Friday, December 28, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #289


Entry #289
December 28, 2012

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where tourists are in town for the New Year and New Yorkers are conspicuously out of town for the New Year. Except of course for my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who are not permitted to go anywhere where I am not welcome- which means that they are not permitted to go anywhere.  Not of course that I am not a well-behaved Hound, but I am a Hound with all the attendant behavioral hilarities that being a Hound entails. People who have Hounds know exactly what I am talking about and people who don’t have Hounds will just have to use their imaginations  (which in my experience seldom even begins to approach the reality).
But I do love having tourists in town—I get bored with the adulation from the usual gang of local admirers and love expanding the reach of my fame to newer climes. And I also provide an authentic New York experience to my city’s visitors—they have been told that 1) they may see celebrities in New York and 2) that New Yorkers are crazy and 3) that you can see absolutely anything in New York City.  So here I am—a celebrity canine attended by my human Maria who is crazy enough to want to live with me and Elizabeth who is crazy enough to want to take care of me during the day (more or less depending on how many of her nerves I am working and how much gin she has in her cupboard). And as Mont Python aptly observed, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, and no one expects to see a giant baying Hound stalking the streets of Manhattan either. But if it exists on the planet it probably can be found somewhere in New York City-even giant baying Hounds who choose to hunt food trucks at the American Museum of Natural History rather than small, juicy animals or lost humans.

And of course tourists are very generous—like the guy this Sunday at the Central Park Zoo who donated half his pizza to me to help me keep up my strength for a day’s arduous pulling.  I guess I just have one of those “let’s feed him” kind of faces. And the strings of drool hanging off of my flews don’t hurt either. (And if I’m chewing I’m not flinging).  We also met a lovely family from Texas who have a 6-month-old bloodhound puppy. They nearly fainted at the sight of my majestic proportions and plaintively appealed to Maria to assure them that theirs won’t grow to such an extent.  (It’s a female so probably not).

Then they enumerated the young Hound’s various antics (which included eating all the outdoor furniture) and they were all “she’ll grow out of it, right?” When Maria could breathe again after an attack of convulsive merriment, she informed them that in fact, no, bloodhounds don’t “grow out of it.”  In fact, we sort of grow into it—size and experience adding extra dimensions to our considerable powers of destruction. She did helpfully suggest however that walking us eight hours a day might cut down on the mayhem and that no, eight hours in a big yard doesn’t count. What can I say?  We are an old breed of dog whose fixation on following scent fed the ennobled masses in the Middle Ages and when deprived of this opportunity in Modern Times our thoughts and energies turn elsewhere with shocking results. The hunting and killing of human material possessions and property has become a time honored modern bloodhound task of which we are justifiably proud.
Maria’s two previous bloodhounds ate her apartment (as is so often the way of things the female one supplying the brains and the male one the brawn; her male apparently became the female’s obedient servant from the moment that she bit his testicles to get his attention.).  But fortunately with me the penny dropped and with Maria, aided and abetted by Elizabeth, a dog and outdoors loving former work colleague, I embarked on a life of perambulating over hill and dale and being out and about in the city to curb my destructive urges. This is not to say that these urges were extinguished entirely. I have my moments. Like the time I was being filmed for a documentary on urban dogs and the filmmaker wanted to interview Elizabeth in her apartment.  Incensed by the fact that camera was no longer focused on me I walked into frame and proceeded to chew up a table.
Anyway, we have finally been having a spot of cold weather which unfortunately means that my winter wardrobe has emerged from its hiding place in the closet.  I have had to wear my chartreuse fleece the past two days much to my annoyance--when zipped into it I feel like one of those sci fi characters whose bodies have been enveloped by an alien life form.  And I behave accordingly.  But I did get a chance to sniff the coat extensively last night and the experience was quite intoxicating—it smells deeply of a wonderful and fragrant canine, the kind of dog that I would enjoy getting to know and in whose company I would be proud to spend many pleasurable hours.  It was therefore not at all surprising when it was pointed out to me that the coat reeks of me.

