Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #255

Entry #255

March 31, 2012

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from the Upper West Side of Manhattan where March seems to be going out like a very irate and very cold lion instead of the usual warm and cuddly lamb. Gone are the t-shirts of last week and back are the sweaters and long johns of our mostly absent winter. This has led to much grumbling on the part of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who cannot keep the seasons straight in their closets and always seem to be either too warm or too cold during our park perambulations. I myself have no such problem as my serviceable black and tan coat is good to go (or to tow) in all seasons. Of course I do lighten things up a bit for summer but so far the erratic weather has precluded any seasonal shedding on my part, much to the relief (however temporary), of my humans and their rugs.

Elizabeth did buy a new Eureka Mighty Mite vacuum cleaner in anticipation of this blessed event-- too bad she can’t vacuum her clothes, dishes and food. Once I get going the only hairless place to be is under a strong shower. (My humans especially appreciate Hound hair in the cleavage which causes them to do embarrassing things in public).

Heavy shedding is but one of the many joys of living with me (even on a part time basis as does Elizabeth who is responsible for catering to my needs during the day when my primary human Maria is at work to pay for the catering to my needs) and is the subject of another of the misconceptions that people have about bloodhounds. “Does he shed?” is right up there with “Does he drool” and “I’ll bet he’s really smart” and “Look how well behaved he is.”

I of course love these comments, especially when I am smearing hair and drool all over these folks, baying at them for their water bottles and deciding that the guy doing tai chi must be a scary space alien. Then naturally there is the issue of how devoted I am (I am devoted-- to me) and which of my humans I “love” the best (Elizabeth—she wears a pound of turkey around her waist). But everyone thinks I am wonderful except my humans who think I am evil. But what do they know—they are stupid enough to have me.

We interrupt this blog for a Special Report.

CNN Special Report: America’s Brattiest Hound

Wolf Blitzer: Hello and thanks for joining us. Today Anderson Cooper and I take a break from bringing you exciting news about all the murder and mayhem around the world to profile a living legend. America’s Brattiest Hound.

Anderson Cooper: Why are we doing this Wolf? I thought we were going to do a second by second recap of that Jet Blue flight where the pilot went postal and had to be sat on by a herd of beefy passengers?

Wolf Blitzer: It got pulled, Anderson. The producers felt that since no one actually died it was insufficiently newsworthy. Also ratings are down and one of the producers read that animal shows are very popular with the public. They said it was a chance to show our lighter side.

Anderson: But I’ve spent years covering up my lighter side!

Wolf: It’s in our contract Anderson. We have to do this show.

Anderson: Is there any blood in it at least? I mean I’m known for gore.

Wolf: Not unless you count the occasional leakage from an infected anal gland. But I think that’s too graphic even for CNN. Let’s proceed. Today we are profiling Wimsey, winner of the America’s Brattiest Hound Competition.

Anderson: But aren’t all Hounds bratty?

Wolf: A good point Anderson. But this one far exceeds the brattiness standard for which these dogs are justifiably famous.

Anderson: I did hear that he started slow in the preliminary rounds by doing such ordinary things such as refusing to leave the Boat House café unless he was hand fed a tuna sandwich and baying in front of Grom Gelato.

Wolf: Very true, but he didn’t want to peak too early. Competition for bratty behavior in the Hound Group is fierce you know. We’re not talking sporting dogs here.

Anderson: Well the judges were impressed in the next round by his incessant stopping and refusing to move unless he was fed a continuous stream of bribing snacks.

Wolf: Yes of course that was in the wider context of his refusing to leave the park in general and where he displayed a masterful ability to prolong his exit by well over an hour.

Anderson: But he really upped his game in the final rounds—I understand he has been towing to the Boat Basin Café at the Hudson River marina and lying down at the bar until his humans buy him a beer.

Wolf: Well yes, but it’s not the beer he is after—he actually permits his humans to drink it after he has sanctified it with a bit of drool—he just wants the plastic glass to play with.

Anderson: Ouch! That can’t be good for the pocket book.

