Friday, June 29, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #267

Entry #267
June 29, 2012

Wimsey here, coming to you from Manhattan's steamy, summery Upper West Side where I am officially posting a GONE FISHING  sign for this week.  Of course in my case what I fish for are plastic water bottles which. although they are less nutritious than actual fish, are much more plentiful.  And when I catch one I  like to lie in the dirt under a shady bush and have a good chew whilst my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth stand in the hot sun and admire me.  Sometimes this admiration takes the form of complaining about how filthy I am getting or how annoying I am but it's all music to a Hound's ears. I'd get worried if they started admiring me for my obedient and compliant nature.  Of course that would be an indication that I should be rushed to the vet as I would not be well at all.

Anyway,  this week it's just been too hot to write about anything else other than it being too hot which I don't expect anyone will find especially interesting. And yes, I got a cooling cup of Grom Gelato this week--my humans always enjoy the impact that a giant Hound being delicately spoon fed $6 cups of imported gelato makes on the general public. (We'll probably end up on that Dogs of NY Show one of those days).  

And also this week there were assorted cooling coat wars mostly ending in extensive turkey feeding and me charging around like a maniac while trying to outrun it and excrement withholding wars on account of it not being to my taste to poop and pee in undesirable climactic conditions. And then there is my new summer walking style that has assumed the quality of a military operation wherein I dart from shady spot to shady spot as if to avoid capture by the sun.

And of course in the summer it is important to drink a lot of water which means that Elizabeth has to change her shirt frequently because of my propensity to use them as post-hydration napkins. It's probably the reason why she feels that in the summer it is important to drink a lot of gin. 

So I hope that everyone enjoys their July 4th holiday and remembers that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty (and the price of Hounds).

Until next time,

Wimsey, a son of liberty (although I frequently get called a son of something else).

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #266

Entry #266
June 22, 2012

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, the Upper West Side of Manhattan’s foremost stinky bloodhound whose summer coat blowing and air conditioning lounging are in full swing.  First let me say that although I manage to be incessantly annoying all year round to my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth, summer coat blowing season is especially challenging for them.  For although we bloodhounds appear rather smooth and short coated, in reality our fur is extremely dense, very prolific and surprisingly long.  And when we decide that we are tired of carrying it around in the summer heat, watch out!  Now I don’t mean to belittle the joys of fall coat blowing season, but the summer is a great deal more fun because my fair skinned humans are slathered in sunscreen and  nothing beats sunscreen for attracting and attaching errant Hound hairs. Their faces, arms and cleavages are soon bristling with my itchy, spikey cast off black and tan hairs. And with the occasional full tuft from the back of my thighs which I like to also liberally distribute  both of the ladies’ apartments.

And whereas the Zoom Groom is generally an excellent tool for depilating a Hound in the most pleasant manner possible (I refuse to be raked, brushed or furminated) it can be too much of a good thing when its actions envelope my humans in clouds of Hound hair.  So prodigious was my output on Sunday that it attracted a crowd of onlookers who were careful to stand well back. But at least this was outdoors.  Nothing can compare to watching me have a revivifying shake after a nap or a drink and seeing an aureole of hair emerge and settle over floors, rugs and furniture.  Not to mention on food, plates and humans unlucky enough to be within range. So much disruption with so little effort.

As an aside, June 22 is apparently Take Your Dog to Work Day, but as Maria would like to stay employed she wisely left me home. Sneaking me in as a new model of paper shredder was also rejected.  There are innumerable allegedly dog friendly situations that do not appear to apply to one of my stature, which is really unfair since I don’t even get the chance to be annoying before I am booted out.

Anyway, it’s been a rather quiet week around here as we are having a heat wave and as I am a delicate flower of a Hound I object to spending large amounts of time outside of air-conditioned spaces. Not to mention the fact that my cooling coat has made a premature appearance causing me no end of humiliation. I do expend quite a bit of energy trying to outrun it or to shake it off but so far have had distressingly little success.  About the only positive thing I can say about the coat, apart from the fact that it actually does keep me cool, is that my humans get yelled at on the street for putting me in a coat in hot weather. 