And in addition to the cold what would the holiday season be without some new, exciting movies:

Wimsey’s Christmas Movies

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  All journeys are unexpected when taken in the company of Bilbo Baggy Hound, a rather small but hairy and resourceful Hound. You could for instance end up face first in a pool of mud searching for Gollum in Central Park; or else be taken on a tour of the The Magical Kingdom of the Pet Shop where all things are so easily attainable (Amex card not included); or visit The Enchanted Lake where a relaxing swim might take you to Gandalf or to ducks that might be him in disguise and you might receive a very expensive ticket issued by an Orc; or you might find yourself tracking Shadowfax on a high speed chase that ends in you standing ankle deep in manure; or you might traverse lands controlled by Fearsome Dog Trainers who threaten to modify Bilbo’s impeccable behavior using liver- enhanced brainwashing techniques and  will lecture you on either positive reinforcement or the need to be the pack leader. But wherever these unexpected journeys take you you will always end up on The Lonely Mountain (aka your apartment where no one ever visits on account of the stench, the drool and Bilbo’s love of sitting in laps).
Zero Dark Thirty: The bank balance, the financial outlook and the number of times per minute that a Navy SEAL with a Hound tells the dog to get his nose off the counter.  Also Bin Laden gets shot.

Django Uncrated: When his humans forget to put their Hound Django in his crate they return home to find that their house now has an open floor plan, new ventilation to the outdoors and very little else.

Life of Pie: A very short film about a very large Hound and a very unattended dessert left on the counter to cool.
Jack Reacher:  The hair-raising adventures of an anomalously clever Hound named Jack who learns to use a stepladder.

Les Misérables: The human version: a film about people with Hounds; the Hound version: a film about people without Hounds.

Playing for Keeps:  Four Hounds, one pot roast and a hapless human armed with liver treats compete on a dog training game show.

Well you get the idea.  And it is inescapable that once again the New Year is upon us and it is the traditional season for reflection and resolutions.  Even the US government has gotten into the act--it lists the top New Year’s resolutions on its web site (my humans’ tax dollars at work!).  Let’s see how my humans faired:

Wimsey’s Analysis of Common New Year’s Resolutions

1.  Drink less alcohol: Nope, not really possible with me around. Especially not after an afternoon spent with me and my new, dual squeaker (one high pitched, one low pitched, both loud) Giant Hedgehog.  It’s kind of my job to make sure that my humans need to drink more alcohol not less.
2 Eat healthy food: It would be a good idea except that I require a regular supply of Dean’s pizza with extra cheese.  Also, Maria got a nice bottle of wine for Christmas and the ladies are going to drink it with a cheese selection that I have insisted will include Morbier, one of my favorite cheeses (the French heritage of we Wimseys is evidenced by our sophisticated cheese palate).

3.  Get a better job:  Better jobs require more hours at work and fewer hours with me, so once again, not happening.
4.  Get Fit:  So how much fitter do you have to get after getting dragged around by me for umpteen hours a day?

5.  Lose weight: My humans frequently wish they could lose about 130 lbs. of weight but at the end of the day I am just too cute.

6. Manage Debt: Did I mention that Maria is still paying off my surgery from 18 months ago? Managing debt with a money pit Hound is a lot easier said than done.
7.  Manage stress:  OK, I am done laughing now.   My humans do manage stress (see resolution #1).  They also would be less stressed if they lost those 130 lbs.

8.  Recycle: My humans would have to let me hunt down and precycle even more plastic water bottles in Central Park—even the ones that people are still drinking from.  But having a Hound around is conducive to recycling since we like to recycle your possessions into our toys.

9.  Save money: This would entail a generous grant from my vet who is unfortunately in the business of acquiring generous grants from his patients.

10.  Take a trip: Certainly, as stated before my humans are permitted to go anywhere that I am welcome—such as to their apartments or to Central and Riverside Parks.

11.  Help others:  I encourage my humans to do this by spending all their free time and much that isn’t by walking around with me and letting me cheer people up by baying at them, poking them and drooling on them. 