Wolf: Or the liver. But then there is his decision to refuse to take his early evening walk unless both his humans are present. That’s been another crowd pleaser. Merely one human admiring him relieving himself and gathering and inspecting the evidence is simply not sufficiently respectful of all the effort he puts into the process.

Anderson: Very impressive. I hear it can take him an hour to find a good piece of real estate on which to poop. People in New York buy condos in less time.

Wolf: Yes, but that’s only in good weather; if the weather is inclement it can take him much longer. But of course pooping is not even on the table, so to speak, unless his entire entourage is present.

Anderson: I hope they are as entertained as the rest of us.

Wolf: Probably not. Making humans happy is anathema to Hounds. Anyway, Wimsey cinched the title with his evening snack exploits.

Anderson: What was that about Wolf?

Wolf: Well apparently his auxiliary human, Elizabeth, prepares a snack for herself preparatory to his early evening walk in order to have the energy to manage him. Of course, being a Hound, Wimsey demands a share of this snack, which lately has been a bowl of popcorn. But Wimsey’s fondness for being hand fed kernels of popcorn results in a considerable diminution of the popcorn supply so Elizabeth made him a bowl of his own.

Anderson: Surely that must have pleased the Great Hound?

Wolf: Well for an ordinary Hound, perhaps, but this is Wimsey we are talking about. Attempts to feed Wimsey from this extra bowl resulted in a pile of spat out, drool infused kernels stuck to the carpet. He will only accept the kernels that come from the bowl Elizabeth is eating from.

Anderson: But they are exactly the same.

Wolf: Yes, of course except that one bowl belongs to her so that’s the one he wants. It’s a matter of principle.

Anderson: It’s Brown vs. the Board of Education all over again!

Wolf: Yes, not only is Wimsey a brat but he is a constitutionally correct brat.

Anderson: Separate but equal is clearly doctrinally unacceptable when applied to snack sharing.

Wolf: Anyway, that was the exploit that had Wimsey declared America’s Brattiest Hound.

Anderson: That’s pretty bratty, but I hear he’s now insisting that his goosing activities be known as No Tush Left Behind.

Well you get the idea.

But on the subject of beer, I am pretty passionate, as one would expect from the spokes Hound of Baying Hound Aleworks. Beer and Hounds just naturally go together like my mouth and your dinner. I even enjoy the advertising slogans:

Schlitz: The beer that made Milwaukee famous. (Wimsey: the Hound that made the Upper West Side infamous).

When you say Budweiser you’ve said it all (When you say “Wimsey, come”, you’ve said absolutely nothing at all).

For all you do, this Bud’s for you (For all you do, it’s still not enough).

Budweiser: The King of Beers (Wimsey: The King).

Where there’s life, there’s Bud (Where there are gullible humans, there’s Wimsey).

Coor’s Light, it won’t slow you down (Wimsey, he won’t allow you to slow down).

Heineken refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach (Wimsey steals the stuff other Hounds cannot reach).

It’s Miller time (It’s large glass of Tanqueray time)

Olympia. It’s the water (Wimsey. It’s the drool).

If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the beer. (If you’ve got the cash, I’ve got the vet)

Everything you’ve always wanted in a beer. And more. (Nothing you’ve ever wanted in a dog and more. A lot more).

Carlsberg. Probably the best beer in the world. (Wimsey. Definitely the worst dog in the world).

St. Pauli Girl: You never forget your first girl (Wimsey. You never forget your first Hound. Neither does MasterCard).

Michelob Ultra lose the carbs. Not the taste. (Wimsey Ultra lose the hair. Not the stink).

Stella Artois. Reassuringly expensive (Wimsey. Even more reassuringly expensive).

Foster’s. Australian for beer. (Wimsey. English for you need to have your head examined).

Well anyway, it’s been a quiet week around here—if you don’t count the Greek parade that we ran into (although the way things are going over there maybe they should have had German flags)—no visiting writing celebrities, no wrestlemaniac French bulldog puppies and no getting swatted at by residents of the cat hospital. Just a regular week with one of my regular visits to the vet to deal with my anal glands and with my regular stellar behavior—so stellar in fact that on Friday Elizabeth had recourse to the heinous gentle leader to get me out of the park. Uncomfortable but satisfying nonetheless.

