Friday, September 30, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #231

Entry #231

September 30, 2011

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where we have been having a strange reprise of summer, albeit of a gray and exceedingly humid kind. This has not sat well with my human Maria, her friend Elizabeth nor with me as we were all looking forward to some crisp autumn weather. So it has pretty much been a quiet week—it’s hard to build up a head of steam when your humans are dripping sweat on you and the skies are perpetually threating to dump even more moisture upon your person.

I have been towing down to the lake to cool off on a regular basis but have been precluded from another dip owing to the thick layer of green slime that has accumulated on the lake’s surface. And whereas I think a layer of green slime would enhance the beauty of my coat my humans think otherwise—so much for me trying to be green and organic.

And on the subject of the weather, as many of you know I am a rather inconsistent and idiosyncratic Hound and like to keep my humans guessing as to my reactions to everything from different foods to climactic conditions. So whereas in the past I have not been a big fan of heavy rain nor of thunderstorms—the latter generally inducing a need to return home so urgent in nature that the services of a gentle leader are required to keep my humans upright—this week I decided that I couldn’t care less.

Of course the fact that the thunderstorm in question occurred just as we were exiting (or trying to exit in the case of my humans) the park had absolutely nothing to do with it. It turns out that my humans were actually hoping for the storm to hit with the expectation that it would trigger the customary Wimsey Gallop for Home Sweepstakes. Dangerous yes, but also speedy. They would be a bit wet but at least they would be spared my customary dilatory park-leaving behavior and the ensuing pleading, food dangling and dragging needed to get me home.

But somehow this week the deluge of rain felt quite refreshing and the lightening and thunder were of no particular concern. Especially when there was the entertaining spectacle of watching the rain diffuse up Maria’s pant leg (physical phenomena that inconvenience my humans being one of my abiding interests) and of Elizabeth getting soaked from the inside with the effort of trying to get me to move with a bit more celerity. And then there was the pleasure of observing my humans’ total shock at watching me move with mincing Chihuahua steps as if it were a sunny day in May whilst thunder clapped and lightning bolted and I did not. That will certainly teach them not to be so complacent about predicting my behavior. When it comes to me, you never know. And if you did know you wouldn’t want to.

And of course when we finally got home I received a lovely towel massage and nice meal only after which could Maria don some dry apparel. I’ve said it many times and in many ways, but I love being me. My humans not so much.

And speaking of complacency, somehow whenever I insist on visiting the pedicabs my humans forget that some of the bikes have water bottles on them and just when it looks like I am merely about to sniff a pedicab seat, wham! --I’ve got the bottle in my mouth or very nearly so. How embarrassing for them. Such a shame that they don’t have better control of their animal.

Which makes me think that people really should be better informed when it comes to Hounds. Perhaps there should be one of those Dummy books:

Hounds for Dummies

(Personally, I think the title is redundant—people who have Hounds or are interested in obtaining them are by definition Dummies)

An exciting new offering from the Wimsey Publishing Company covering many important aspects of life with Hounds including:

Why Get a Hound:

- You’re bored. Really, really really bored.

-You are independently wealthy and have unlimited funds to keep replacing the same possessions your Hound keeps destroying.

-You are a masochist and your therapist thinks that letting a Hound ruin your life is preferable to having a human do it.

What to do about stealing:

Put away and lock up all your food and possessions so at least the Hound will have to work to figure out how to get to them in order to destroy them. Remember the Hound needs a job.

What to do about destructive behavior:

Learn to love minimal minimalism—no couch, no bed, no chairs, etc. You may not have any furniture but at least you won’t have to worry about bedbugs.

What to do about bed shoving:

Get a king sized bed and learn to sleep on the floor—it’s better for your back anyway.

What to do about the smell:

Nothing. After a while you won’t notice it. Unfortunately your friends will but it will get you out of hosting dinner parties and having visitors and houseguests.

(NB: Frequent bathing is of limited utility —bathing is a lot of work for the 48 hours of stench reduction baths typically engender.)

What to do about the drool:

-Hang a frame around the drool stains on the wall and tell people you are collecting abstract expressionist art.