There was also a quit smoking resolution, but I omitted this since neither of my humans smoke—it would be bad for my health.

Anyhow, I wish you all a Happy New Year and look forward to being a better Hound in 2013. (My humans are afraid of that).

Until next time,
Wimsey, a Hound of many resolutions

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #288

Entry #288
December 21, 2012

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan which still exists owing to the fact that the world neglected to terminate itself today. Of course it is possible that the world did terminate itself today and that no one on the
Upper West Side noticed. Its residents are too busy battling each other at Fairway, Citarella and Zabars collecting delicious Christmas comestibles. My human Maria went to Zabars today to join the fray and her friend (my auxiliary human) Elizabeth spent quite a bit of time in Citarella yesterday. 

This latter visit turned out to be unexpectedly productive when Elizabeth informed her fish guy Steve (who is really one of my great admirers despite his propensity to refer to me as a horse) that I was a tad fond of salmon (I have been known to mow down humans in an attempt to reach a bowl with salmon in it).  As a result of this cozy piscine chat I have been promised my very own, personal salmon head.  My humans will not be permitted to consume any part of this delectable treat—it is all for me! (“All for me” being one of the most beautiful phrases in the English language).

Anyway, my humans have been debating the best way to prepare my salmon head when it finally arrives.  I myself was thinking Poached Fish Head Bordelaise aux Truffes.  And I have already located the truffes—this is our local truffle store (doesn’t every neighborhood have a local truffle store?).  While its 59th Street location makes it a bit too far south to be technically on the Upper West Side it is within easy towing distance. I was very eager to get to know these truffles better but was cruelly thwarted in my attempt. My humans’ credit cards are still reeling from my last visit to vet (a spot of pricey ear gunk and eye gunk) and the thought of me loose in a truffle shop was enough to make Elizabeth keep a death grip on her American Express Card.  Nevertheless, in addition to my keen hunting abilities that enable me to locate discarded food, horse poop (at least my humans hope it is horse poop) and plastic water bottles I can now add my ability to find exorbitantly expensive fungi.

But it has been a very busy week around here overall.  On Sunday another attempt was made to photograph me in my seasonal headgear but the enterprise was fortunately once again completely rained out. And as a bonus I managed to cover myself in mud which is always a desirable state of affairs. At least for me.  I also managed to consume 12 cups of kibble (I free feed) which meant that for the next 48 hours my humans ran around with giant reinforced baggies to collect the results.

It’s also been a very successful week in my ongoing struggle to send Elizabeth (who takes care of me during the day) to the mental health clinic or to the neighborhood bar.  Part of the problem was her insistence that I pose in my antlers and elf hat---by the way wouldn’t this make a splendid Christmas picture if only we knew this guy?  His wife was taking the picture as my photo shoots tend to attract quite a bit of attention—especially the ones where I try to eat the antlers. Anyway, a week of Elizabeth trying to get some acceptable antler and hat shots put me in a rather rambunctious and demanding mood—principally this took the form of constantly insisting that Elizabeth feed me my new cheesy snacks of which I am inordinately fond (in addition to my usual photographic fee of fistfuls of turkey).  I also required that my walks be a minimum of two hours long each day—although getting me out of the park after only two hours entailed feats of strength worthy of Festivus.

And I once again managed to crash a bride’s wedding video—she was entering Central Park in full bridal regalia at the park entrance closest to the lakeside Ladies Pavilion that is a popular spot for weddings. This also happens to be the park entrance closest to the pedicabs which is a popular spot for me getting loud.   Where there are pedicabs there are pedicab drivers and where there are pedicab drivers there is me greeting them with my customary acoustic robustness. And addition to providing a unique sound track to the bride’s wedding video, the bride will also be able to visually admire me for many years to come towing Elizabeth in her direction in the background.  Now no event in New York would be complete without comments from the peanut gallery and in addition to my own modest contribution a bystander commented (above the din) “Wow! People are still getting married. What a leap of faith!” in the manner of someone just itching to provide the bride with the name of a good divorce attorney. A true New York moment.

