Friday, July 26, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #313

Entry #313
July 26, 2013

Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey, unbaked and unbowed here on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the prolonged hot and humid weather finally broke into a frosty 82 degrees. Never mind that I still don’t like it, it’s below my cooling coat cutoff so I’ll take it.  And my human Maria is delighted that it’s cool enough that we can enjoy the back garden together in the company of the new Home Hedgie that she bought me because I am so attached to my hedgehog over at her friend Elizabeth’s. I like my stuffed companions to get out and about and there is generally quite a discussion at the front door about the wisdom of taking Doggie for a walk. Now Hedgie can join him! And even my monster toy pile over at Elizabeth’s gets to be out and about, although this generally involves them popping up under foot in places where she least expects them and is most likely to trip over them. Kind of like me.

But even though the temperatures are out of egg frying range, it is still summer which means that I am still resistant to being out of air conditioning range during the middle of the day.  Consequently I plaster myself against buildings and try to dart into air conditioned stores—preferably those that offer me snacks, like the pet stores and the banks-- or insist that every walk feature a visit to the Boat Basin Café where I can lie on the cool tiles, enjoy the river breezes and stick my head in buckets of ice water. And of course, munch the Milk Bones they give me.  This later obsession makes Elizabeth particularly crazy since she orders large boxes of assorted gourmet snacks for me, many of which I refuse to eat. So the rejected packages are piling up over at her place and they all seem to contain the words “natural, organic, holistic, human quality, oven baked,” etc., which are marketing code words for “expensive.” I mean if I wanted stuff of that description I would just lift it from Elizabeth’s refrigerator.

But we interrupt this blog for a:

CNN Special Report

Wolf Blitzer:  Hello Everyone, thanks for joining us.  I’m Wolf Blitzer joined by my colleague….

Anderson Cooper: Not another special report Wolf! Tell me this one is not about the Royal Baby!

Wolf: No, Anderson.  The producers thought about it but they couldn’t come up with an angle that contained anything shocking or disturbing enough.  Although I had heard they were hoping that the baby would look like Prince Harry.

Anderson: Well some people think that naming the kid George was pretty disturbing.  I mean why not a normal name like Jayden, or Aiden or Elijah for example?

Wolf: A good question, Anderson, but it will have to wait.  Right now we are going to cover a scandal.

Anderson: Don’t tell me, not another politician or business leader who has slept with prostitutes, posted pictures of their boy bits to women online, hiked the Appalachian Trail down to their mistress in Argentina, asked female employees to work without their underwear, touched women inappropriately….

Wolf:  No Anderson, not quite.  This is a hexting scandal.

Anderson: That’s a new one for me Wolf.  What exactly is hexting?

Wolf: It’s Hound texting Anderson and I warn you, the images that we are about to see are pretty graphic. Wimsey has been sending them to humans that he met online.
Anderson: OK. Well what is this first one.  It looks like a meteor shower struck someone’s yard.

Wolf: Close.  This is what an unsupervised Hound did to $30,000 worth of landscaping in two hours. 

Anderson: But that’s obscene!

Wolf: The owners of the yard thought so. Now look at this one.

Anderson: What’s this?  It looks like a large pile of rags?

Wolf: It’s the contents of someone’s walk-in closet after a Hound walked in.

Anderson: I can’t bear to look, Wolf. I saw a Chanel button in there!

Wolf: Yes, it’s upsetting, I know. And this next one is even worse.

Anderson: What is it Wolf? All I see is fluff, fabric bits and wood?

Wolf: It was a couch, Anderson. And that wood used to be a Chippendale chair.

Anderson:  I’m going to cry. How could this happen Wolf!

Wolf: Boredom, Anderson.

Anderson: This is too much to bear, Wolf. I think I’d rather look at Anthony Weiner’s penis!

Wolf: I feel your pain, Anderson. At least the penis is intact.
Anderson: For the moment, anyway.

Wolf: It’s a good thing we decided that the image of the Aubusson was too troubling to display.  This next image isn’t all that bad.

Anderson: An empty refrigerator with a head of lettuce?

Wolf: It’s a refrigerator after a trip to the supermarket.

Anderson: They just bought lettuce?

Wolf: No but Hounds don’t like lettuce.

Anderson: Few of us do.  I think lettuce is a culinary conspiracy.  Perhaps we should do a show on that—the producers like conspiracies.
Wolf: Well there are people who think Hounds being foisted on humans is a conspiracy to keep us weak, stupid and poor. But take a look at this image.

Anderson: I give up. It’s a massive collection of dark splotches on a light colored background. Is it a Jackson Pollock?

Wolf:  Worse, it’s the wall of an apartment whose owner just spent $15,000 to paint it.

Anderson: Ouch. Well what is this next one about? It just looks like a large American Express bill.  Did the Hound take a world cruise?

Wolf: No, he went to the vet.

Anderson: OK, so what are Wimsey’s humans doing to ensure that these obscene images are not disseminated further?

Wolf: We understand that the problem has taken care of itself---he ate the phone.
That’s it for Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper. Join us next week for our special report as a team of leading scientists discuss what would happen if Mt. Vesuvius erupted in midtown Manhattan.