But there is excitement to come: Elizabeth’s building is being wired for FIOS and Elizabeth had a preliminary visit from a technician to inspect her wiring. I was not present at the time but Elizabeth was at great pains to explain that there would be a rather large Hound in the midst of the proceedings so it might be prudent to send someone who is not afraid of dogs. I had the opportunity to meet the technician who did the inspection when going out for my walk the next day and he was so taken with me that he is hoping to be assigned Elizabeth’s apartment. Of course he may feel differently when he finds out that I am taken with his tool kit and wires and that kneeling on the floor in my presence leads to an inspection of an intimate nature. Not to mention tripping over my toys and bones (and on me!) and finding kibble in places where kibble ought not to be.

But I hope he doesn’t reduce the number of cable wires as I am quite fond on napping on these and causing Elizabeth’s TV not to work. But she will finally be getting a new, large flat screen which I am looking forward to decorating in my usual artistic, mixed media fashion. And given the impending warm weather I can promise that most of the characters on TV this season will be sporting some interesting facial hair.

Anyway, while spring brings nice weather (and fewer stinky Hound clothes to launder and clean) to my humans, to me, spring is a season of unmitigated joy —from flower beds in which to pee, to newly active squirrels, to throngs of admiring tourists, to an abundance of water bottles, to extended daylight hours in which to tow my humans, to time spent in my little garden trying get to know the neighbor’s cat better-- spring is simply my favorite time of the year. (Except of course that it is the Dreaded Flowering Tree Season, which has come early this year, and means many more photographic interruptions of my walks). Hope you are all enjoying it too—I know my humans are looking forward to next month’s slippery mud season—another Wimsey favorite.

Until next time,

Wimsey, in spring a large Hound’s fancy turns to thoughts of dragging his humans through the mud and into the lake.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #254

Entry #254

March 23, 2012

Hello everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from the suddenly summery climes of Manhattan’s Upper West Side where March has morphed into June and I have morphed into an unhappy shade-seeking Hound. Except someone (probably my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth who are responsible for most of the stupid things that go on on the planet, especially those that inconvenience me) forgot to tell the trees to produce some leaves. And the rapid onset of the temperature has caused something of a wardrobe crisis for my humans as their closets are filled with ugly winter hounding clothes instead of the still ugly, but lighter, spring and summer versions.

This caused Maria to trot out a pair of jeans so worn and stretched that they look like pajamas and Elizabeth to rush to Loehmann’s to buy massively marked down cargo pants that look like they’ve been spray painted on. They were only $29 and for that price breathing is apparently optional. (The cheaper the price the less my humans mind what their clothes look like after walking me). She also bought a pair of jeans that are distressed—something I hope she didn’t pay extra for since distressing jeans is usually my job. My humans were all “They look like Wimsey’s been at them-he’s great at distressing fabric!” I wonder if jean companies employ rooms full of Hounds to create these looks. We wouldn’t cost much as we would work for the joy of the job.

But as is usual with me, I found a way to exploit the warm weather by refusing to move unless I am snacked (my humans would have liked to do something else to me that sounds similar but then they would get in trouble with our friend the Humane Law Enforcement cop). And speaking of being snacked, a few weeks ago, Elizabeth was incensed because some guy on a conference call kept using the word “caveat” as a verb—as in “I am going to caveat my next remark” (which is businesspeak for “I am about to lie”). Apparently turning nouns into verbs is only permissible when Hounds are involved:

Wimsey’s Noun to Verb Hound Lexicon

To Hound (although this can legitimately and very appropriately be used as a verb when it means to pursue relentlessly, that is not how my humans use it, as it goes without saying that I hound on a wide variety of subjects): v. To take a giant, drool flinging and oppositionally towing Hound for a walk. “ Would you like to Hound this evening or is your shoulder still sprained?”