But before I wholly leave the subject of the antler pictures, here is one of my favorites.  The baying just somehow negates the whole reindeer effect, doesn’t it? Everyone would certainly know that Santa was in the house (or at least that his reindeer was on the roof). In any case, all the obnoxious photographic activity this week induced a major attack of the “wherever you want to go I want to go somewhere elses” that my humans find so endearing.

Anyhow, I put on a masterful display of bloodhound nose prowess this week as well.  I took off cross country in a very determined fashion during Wednesday’s extended park perambulation causing the trailing Elizabeth to wonder if her friend Nancy was in the park with her new baby.  Nancy may have been in the park with her new baby but so was a large mound of horse poop, into which I dove face first.  In between the “I hate you’s” and the dragging me out of the mound of horse poop Elizabeth had to admit that this was an amazing example of my prodigious olfactory abilities.  What can I say—some use their powers for good and others use our powers for personal gain.  And the personal gain that goes in must come out.  In the case of horse poop it inevitably comes out as a mess of manure smelling mush.  Not my problem.

Then on Thursday I took off cross country again but this time I towed Elizabeth out of the 81st Street entrance to the park and over to Broadway.  I had picked up the wafting scent of the Snack Dispending Jewelry Lady—one of my favorite neighborhood characters (apart from salmon head Steve, my new BFF).  Jewelry Lady sets up her table periodically and when she does it is well worth a nice, loud visit (even when she is not there her scent lingers and I usually refuse to move from the spot on the theory that the scent must eventually produce the human—an offshoot of the theory of spontaneous generation).  So I carried on as usual (she had to wipe the drool off of her car when I left) and as is my custom, I spat out the treats that she offered until I ascertained that no better ones were forthcoming.  Then I consumed fistfuls of the available ones much to her delight.  I love the joy she conveys when she watches me eat.  I want to go to her house for the holidays.

Finally, yesterday I put on my elf hat and delivered some gifts (other than my pricey gunky eyes, gunky ears and anal glands) to the vet’s office.  I gave them a selection of fine chocolates from our neighborhood Jacques Torres store.  I am not permitted to eat chocolate but my human Maria is a connoisseur and she assured Elizabeth and I that they were very tasty. Elizabeth is not a connoisseur of anything edible, liquids being more in her line, but that’s probably because she spends too much time with me. 

Well Christmas is a very festive season and nowhere more so than in New York City—the sights (me in my green velvet ruff with bells), the smells (my splendid Houndy odor) and of course the Sounds (the sound of me baying because I want to pee on the Christmas trees).  But let us look in on Dick and Jane and see what kind of Christmas they are having:

Dick and Jane’s Christmas

See Dick.  See Jane. See Dick’s Christmas tree.  Dick’s Christmas tree is very pretty. Dick’s Christmas tree is decorated with many candy canes. Dick and Jane like candy canes.  Here comes Dick’s Hound. Dick’s Hound also likes candy canes.  See Dick’s Hound eat all the candy canes. “Oh no!” says Dick. “Oh no,” says Jane.  See Dick’s Hound get sick all over the carpet from eating the candy canes.

See all the presents under the tree.  Red boxes and blue boxes and green boxes! Dick wonders what is in the boxes. Jane wonders what is in the boxes.  Dick and Jane will have to wait until Christmas to find out what is in the boxes. Dick’s Hound also wonders what is in the boxes.  Dick’s Hound will not have to wait until Christmas to find out what is in the boxes.

See the Christmas antlers.  See Dick put the Christmas antlers on his Hound’s head. See Dick’s Hound eat the Christmas antlers that Dick has put on his Hound’s head.
See Dick’s Hound get sick all over the carpet from eating the antlers that Dick has put on his Hound’s head.

See Dick’s Christmas tree. Dick’s Christmas tree is very beautiful. Dick’s Christmas tree has many branches.  Dick likes to look at these branches. Jane likes to look at these branches. Dick’s Hound also likes these branches. But not to look at them. Now Dick’s Christmas tree does not have many branches.