-Take up house painting as a hobby

- Wear clothing with a high plastic or rubber content

-Buy a dry cleaning store

What to do about the pulling:

Get in better shape so you can keep up (and upright)

What to do about not having a life:

Remind yourself that you do have a life. It just belongs to your Hound.

Well anyway, on our Sunday walk I did swing by the Metropolitan Museum of Art—always a favorite stop, as it is redolent of the snack carts thereabouts and humans who smell of the snack carts thereabouts. And we generally meet a lot of people who are astonished to see a canine they associate with the backwoods of rural America strolling casually down Fifth Avenue posing for pictures and cadging snacks.

And while not technically cadging, I did terrorize one little Chinese lady who was foolish and inattentive enough to dangle her sandwich in my presence as she passed us. Dangling sandwiches and large Hounds are not a good combination (“if it’s dangling it’s mine”) and I think that my yanking in her direction and my stalking her and staring at her perhaps caused her to think that it was more her I was after rather than her sandwich. The abject fear on her face was a dead giveaway. My humans do try to prevent these pedestrian terrorizing activities but they are never a match for a Hound cum sandwich-seeking missile such as myself.

But I also like going to the museum because it makes me think of The Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art ( ) that houses my improved versions of some of the world’s most illustrious art works. It turns out that depending on how you Google search some of the these art works, you are directed to my handiwork which always makes me wonder how many people think that George Washington had a Hound in the prow of his boat when he crossed the Delaware or that there was a Hound trying to steal the Blue Boy’s hat.

Anyway, even though the weather wasn’t very good this week there were still plenty of people out and about, including a crew filming something that required a snack table in which I became extremely interested. (And my humans became extremely interested in getting me not to be extremely interested).

And there were the usual assortment of couples having their wedding pictures taken amid the arboreal splendor of Central Park. Now I am also always extremely interested in these wedding pictures —large swathes of swishy fabric offer some enticing possibilities for a textile-loving Hound such as myself. But my humans conscientiously strive to prevent me from being within drool flinging range of the bride and also from appearing as a conspicuous background feature in their pictures.

So imagine my surprise when, whilst hanging out on a park bench contentedly dripping drool on my human, one of these photographers approached us and explained that the bride and groom would like to be photographed with me! A very handsome and elegant couple they were too and obviously in possession of impeccable taste. Sadly I don’t have any photos of the photo shoot as my humans were too preoccupied with making sure the bride’s dress stayed white to take any photos themselves, but we’re hoping they will send us one that we can share.

And finally to wrap up, a couple we met at the Baying Hound Aleworks party in May passed through New York and I had an opportunity to take them for a walk in Central Park today. It was a splendid day in spite of only bagging one water bottle (in addition to the one they brought for me as a gift) and finding only one tennis ball that I attempted to consume. We visited Le Pain Quotidien where I obligingly bayed at the people trying to eat, tried to visit the Boat House CafĂ© for a tuna sandwich and rounded out the walk by pooping in a prickly bit of vegetation. Here we all are in front of the lake at Bethesda Fountain where I had to be persuaded to face the camera and not to attempt another aquatic foray.Well I think that is going to be it for this week. I’m looking forward to the cool weather that is moving in as Elizabeth has some new outerwear that needs Houndizing.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a Hound for Dummies

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #230

Entry #230

September 23, 2011

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from the currently dreary Upper West Side of Manhattan where we’re experiencing a plethora of rain and my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth are experiencing a plethora of rain resistance. Now don’t misunderstand me, I like to drag my humans out in a fine scent-enhancing mist or a gentle rain as much as the next Hound, but the sensation that Mother Nature is wielding a giant shower attachment over my head is a non-starter.

Well it’s been a pretty quiet week around here, although Elizabeth did wear her fancy new cardigan (aren’t “fancy” and “cardigan” oxymoronic?) on our Sunday walk which enabled me to break it in by sitting on it. New garments are always more attractive when they smell like tush, which reminded my humans why they don’t usually wear fancy new cardigans in my presence. But Elizabeth can take comfort in the fact that the odor is probably only discernible to other canines. Or at least she hopes.