To Cookie: v. To hunt through one’s ugly, oversized fanny pack to find the specific morsel of food most palatable to one’s extortion-minded Hound in exchange for his moving in a homewards direction, leaving the park instead of roaching in the grass, not invading children’s strollers in search of desirable comestibles, not dancing sideways in front of you and tripping you, letting you put on his harness/collar/raincoat/winter coat/cooling coat, eating sticks, chewing up plants or any other activity in which he wishes to engage because he knows that you do not wish him to engage in it. (NB: cookieing should be followed by expeditious and vigorous drool ragging lest any unpleasantness ensue with individuals who happen to be in the cookied Hound’s vicinity). “If you don’t cookie him now we won’t get home before midnight.”

To Turkey: An activity engaged in to cope with situations in which cookieing is likely to prove futile. Turkeying is generally reserved for desperate situations such as getting a Hound to look at the camera after ten minutes of tush photography, or getting him to ingest expensive medicaments that somehow end up in the couch or ejected from his mouth at a high rate of speed, or to induce a Hound to take a bath because Hound stench has permeated not only your apartment but also the hallway or to get his cooperation during a visit to the vet when things to which a Hound is likely to object will be stuck up his bum. “Turkey him now or he’ll escape!”

To Ear: v. To stick a pointy nozzle of Mometamax into a Hound’s ear in the generally futile hope that some of it will get into his ear canal and stop it from smelling like ripe cheese because he is once again taking antibiotics and to reduce the number of times the Hound will shake his head because his ears are annoying him resulting in the flinging of drool on you which is annoying you. “If you ear Wimsey for me I’ll buy you a bottle of gin.”

To Spa: v. Not to be confused with “to ear,” spaing is the process of cleaning out a Hound’s ears with soft cotton pads saturated with his preferred ear cleaning solution—not the one you think smells good because he hates that one-and in no way entails pouring the ear cleaning solution into the ear like you’re supposed to because the Hound doesn’t like you doing that and won’t let you do it anyway no matter how much you turkey him- followed by the delicious brushing of his teeth with peanut butter flavored toothpaste which mostly involves lots of Hound tongue and very few Hound teeth. On some occasions spaing also includes cleaning out a Hound’s eyes with eyewash or putting ointment in them to get rid of the gross green gunk that he likes to produce and on these occasions spaing can result in the Hound flinging himself off the spa couch and rolling around on the ground very much in the manner of Tosca jumping from the parapet after her lover has died and being inconsolable until he is sufficiently cookied or turkeyed. “Have you spaed Wimsey today or are you really the lazy, selfish human he thinks you are?”

To Grom. (My favorite verb by the way): v. To spoon feed a $6 cup of artisanal Italian gelato to a baying and heavily salivating Hound in front of the people waiting to buy the gelato so they can see just how delicious it is and to whet the appetites of passersby so that they want to eat gelato also. Occasions for Gromming include (but are not limited to): tributes from out of town visitors, birthdays (Hound and human), all Federal holidays, warm weather and the fact that the Hound has parked himself in front of the store and is refusing to move until he is Grommed. “Of course Wimsey is happy to see you, he hasn’t been Grommed this week!”

As a linguistic traditionalist I, however, like to employ traditional Hound verbs such as to steal, to filch, to cadge, to inveigle, to manipulate, to shove, to shred, to chew, to dig, to annoy, to bay, to bay really, really loud and not stop, to thwack, to stink, etc.

But speaking of out of town visitors, on Sunday I escorted our new friends, and my ardent fans, Tom and Sue Schreck, around Central Park during their visit from upstate New York. Tom is a writer of mystery novels that feature a basset Hound (you can read more about Tom at which is a good thing since he and his wife live with Hounds—bloodhound, basset Hound and a combo of both—demonstrating that they are people of taste and discernment. Also that they like to be humiliated.

In addition to being a writer, Tom is an international boxing judge and was in New York to judge a fight at Madison Square Garden (the scene of my inflicting multiple humiliations on my humans via the Westminster show ring!) although he insists that meeting me was the highlight of his trip which, I think is an entirely reasonable sentiment. There wasn’t time for them to Grom me, but Tom did get to hold my leash and be dragged about a bit although fortunately for his right hook I was having a very mellow day.