See the puddle. See the puddle under Dick’s Christmas tree. See the yellow puddle under Dick’s Christmas tree.  See Dick’s Hound drink water.  See Dick’s Hound drink a lot of water.  Eating candy canes, antlers, presents and branches is dehydrating.

See Dick. See Jane. “There is no Christmas,” says Dick. “There is no Christmas,” says Jane. See Dick’s father. Dick’s father says, “Christmas is about peace and love and friends and family. Christmas is not about candy canes. Christmas is not about presents. Christmas is not about a tree.
See Dick and Jane cry.

The End

Well I think with that moving story I will leave you.  The world did not end on December 21st but it is Thomas Beckett’s birthday.   Tom Beckett is a very relevant guy around here because Elizabeth frequently calls Maria and says, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent Hound!” By which she means “your Hound is driving me crazy, come get him immediately!” When Elizabeth starts quoting Henry II things are very serious indeed and Maria remembers that it didn’t end too well for Thomas Beckett.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and an intact Christmas tree.

Until next time,

Wimsey, Santa’s most uncooperative elf

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #287

Entry #287
December 14, 2012

Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey coming to you at long last from my accustomed perch on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I have been dispensing my usual holiday cheer to all and sundry—usually with a quick shake of my head to deliver some special Christmas drool. My blogging schedule can tend to get a bit erratic during the holidays with all the activities in which I am called upon to participate—like annoying the merchants and serenading the crowd at the Columbus Circle Christmas Fair or for helping to host small, square canines like my friend Pluto here. 

We may look very different but I can assure that our hearts beat as one when it comes to such crucial things as getting our own way or inducing our humans to consume copious quantities of cocktails.  My human Maria thinks Pluto is very cute but that is because it is her friend Elizabeth who actually had the care of him for a week of snorty good fun (at least for him). And of course both of us were together at Elizabeth’s where I am cared for during the day when my human Maria deserts me for her office.  I think she should have her office in her apartment like Elizabeth so she can enjoy all the benefits of having me around when she is trying to work—like having to stay up late because she blew the afternoon perambulating in the park with me or being forced to take frequent and often involuntary Hound scratching breaks or to anticipating the exciting auditory effects that I can bring to a conference call or never having to use the paper shredder.
But I digress.  Like any good host I wanted to show Pluto a good time—principally this involved dragging the humans around for an unconscionable amount of time in the park and disporting ourselves in such a way as to require complicated leash choreographies.  The ladies looked like they were doing some demented square dance much to the amusement of canines and passing pedestrians.  I also introduced Pluto to my pedicab buddies--they can actually pet him without bending over at the waist and reaching out the length of their arms in an attempt (usually futile) to avoid contact with my drooly muzzle.  Somehow the sight of humans doing this just demands a quick drool fling in their direction. 

And the sight of Elizabeth with Pluto was a cause of great confusion amongst her building’s staff and her neighbors (who frankly never seem to understand why I am resident sometimes but not others or to realize that Elizabeth is merely my auxiliary human not my primary one).  People wanted to know if I was dead (!) and if Pluto was her new dog.  Maybe it’s just me, but somehow a human with a 130 lb. bloodhound choosing a 25lb. French bulldog as a replacement seems a bit unlikely. Downsizing to a basset hound or a beagle would seem a much more sensible scenario but then again considering that people often mistake Pluto for an English Bulldog and me for a Bull Mastiff I guess I should not be surprised.

But we do look very cute together.  So much so that Pluto’s grandmother thinks that our pictures should be used in advertisements.  But what could we advertise?
Potential Advertising Contracts for Wimsey and Pluto

Budweiser: This Bud’s for you (it’s the only thing in your house that is)

Bombay Sapphire: Pour something priceless (to replace the rug)

KFC: Finger lickin’ good (also face lickin good, plate lickin good, garbage bag lickin good…)

Subway: Eat fresh (but eat fast, we’re quick)

Burger King: Have it your way (not)

Obsession: Between love and madness lies obsession (between love and madness lies us; or maybe just madness)

Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes: They’re GRRREAT (they were great and so was the box)

Pizza Hut: Now you’re eating (now we’re eating and you can’t catch us)

Honda: The Power of Dreams (the power of dreams like getting to sleep in the middle of the bed instead of at the edge)

Snickers: Don’t let hunger happen to you (we never do)

Ford: Everything we do is driven by you (It’s all your fault--you should have trained us better)

Audi: Never follow (always tow)

Crest: look Ma, no cavities (no toothpaste either. We like mint).