And I did attend the Columbus Avenue Street Fair where I undertook my usual meeting and greeting of humans and dogs and was recognized by several of my fans.

Everyone enjoyed the fact that it took both my humans strength to prevent me from making off with a dancing stuffed toy that was being hawked that looked to me very much like a slow squirrel. Somehow I don’t think that having a giant Hound pounce and kill the little critter and then parade around with it in his jaws would have been a boon to sales.

Then after that exhausting workout there was talk of buying me a sausage sandwich to assuage my disappointment over the toy and over the fact that there were no actual turkeys at the turkey farm booth. But my humans were worried about the potentially lively gastric consequences of greasy hunks of Italian sausage as well as the fear that that residual canine-toxic onions would result in further vet bills. So in the end it was decided (largely by me) that a visit to Grom Gelato was in order. And as usual I entertained the Grom staff (as well as passersby and people living in the apartments above the shop) with some vocalizations of an extremely vigorous nature. I reserve my very best for impending gelato feedings. Very tasty it was too.

Grom gelato’s motto is “Il gelato come una volta” which I was always hoping meant “gelato like a shock” (kind of like me) but it really means “gelato like it used to be.” This too is highly appropriate because I am a Hound like Hounds used to be—like before we were expected to listen to obedience commands and take regular baths. Now things the way they used to be puts me in mind of this week’s controversy about particles being able to travel faster than the speed of light. What does this mean (apart from a lot of time wasted studying Einstein in physics class)? It means that if it is true maybe there are a lot of other things that physicists were wrong about—like time travel.

So, if time travel were possible perhaps one day New York might receive a visit from a couple medieval knights like Simon de Montfort and his little known BFF Sieur Hughes de Baskerville:

Montfort: Zounds! I knew we shouldn’t have had that drink with that traveling wizard!

Baskerville: I don’t think he said he was a wizard exactly. Didn’t he say he was a physicist?

Montfort: Same difference-- you know those guys always have their heads in a book and talk about stuff no one understands. And they always write gobbledygook that involves squiggly symbols. And of course they’re hopeless with the ladies—I mean poor Merlin even got imprisoned in a tree because his efforts were so lame. Anyway where are we do you think?

Baskerville: Well judging by some of the clothes I’ve seen the ladies here wearing, I’d say in heaven?

Montfort: I’m a medieval knight so heaven would be a rather unexpected development, all things considered. But still, I see your point. The men look pretty odd too. I mean their legs are all covered up but the women’s aren’t. Not that I am complaining mind you, but that baggy covering is not a very masculine look. Nothing says manly to the fairer sex like a finely turned muscular calf encased in red felt. Perhaps the fact that women are displaying their legs like men means that they’ve taken over and these guys are all their eunuchs!

Baskerville: Hmm. I guess heaven would have a catch then. But no one seems to be paying any attention to us at all.

Montfort: Well that guy over there did ask if we could spare a quarter.

Baskerville: True, but then I didn’t want to find out a quarter of what. Or whom. Anyway, I think we are in a magical kingdom—look at all these conveyances going by with no animals pulling them!

Montfort: Be careful of the yellow ones. Their purpose seems to be to try to crash into the others and knock over the kingdom’s inhabitants. I recognize combat when I see it even if the weapons the yellow knights are using is different! They are clearly on a mission of conquest.

Baskerville: Well let’s try to find out what lord they serve and whose kingdom this is. You, good Sir! Pray tell us in whose kingdom we find ourselves?

New Yorker: This isn’t a kingdom. It’s New York City--although it’s filled with a lot of people who think they’re kings. And queens.

Baskerville: Well who is your ruler then?

New Yorker: You mean Mayor Bloomberg?

Baskerville: Yes! Where does this Sieur de Bloomberg live?

New Yorker: Well mostly in Bermuda. But you might find him across the park on East 79th Street.

Baskerville: Thank you good Sir. We will make our way forthwith to the Sieur de Bloomberg’s castle.

New Yorker: Well obviously you’ve seen the place. You’ll feel right at home.

Montfort: Let us travel east across this expanse of meadowed parkland. At least we will be safe from the yellow knights.