But before things got too toasty I did get to spend my usual Sunday hanging out in Central Park, meeting and greeting and inspecting the local water   We also ran into an exhibition of therapy horses for disabled riders where I’m afraid I became rather the center of attention for a while.  But my center of attention was squarely focused on a miniature horse called Chocolate Chip (an excellent name by the way, although I think horses should be called things like Sautéed Liver).  He was bigger than I am but not by much and I made a very determined effort to get to know him better.  But as is usually the case with my attempts at animal husbandry I was cruelly prevented. I mean I just wanted to sniff him. Really. Trust me.

Let’s see, in other summer news, my brewery, Baying Hound Aleworks turns two at the end of July they will be holding a three day event on July 26th, 27th and 28th from noon to 10pm to celebrate.  On the 28th $1 from every beer purchase will go to the Montgomery County Humane Society, as will the proceeds from a raffle and a dunking tank.  The brewery is located in Rockville, Maryland so if you are anywhere in the area head on down for some Houndish fun and have a few for our four legged friends in need. And as always, don’t forget to admire my face on the label when you imbibe! And of course you never know when I will be prevailed upon to put in a personal appearance (although I’m not getting anywhere near that dunking tank).

Well summer in New York affords all kinds of cultural opportunities and a revival of
Harvey opened recently on Broadway.  For those of you who have never seen the movie with Jimmy Stewart, he plays a man who is accompanied by a 6-foot tall imaginary rabbit named Harvey.  This makes me think that the concept has other possibilities:

Maria: Hello, I’m Maria and this is my imaginary Hound iWimsey.

New friend: But he’s not imaginary—he’s standing right next to you!

Maria: Not him! That’s Regular Wimsey. Pay no attention to him!

New friend: But that’s hard to do---he’s got his nose in my crotch.

Maria: Exactly. iWimsey on the other hand is sitting next to me politely and giving you his paw to shake. 

New friend: Well those drool spots Regular Wimsey has left on my pants are in a very embarrassing location.

Maria: I know. And it doesn’t get any better when they dry—then they look like something else.  But the advantage of iWimsey is that he doesn’t drool.

New friend: A Hound that doesn’t drool! Wow no wonder he’s imaginary!

Maria:  Heel!

New friend: I don’t think he is listening. He seems to be dragging you down the street.

Maria: Regular Wimsey never listens or heels, especially when he decides he’d like some Grom Gelato. The command was for iWimsey.  He’s obedience trained you know.  He’s won several national titles. I’m very proud of him.

New friend: Regular Wimsey seems to be getting very vocal.  He has a lovely voice and if you don’t stand too close to him the sound doesn’t hurt too much.

Maria: He always does that when he’s “found” gelato.  He’ll carry on like that until I buy him some.

New friend:  Doesn’t iWimsey want gelato too?  He’s awfully quiet.

Maria: iWimsey never bays and hurts people’s ears or scares them or terrorizes dogs he wants to say hello to or wakes people up because he’s going for his walk.
Also iWimsey refuses to eat anything but kibble.  It’s why he doesn’t produce mounds of mushy poop with all kinds of weird things in it or has to have long strands of grass extracted from his bottom.

New friend: Well where are we going now?

Maria: Regular Wimsey likes to visit a pet shop after his gelato.  They feed him biscuits there which complements the ice cream.  He’ll also select a toy or a bone that I will have to purchase for him.

New friend: I’m guessing iWimsey doesn’t play with toys or chew bones?

Maria: On the contrary, he has quite a collection, but unlike the ones Regular Wimsey has iWimsey’s don’t take up the entire living room floor and he doesn’t leave them where I trip on them at night.

New friend: This is all very fatiguing.  Do you mind if we take a break and sit on this bench?

Maria:  Not at all. But Regular Wimsey will want to sit on you and be scratched. It’s not very comfortable, especially when he thwacks you with his paw when you stop scratching and when he drools in your face.

New friend: And what will iWimsey do?

Maria: iWimsey is very polite.  He will wait to see if I invite him up and then he won’t put all of his weight on me.  But then of course, he doesn’t seem to be as heavy as Regular Wimsey.

New friend:  What’s that smell?

Maria: Which one? The gassy one or the other one?

New friend: It doesn’t smell like gas.  Or at least not right now.

Maria: That’s Regular Wimsey. It’s his natural odor and even if I bathe him it comes right back.  Although in summer his natural odor is augmented by a swampy smell that he gets by jumping in the Lake. Once you and your clothes start smelling like that also you won’t notice it so much. iWimsey of course is odorless.