Folger’s: The best part of waking up is Folger’s in your cup (and us snoring in your ear).

Life Cereal: Life is full of surprises (like the ones we leave on the carpet)

Well you get the idea.  Anyway, on Sunday I took Pluto along on an endless, rainy tow around Central Park.  Elizabeth was carrying a bag full of my seasonal headgear—antlers, elf hats and the like-- in hopes of getting some Traditional Let’s Pay Wimsey Back for a Year of Aggravation pictures but sadly she did not get any pictures because she didn’t want the stuff to get wet.  Also pictures of wet, muddy, cheesed off dogs in the pouring rain doesn’t exactly say Christmas, does it?  So for those of you who are wondering why there are no pictures of me in antlers and elf hats stay tuned.  Rumor has it that the bag will make a reappearance this Sunday. 

But I have been paraded about in my seasonal ruff this week--a green velvet number with bells—which has proven quite popular with the crowds—that is when they get over their shock and awe at seeing a giant Hound hunting horse poop in Central Park.  A French lady who was thrilled to meet me fingered my pointy head and informed Elizabeth that her grandfather, who raises hunting dogs, maintained that the dogs with the pointiest heads were the best hunters.  I am a fine example of this concept (although my humans have other things that they attribute to pointy heads) although in my case I specialize in hunting things that no one wants me to hunt: horse poop, raccoon poop, miscellaneous poop, discarded food, bread left out for the birds, discarded plastic water bottles, non-discarded plastic water bottles, people eating food, people carrying food, people serving food, small, terrified dogs, large, terrified humans, the neighbor’s cat and of course anything left unattended that  strikes my fancy (which does not include the mice that sometimes invade my apartment; I like their company).
Anyway, before I leave you, it occurs to me that the world is supposed to end next week.  If this is the case, there will be no blog post on Friday. Personally, I think my humans should take this seriously and consider all the things they could do for me this week just in case.  Like making a bonfire of my seasonal antlers and hat collection.

Today is Nostradamus’ birthday by the way so apocalyptic things are very much on my mind. It is a little known fact that we Hounds have extraordinarily psychic abilities:
Wimsey’s Predictions for 2013

My humans will have no money

My vet will have a lot of money

People will point out to my humans that I am large

People will point out to my humans that I am cute

People will point out to my humans that I am loud

People will point out to my humans that I smell

My humans will point out to people that they too have noticed these things

Someone will want a bloodhound
My humans will tell someone who wants a bloodhound not to get a bloodhound

The someone who wants a bloodhound will get a bloodhound and tell my humans about all the bad things it did

I will eat something that I am not supposed to

My humans will clean up the mess that occurs when I eat something that I am not supposed to

Maria’s hamstring will hurt

Elizabeth will visit an orthopedic doctor

The doctor will tell her that a dog did not cause that injury

Elizabeth will assure the doctor that a dog did cause that injury

I will attempt to enter the neighbor’s apartment through the cat flap

I will not be able to enter the neighbor’s apartment through the cat flap

I will decide to sleep the wide way on the bed

Maria will decide to sleep the long way on the couch
I will drag Elizabeth to The Lake in Central Park to visit the ducks

I will try to drag Elizabeth into the Lake in Central Park to visit the ducks

Elizabeth will yell at me

I won’t care that Elizabeth is yelling at me

Sales of Tanqueray will rise

Nostradamus isn’t the only one who could see the future.  Anyway, I think I will leave it there for this week (unless of course the world ends next Friday and then I will be leaving it there on a more permanent basis).

Until next time (hopefully)

Wimsey, Psychic.