Baskerville: Yes, and the women seem to wear even less here! They all seem to be running away from something in very scanty under garments—perhaps there is some evil dragon that rules these parts and has a taste for unclad females.

Montfort: We all have a taste for unclad females. Except perhaps the “men” here who seem to be paying no attention at all. I am sure they must be eunuchs.

Baskerville: What’s that I hear! I hear something I recognize! It’s a Hound. And it must be a very large one by the sound of it!

Montfort: But look over there! There are two inhabitants who appear to be female but who are totally clothed in the baggy clothing like the men wear. And one of them is attached to a bloodhound by some type of long string! He even looks like King Henry’s Hound, Voyou!

Baskerville: You mean the one that ate your bliaut? Well, clearly these are the Sieur de Bloomberg’s masters of hunt! That’s why they are dressed in that special way.

Montfort: So let’s recap-- we are in a kingdom where women run around basically naked, men go about totally clothed paying no attention to them, conveyances move by magic with no horses or oxen, yellow knights battle for control of the roads, inhabitants pay no attention to medieval knights in their midst, people have no odor but the air does, things fly through the sky and yet they still have bloodhounds!

Baskerville: Thank God for that! I’m starving. The way he’s carrying on he must be on the trail of a juicy boar!

Or Grom Gelato.

Well you get the idea. I find it gratifying that if you plunked people from the past down in New York City I would be about the only thing they would recognize. But as long as we are thinking about things medieval, this week I once again attempted—with a bit better success—to turn Elizabeth into the Lady of the Lake.

It’s a good thing that my leash is nice and long. And although Arthurian legend makes no mention of a Hound of the Lake (can there be a Lady of the Lake without her having a Hound of the Lake?) here I am searching for Excalibur in the lake in Central Park. I mean everything else gets thrown in there so why not Excalibur? (If I find it my humans can save England from the Scots and make sure that Andy Murray never wins Wimbledon.)

Anyway, I think I will leave it there for this week. It’s time to go spread delectable wet Hound smell around my apartment. But before I forget—I do spend quite a considerable amount of time lamenting the periodic use of the heinous gentle leader. Well when it rains Maria uses it on me as she fears being swept off her feet by something other than a buff guy with a bouquet of flowers. And this evening some lady asked her if that thing on my nose keeps me from barking. And whilst Maria was thinking “if only” (although technically I don’t bark, I bay) I realized that the heinous gentle leader could actually be a whole lot more heinous! At least it only impedes my pulling (kind of) and not the frequent and vociferous exercise of my constitutional right to free speech.

And also before I leave you, for those of you who live in the Washington DC area or who are visiting, stop by my brewery tomorrow, Baying Hound Aleworks, for their first ever Oktoberfest celebration. Details and directions at Sadly I will not be attending, otherwise they would have had to rename it Wimseyfest.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a Hound like they ought to be

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #229

Entry #229

September 16, 2011

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from my increasingly delightful (and autumnal) abode on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I have had a very entertaining week that included getting and stealing several excellent presents, all richly deserved. But first let me say that whilst the advent of autumn is generally heralded by crisper temperatures and changing leaves, around here the season is on its way when my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth pore over the latest LL Bean catalog to assemble the season’s latest Hounding looks. The rest of the city might be caught up in New York Fashion Week busily debating the merits of Christian Dior and Christian Siriano while my ladies are busily debating the merits of Thinsulate and GORE-TEX.

Generally Hounding looks revolve around such iconic fashion themes as “farmer,” “ditch digger,” and “construction worker” with each item of clothing vying with the next to be the most shapeless, the most drool resistant and to have the most pockets (I have a lot of stuff that needs carrying and I refuse to have pockets spoil the line of my garments). Their prevailing fashion philosophy has been that the uglier and more unattractive the garment (Elizabeth’s boxy navy blue fleece lined hoodie comes to mind—a jacket of such superlative hideousness that even Maria managed to observe that it “did nothing for her.”) the less my humans will mind what it will look like after its been exposed to me.