New friend: But if iWimsey is so great why do you have Regular Wimsey?

Maria: Because I’m crazy. After all,  I think there is a Hound who is obedient, polite, quiet and odorless.

New friend: But he’s an imaginary one.

Maria: But that’s because those are the only ones who are!

Well you get the idea.  Anyway, I think I am going to leave it here for now.  A thunderstorm has just moved through and the temperatures are back into the temperate 70s so I am going for a much need, cooling coatless walk.  And of course where there is rain there is mud and where there is mud there is Wimsey.

Until next time,

Wimsey, an unimaginable Hound


Friday, June 15, 2012

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #265

Entry #265
 June 15, 2012

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey—or perhaps his evil twin, it’s so hard to tell these days—coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I have been busy entertaining visitors and locals alike with my summery antics.  But before I go any further, a big shout out to the Magna Carta whose birthday it is today! It was signed June 15, 1215 in Runnymede, England (starting to ring a bell here?) and for those of you who slept through history class dreaming of the bad bloodhounds you were going to acquire, it formally placed a brake on the royal power the English king. Personally, I think that King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta because the English barons didn’t like him very much.  Barons have a habit of doing that when you lose France.  So if ever there was a monarch who needed a bloodhound to increase his popularly it was King John. 

My bloodhounded human Maria and her friend Elizabeth can readily attest to the difference a conspicuous canine with “personality” can make to one’s personal popularity.  But as an absolute monarch myself I do sympathize with King John-- although I would be more apt to steal France than to lose it (not to mention that possession is ten tenths of bloodhound law) and if anyone presented me with a document to sign it would most likely join the contents of the cookie pouch in my gullet. (In NYC hip hop circles I am known as Snack Monster Wimsey).

But I digress.  The week got off to an exciting start on Sunday with New York’s Puerto Rican Day parade. This meant that the bridle path in Central Park was chock- a- block with mounted police and their horses which was extremely interesting.  We spent considerable time chatting with an officer who was quite taken with me and tried induce me to visit the horses in their van. However, I have an inherent distrust of doing anything that humans want me to do as somehow this always ends up in fingers up my bum or soapy water on my head.
And unlike some canines I could name (like my 25 pound Frenchie friend Pluto who came over for a visit this week and tried to steal my lunch!) I have a healthy respect for animals who are bigger than I am (except of course humans who are mostly not bigger than I am and in any case have limited potential to nip me in the tush or kick me with their hooves).  I also felt strongly that the interesting end of the equine is not the front.  It turns out that one of the horses has a habit of tossing over his basket of hay so his human has to reassemble it for him. My humans nodded sagely—another example of convergent evolution.

Then of course I spent some time meeting and greeting parade attendees and listening to my humans expound on the virtues (or not) of The Bloodhound.   Someone asked Elizabeth this week what she liked about bloodhounds. This was apparently a real brainteaser. She finally said that we are entertaining. What she really meant was that we are “entertaining.”  (In much the same way as a two year old on a sugar high).  In any case we Hounds are much better in the telling than in the experiencing, time being a great healer.  Except of course when the humiliating things happen to other people.

And on the subject of popularity, our friend Virve and her husband (who opined that bloodhounds were like a conspiracy to take over the world), who are owned by a Finnish bloodhound, came to New York to meet me.  We all went for a lovely walk Monday evening in Central Park where I put on a masterful display of plastic water bottle hunting and not going in the direction that anyone  to go in.  And as usual what starts out as a photo op with me ends up as a photo op of my belly.  And like all good visitors our friends came bearing suitable tribute—in this case a moose rawhide. (Funny how no one ever brings my humans anything. But then they don’t sell Valium in Duty Free). 
Now this moose chew is an excellent thing, not the least because I have incorporated it into my early evening walking ritual (for those of you who read this blog, you know that I have a firmly established policy of not doing anything that humans want me to do unless they pay me to do it):

Elizabeth: Look who’s here Wimsey! It’s your human Maria! We are all going for a walk!

Wimsey: Excuse me did you say something? I’m busy here with my moose chew.

Elizabeth and Maria: Yes, let’s go for a walk!

Wimsey: Not right now. I’m at a crucial stage with my moose chew. I’ve got it properly salivated.

Elizabeth and Maria: But it’s a beautiful evening and it’s time for your walk.