Naturally we took some souvenir pictures and I am afraid the first attempt was not a success as you can see from the impressive sneer on my face (directed at the camera, not at Tom and Sue, who in addition to being dedicated Houndists (they thought I smelled good!) also had the good sense to feed me some of the ostrich snacks they brought as tribute—although my humans fear this will not be helpful in the matter of my burgeoning snackaholism. Anyway, a good time was had by all, but especially by me, which is really all that matters.

And as the weather has gotten warmer my interest in the Central Park Lake has grown exponentially. This week I discovered a submerged log upon which it is enjoyable to balance and a deep spot that allows me to bath up to my belly. It is all the more satisfying, as I am not actually supposed to be bathing in the lake at all, but really it is still better than me climbing into the fountains. No one knows which would incur the larger fine but I aspire to find out. And of course bathing in the lake adds wonderful nuances of Return of the Swamp Thing to my fine Houndy aroma which I know my humans appreciate.

But it’s been a busy week in other respects too. On Thursday I paid another visit to the cat hospital to see our friend Dr. Julie Horton who works there on Thursdays. Elizabeth was eager to test her new camera, (the old one having died causing her to scoot down to B&H Photo where the salesman assured her that this one would take fabulous pictures of me owing to its large aperture; I am an expert on large apertures but probably not exactly photogenic ones) but she was disappointed that I don’t like looking at this one any more than I liked looking at the old one and I was disappointed that this one does not appear to have a snack dispensing mechanism or make attention grabbing noises like something I want to hunt and eat.

Anyway, she did capture me trying to get to know this cat better and as you can see its paw is raised-- just after the picture was snapped it swatted me! How rude! Not only that, but everyone laughed; I’ll bet that if I was the thwacker instead of the thwackee I would be labeled a vicious beast. I hate animals that get away with bad behavior.

And, yesterday Elizabeth hosted Pluto the French bulldog puppy for the day and the evening and it was non-stop rip snorting action. Here you see me playing bitey face with the little guy (or I would be playing bitey face if his face were actually of sufficient size).

For his part he pretty much plays bitey wrinkle or bitey dewlap with me. Getting any pictures at all is extremely difficult owing to the kinetic nature of our play and Elizabeth’s need to closely referee the bouts (we could have used Tom Shreck’s expertise!) and to make sure that nothing too much gets broken when Pluto chases me around her apartment. Pluto is like one of my stuffed toys come to life (many of them are bigger than he is!) although instead of squeaking he makes a wide assortment of snorty noises (one of the elevator operators in Elizabeth’s building asked her if he was supposed to sound like that or if he was just congested). Fortunately Pluto’s humans generously supplied Elizabeth with the bottle of gin she needed after we both went home.

And as usual, Pluto was instrumental in helping me evaluate the Snack of the Week, courtesy of a generous grant from Mr. Chewy. This week we have Fromm’s Lamb with Cranberry Recipe cookies. Now I have to say that although I like these, I don’t love them. I can’t decide whether it is because I’ve never been all that keen on lamb or the fact that they have only a 5% fat content. They are smallish oval cookies of a good size—not to large or too small—with a pleasant, if neutral floury bouquet. They have good crunchy mouth feel and I manage to keep most of the cookie from falling out of my flews. The snacks are rich in fruits and veggies but perhaps like so many things that are good for us I’d rather have a pizza.

Anyway, it would be remiss of me not to mention that although I have declared March to be Wimsey Birthday Month, Monday was my actual birthday. Accordingly I had a cup of Grom Gelato and paid a visit to a pet store where I purchased a small hedgehog to add to my collection. There is also a bully stick to come and Elizabeth has her eye on a giant Merrick bone that looks like it is a cow femur-- although the mess it would make in her apartment and in my intestines is acting as something of a brake on her purchase decision. But as I have a secret project to assemble an entire cow I urge her at every opportunity to acquire it.

Well, I think I will leave it there for this week. I had a super day in the park today meeting, greeting and goosing. And in other spring news, it’s official: Wimsey, 1, Elizabeth’s new black Hounding pants, 0 (owing to a masterful display of the Wimsey Trifecta of dirt drool and hair). Also the cherry blossoms are out! Flowering tree season has arrived just in time for me to not pose in front of them for Elizabeth’s new camera.

Until next time,

Wimsey, Olympic Puppy Wrestler