the week. My overnight visits generally send Elizabeth into a state of sleep deprivation psychosis as she is a light sleeper and I am a noisy nocturnal Hound—loud ear flapping being an essential part of the nap repositioning process. But this time she broke out the Ambien and owing to the fine folks at Sanofi-Aventis actually managed to get some sleep. So although my nighttime antics did wake her she was able to fall back asleep instead of spending the night thinking of all the unpleasant things she would like to do to me. But then again she did have a nightmare that she came back to her apartment and there were three new bloodhounds and a litter of puppies in the bathroom.

Anyway I had a very good time and got to see lots of the staff of Elizabeth’s building. A third of them are terrified of me because they are afraid I will bite them (ludicrous), a third of them are terrified of me because they are afraid I will drool on them (likely) and a third of them think I am great in spite of the fact that I have large teeth and full flews. And speaking of these flews, there is nothing quite like the soothing sound of dripping drool to motivate a human to hasten the preparation of my dinner (Elizabeth puts my scrambled eggs in the freezer to make them cool faster while she attempts to clean up the mess. Apparently the consistency of the drool turns her kitchen into an ice rink).

That’s why it is a great advantage to feed me al fresco. Here I am with the remains of my favorite tuna sandwich at the Loeb Boathouse Cafe—the only mess to clean up is the container. But don’t let this picture fool you. I don’t consume tuna sandwiches from containers on the ground. I like them broken into nice pieces and hand fed to me. The only downside is that occasionally Elizabeth takes a bite which necessitates some corrective baying.

But I don’t always need to bay to call attention to the failings of my humans. For instance when I felt the temperature rise in Elizabeth’s apartment to a level inconsistent with my personal comfort I merely had to glare at her, stalk into the bathroom and lay down on the tiles to send her scurrying to activate the AC. And at 12:15 am when I needed to call her attention to the presence of my favorite neighbor in the hallway I merely had to engage in some vigorous air woofing by the door. My air woofing never ceases to delight my humans, (although not perhaps at 12:15am), as it makes a nice change from my vociferous baying and manipulative squeaking. But then I am a Hound of many vocal talents, all of them annoying.

Elizabeth and I also spent quite a bit of time in both Central and Riverside Parks, albeit at a leisurely pace commensurate with my invalid status. Here I am offering a suggestion to the lady in the Central Park information booth and receiving her grateful thanks in return. My humans frequently get asked for park directions from tourists and although they know the park very well they seldom have an adequate way of directing people. Suggestions such as:

Take a right at the big tree with the branch that looks like it’s going to fall on your head

Take a left at the rat eating the picnic leftovers

Take the second right at the guy in a toga painted green singing show tunes

Walk straight passed the mime who will attempt to incorporate you into his act

Take a left at the man lying on top of his girlfriend

Head straight past that large guy with the gang tattoos

are generally of doubtful utility. Of course if it is directions to any of the park’s restaurants or snack shops that are required my humans just sigh and tell the tourists to follow me. I am always headed that way.

But things closer to home were busy too. I got to pay a visit to the Boat Basin

Café (fortunately Riverside Park also has places for me to cadge food) and as usual I attempted to order Elizabeth a beer so I could play with the plastic cup afterwards. Sadly, Elizabeth did not feel in need of a beer at 10am (although she was probably in need of something stronger given all the time she was spending with me.) I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can order a beer from my brewery, Baying Hound Aleworks. There is a possibility that this may be happening sooner rather than later but rest assured that whenever Baying Hound beer arrives in my hometown I will be baying in bars and patrolling Times Square wearing a sandwich board with my face on it.

And speaking of sandwiches, the TV show Gossip Girl was filming down the street (I feel a strange affinity for TV shows that feature bratty and entitled characters) which necessitated repeated visits to their catering truck and some serious discussions with their crew about donating the goodies to an under nourished Hound such as myself. I didn’t get any food but I did get some scratching which I always find agreeable, especially from men who smell like food.

We also heard this week that our friend Mary Margaret has acquired a bloodhound puppy. Now this is astonishing, not only because she reads this blog but also because she’s actually met me! I still have fond memories of slobbering on her, baying at her and extorting belly rubs, food, water bottles and anything else I wanted from her during her all too brief visit to New York. But the puppy is female and sometimes lady bloodhounds, like their human counterparts, are a bit more mannerly and less inclined to be knuckleheads than we males. Remember I said sometimes.

And speaking of Hounds, this is Ruby (the woman) and my friend Marty (the basset). Ruby was walking Marty for her friend and had heard all about me. And she’s looked at this blog. Ruby is getting a dog of her own shortly—a doodle. My humans congratulated her on her choice.

So that was my week. I am back home now and Maria is again on Hound duty. Elizabeth is scrubbing her apartment and drinking gin.

Until next time,

Wimsey, Gossip Hound