Wimsey: You go then.  You can tell me all about it. But don’t pee in the tree pits—the people in the building get mad if you do.

Elizabeth and Maria: Let’s put on your collar and harness!

Wimsey: Let’s not. I prefer to work on my moose chew.

Elizabeth and Maria:  Here, have a cookie!

Wimsey: Which cookie?  If it’s the usual Old Mother Hubbard ones then I think I’ll stay here with my moose chew.

Elizabeth and Maria: How about the Fromm salmon and sweet potato ones?

Wimsey:  Throw in a few of those peanut butter-nanna things from Bil Jac and you have a deal.

Elizabeth and Maria: OK, you’ve been leashed and cookied. Now drop the moose chew.

Wimsey: It needs some air. But it would be hard to hold the moose chew and eat a large piece of turkey at the same time…

So the moose chew has proven an excellent addition to my repertoire of annoying behaviors. And speaking of which (and when are we not) as the days get warmer my addiction to the Central Park Lake gets stronger and so now not only do I tow over to The Lake but also once I get in I refuse to get out.  This causes all manner of pleading from my humans and photo ops for lakeside visitors. And I have been going in so deep that I am beginning to resemble a black and tan crocodile with just my top line and snout visible. 

But in honor of my summer exploits I would like to share with you Thursday’s photo diary.  It was a beautiful day here and so I decided that Elizabeth and I should spend the entire afternoon in Central Park.  The fact that Elizabeth actually had work to do that I was preventing her from doing made the day all the more satisfying:

A Walk in the Park with Wimsey is Not a Walk in the Park

First some lakeside activities:

Here I am having a fortifying pre-dip snack before going in.  It turns out that the Lake is ringed with all manner of succulent, delicious plants, the remains of which my humans enjoy extracting from my bottom in subsequent days.  It provides a kind of a Proustian Remembrance of Plants Past:  “Ah yes I remember that plant—Wimsey had it on Sunday. Such a beautiful day it was.”

And here I am splashing about—so far there are no photos of Crocodile Wimsey since Elizabeth needs both hands to keep from taking a refreshing dip herself.

Then I noticed these two people on the rock photographing me.

They had a small stuffed dog in the foreground with which I decided to become better acquainted.

Next, I decided to migrate over to this side of the Lake where there was a very tasty looking duck.  Sadly I was not permitted to get better acquainted with it either.

Then it was time for a quick lie down in the shady dirt next to the Ladies Pavilion (soon to be renamed the Hound’s Pavilion).  I like to lie down in the dirt when I am wet as this helps me form a nice cooling crust for the rest of the walk.

Here I am in a favorite field by the Puppet Theater. I scored the poop of a miscellaneous animal (at least Elizabeth hopes it was from a miscellaneous animal). Fortunately these snack sized deposits are difficult for her to see in the grass but not difficult for me to smell.

Then as I was in the process of towing over to the snack bar at the Delacorte Theater we ran into this nice lady in whose bag I smelled dog treats. Sadly she said there were none left. I hate when that happens.

She took many photographs of me and said that you could see that I had a lot of “personality.” Fortunately this surfeit of “personality” is as useful for driving my humans to drink as it is for creating appealing photos.

Here I am posing with the snack bar in the background.  It took considerable patience and a lot of turkey to get me to face in this direction. The snack bar has excellent baked goods of which I am inordinately fond.

I am also inordinately fond of waffles so after saying goodbye to the nice woman with the camera I headed over to the Belgian waffle truck to create a baying for waffles ruckus.  Fortunately the people who run the truck have a sense of humor.  I’m not so sure about the people trying to buy and eat the waffles.

After a considerable amount of time by the waffle truck I immediately high tailed it into the adjacent field by the Turtle Pond; it’s a popular spot for picnics and for picnic invaders such as myself.

And of course, even the merest suggestion that we should be headed home causes me to park my tush on a bench and refuse to move.  This behavior draws lots of admirers (and snickers) and inevitably leads to lengthy conversations with passersby about me which inevitably leads to lengthy delays in heading home.  I will of course obediently get off the bench for a fistful of turkey.  Until I get on the next bench.

Well I think that is about all for now.  I was up for a commercial this week but I just heard that they chose other breeds of dog.  I wonder why?

Until next time,

(Crocodile) Wimsey