So imagine my astonishment when Elizabeth’s LL Bean shipment arrived with a form-fitting Deluxe Hounding Toggle Cardigan (in an attractive blue color rather than the traditional, funereal black!), a red raincoat (!!!) and (most astonishing) a blue, fleece lined rain/shine coat that actually has a waist!!!! What’s next, I asked myself, abandoning me and actually going out on a date?

Of course a few weeks ago when she was out with me some man did ask Maria for her phone number but she decided that going out with a guy who is attracted to a woman who is basically wearing two sacks, whose hair is sticking up and whose face is devoid of any makeup-- not to mention the fact that she is also walking around with a really large, smelly dog that is dripping saliva-- is probably not a good basis for a relationship. But anyway, my shock at Elizabeth’s appearance today in the Deluxe Hounding Toggle Cardigan was quickly mitigated by my joy at her shrieks of dismay when I deposited a large quantity of drool along its sleeve. One abandons a sound fashion philosophy at one’s peril.

Elizabeth is now reconsidering her idea of wearing some new corduroy pants to walk me as I have taken to sitting in her lap quite a bit-- especially after a good roaching session. On the way home from one of our walks my humans noticed this revolting swampy smell which at first they thought (like most disgusting smells) was emanating from me. Well, it was me until I managed to transfer the scent to Elizabeth’s trousers. She was then forced to hustle them into the laundry post-haste hoping that none of the neighbors in the laundry room noticed the smell. Hence my new nickname-- The Swamp Thing.

But I digress. Let’s see, the week got off to an exciting start owing to a lovely visit with my friends at the 77the Street pedicab station. As those of you who read this blog know, I like to stop by for regular visits and have become quite enamored of these vehicles and the attentions of their drivers—there is nothing like furious, loud baying to attract pedicab customers. This week, however, I decided to hop aboard and see what it was like for myself. Unfortunately most of the pedicabs do not have seats that are deep enough to accommodate the generous Wimsey posterior so I confined myself to standing, but I did notice one cab with a deep seat so stay tuned! I am also starting to ingratiate myself with the 72nd Street pedicab drivers so one day I am hoping to hitch a ride with one of these sturdy humans as well.

And on the way home from Sunday’s walk, I as usual, tried to do some shopping at the local flea market. I am apparently not permitted, which is a great shame, as there is also a food section that I would very much like to investigate. And since I forcibly have that Vectra stuff put on my skin once a month I am impervious to any fleas, marketed or otherwise. But we did stop off at the pet store around the corner from my apartment-- where I am permitted as the staff finds me entertaining and acqui$itive—in order for Maria to buy a bag of Mother Hubbard large sized cookies. You will recall that a few weeks ago one of Elizabeth’s neighbors donated a bag of these to me (she has dachshunds!) and I have become so accustomed to having a large bone break during the course of my afternoon walk that my humans hated to deprive me when the supply ran out. Hence the new bag. Of course the fact that proffering a large bone shaped cookie is a sure fire way to take a break on a park bench and achieve a few moments peace is wholly beside the point.

Then there was the walk in which Elizabeth had the bright idea of stopping off at her favorite wine store on the way home from Central Park. The fact that to get to her favorite wine store you have to pass my favorite pet store seemed not to have occurred to her until she went flying over the threshold. What can I say? Like many New Yorkers I am a shopaholic. The fact that I don’t actually have to earn any of the money to shop only adds to the appeal of the activity which is further enhanced by the fact that my humans do. Anyway, there we all were dragging around the pet store when I espied a yellow sheep-- a must-have fall accessory in the Wimsey fashion pantheon.

Here I am inspecting some other merchandise when all of a sudden my sheep disappeared into a bag! Well this was insupportable! I simply had to have that sheep. Delayed gratification is another of those misguided concepts with which humans who are incapable of getting what they want delude themselves. Not so Hounds.

Anyway, the road to hell (or home) is paved with good intentions (like buying one’s Hound a coveted yellow sheep). Well I created quite a ruckus all the way home if I do say so myself—baying and prancing and charging and trying to shove my muzzle into the bag (Elizabeth had the bags of sheep and wine, Maria had me; both faced imminent danger of grievous bodily harm). Not to digress again, but apparently insurance company medical codes have gotten so specific that there are several codes that relate to being injured by a macaw. So I wonder if they have a code related to injuries incurred trying to defend a stuffed yellow sheep from the onslaught of a giant irate Hound?

But it all ended well—I finally obtained my sheep and that night whilst Maria attempted to sleep the sheep and I engaged in a prolonged, stimulating conversation. He is quite a talkative fellow when you squeeze him in the right spot.

This prompted my Tweeted nursery rhyme:

Wimsey had a squeaky sheep whose fleece was yellow as snow and everywhere that Wimsey went that f**!?%! loud sheep was sure to go.

And made me think that I could make some improvements in other nursery rhymes too.

Wimsey’s Book of Nursery Rhymes

Baa baa yellow sheep have you any stuffing

Yes Sir, yes sir three bags full

They’re all over the living room floor

Hope you have a Dyson.

Georgie Wimsie pudding and pie

Drooled on all the girls and made them cry

And when the boys came out to play

Georgie Wimsie slimed them too and proceeded to bay.

Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle

The cow jumped over the moon

The giant Hound laughed to see such fun

Then he chased the cat and ate the fiddle.

Hickory dickory dock

The mouse ran up the clock

The clock struck one

The mouse ran down

And the humans were indignant because the Hound did absolutely nothing-- he only likes to chase squirrels.

Itsy bitsy large Hound climbing up the couch

Down came the cushions and he was very scared

Out came his human and yelled at him

So up went the Hound again and ate the cushions.

Jack and Jill went up a hill to fetch a pail of water

A Hound shoved Jack down and Jill came tumbling after

Then the Hound had a refreshing drink.

Jack be nimble

Jack be quick

If you ever want to see your socks again

Jack Sprat could eat no fat

His wife could eat no lean

The Hound could eat both, so he did.

Little Jack Horner sat in the corner

Trying to eat his Christmas pie

He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum

And his Hound said “You gonna eat that?

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet1

Eating her curds and whey2

When along came a Hound

And sat down beside her

And frightened Miss Muffet when he began to bay. Curds and whey are his favorite.

1 an ottoman

2 cottage cheese

Old Mother Hubbard

Went to the cupboard

To get her kid a snack

When she got there

The cupboard was bare

And her Hound was washing his muzzle

Peter Peter pumpkin eater

Had a wife and couldn’t keep her

She told him it was her or his Hound.

Rain rain go away

Giant Wimsey wants to play

By dragging his humans through slippery mud until they fall down.

This little Wimsey went to market and stole the contents of someone’s shopping bag

This little Wimsey stayed home and ate the couch

This little Wimsey stole roast beef

This little Wimsey had none because he was still too full from the ham he had acquired

And this little Wimsey went wee wee wee all over the living room rug.

Well you get the idea. But still the gift giving continued this week! I met these ladies from Australia who were so charmed by me they gave me a water bottle so they could watch me chew it up. (I would have preferred a bra but no one ever seems to offer me one of those). And then yesterday we had some wet weather and the park was somewhat deserted and as I was investigating this large wet field I came across a fabulous prize!

A yellow rubber lacrosse ball (it matches my new sheep!) that someone had lost in the bushes. Well their loss was my gain and I started a lively game of auto soccer. Auto soccer is a game that doesn’t require any direct human participation other than admiring my skill in smacking the ball around and giving vigorous chase. But of course during the chase they must endeavor to stay upright and keep up with me whenever I make exciting runs down the field-- a fine addition to the Wimsey fitness program. And owing to my extreme enjoyment (augmented I may add by watching the leash holding human’s face turn white every time I began a spirited dash on a really wet section) Maria kept the ball so we can all play with it again, which I know my humans are really looking forward to.

And here I am acquiring a little more eau de swamp smell although I am guessing that Elizabeth will insist on giving me a good sniff before allowing me back on her lap.

Anyway, it’s been a very pleasant week and I am looking forward to fall (and its fashions!) when wet grass season is succeeded by slippery leaf season.

Until next time,

Wimsey, A Hound for all (slippery) seasons