Well you get the idea.  I guess the silly season started early this year. But speaking of texts, both my humans use Blackberry Z10s and communicate urgent pieces of information via BlackBerry Messenger.  The phone is designed to learn the words that are used frequently to speed up the messaging process:

Some Words and Phrases Learned by My Humans’ BlackBerry Z10

Soft but formed
Mucousy Diarrhea
Snoring and farting
Large pees
Multiple pees
Refuses to pee
Refuses to poop
Hate him
Hound (with a capital “H”)
Wretched Hound
Sir (with a capital “S”)
Dreadful Sir
Sir decided
Sir wanted
Sir demanded
Sir refused
Fling drool
Flung drool
Wiped drool
Smeared drool
Drool in the face
Drool on the rug
Slipped on drool
Rotator cuff
Furry Paws
Pet Market
Toy pile
Bully sticks
Another package for Sir at the front desk
Won’t eat kibble
Turkey, yam pumpkin and kibble
Snout in trough
Demanding my yogurt
Gala apple
Demanding my Gala apple
Boat Basin
Towing to Boat Basin
Refusing to leave Boat Basin
Swamp Thing
Clothes smell
Furniture smells
Apartment smells
Hound Hair stuck on sunscreen
Hound Hair stuck in mouth
Hound Hair stuck on face
Hound Hair stuck in cleavage
Hound hair up nose
Vet bill
Vet’s new swimming pool

Hey, they don’t call them smart phones for nothing.  Still, it amuses my humans when they type a “p” and the first suggested word is poop. Somewhere an NSA computer is exploding.

Well I think I will leave it there for this week.  Stay cool.

Until next time,
Wimsey, a cool Hound in any season

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #312

Entry #312
July 20, 2013

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey coming to you from the hot, humid and Houndy precincts of Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the question on everyone’s mind is how am I coping with the unfavorable climactic conditions currently afflicting our little island. This question is posed endlessly to both my humans—Maria who is my primary human and her friend Elizabeth with whom I spend my time when Maria is off fruitlessly trying make enough of a living to keep up with my high living Houndy ways.  No one cares about how they are coping with the heat, regardless of how much sweat is pouring off of them or how close to heat exhaustion they look.  But then again New Yorkers always have their priorities right.

But to answer the question, I am coping about as well as can be expected from a Hound that carries on like a Drama King in the face of the least amount of personal discomfort and inconvenience. This involves trying to hide from the Dreaded Cooling Coat in hopes of being spared the need to wear it, not wanting to move once we get outside and then when forced to move trying to run between my humans’ air conditioned apartments, taking care to stay only in the shady spots on the street regardless of where these may occur.  I did make it down to The Boat Basin once or twice where the staff fed me cookies and brought me a bucket of water and ice cubes into which I like to dunk my head. This makes everyone laugh until I threaten to overturn the bucket on their feet. And during my Sunday “walk” in Central Park we headed over to a very densely shaded bench in The Ramble where I lay down in some cool earth.  Then we headed over to The Stream where I lay down in the water and mud and attempted to nap which created a very popular photo opportunity for those tourists foolish enough to be out. Not an exciting walk, but a cool one.

Mostly though, I hang out inside chewing bully sticks, eating cold, mashed yam and waiting for it to be autumn again. My humans have their own heat coping methods, largely involving two different but equally ridiculous fashion strategies: Maria has decided that since she will sweat through and ruin anything she wears (and what she doesn’t sweat through I will smear my copious muddy drool on) it’s best to emulate Stanley Kowalski and wear a white Hanes t-shirt topped off with some baggy jeans to promote air flow. It is as stunning a look as it sounds.  In contrast, Elizabeth has decided to go the skimpy route, buying a collection of tank tops to wear over a short skirt.  Unfortunately in order to safely walk me she also has to wear sneakers so she resembles nothing so much as a 15-year-old girl about to play the back nine.  It’s a sad commentary on my humans’ fashion sense when I am the best dressed one of the trio.

And it’s been so uncomfortable outside that I only go out into our little shared yard to inspect it and then come right back in to the air conditioning.  This has prompted some discussion of perhaps installing a dog door for me.  But then my humans realized that a dog door for an animal of my size would be the actual door.  Pretty much like a dog bed in my size is the actual bed.  When living with a Giant Hound everything is relative. Now whereas Einstein’s theory of relativity states that various measurements are affected by the velocity of those doing the measuring. The Wimsey theory of relativity states that various measurements are affected by the size of the Hound of those doing the measuring. For instance, when Elizabeth walks some petite 60 lb. pit bull when she volunteers at the shelter, kennel staff are prone to remark that the critter in question is strong. But for Elizabeth, not so much.

Wimsey’s Theory of Relativity

Strength: Strength is related to how fast a Hound who has evinced an interest in a passing squirrel can pull over his human. Also to the number of feet/second that he can drag them. Additionally, strength is related to the number and size of the humans he can knock over because they happen to be in his line of scent and also to the amount of force (in newtons) that he can exert when shoving his human off of the bed. Another measure of strength is related to the number of pounds per square inch of earth a Hound can move when excavating in the garden.

Size: Size is related to whether any of the couch is available for human use when a Hound decides that that piece of furniture constitutes a desirable spot upon which to nap. It is also related to how much of the table the Hound’s head can reach when standing on all four paws, how much of the kitchen counter the Hound’s head can reach when standing on two paws and how much of a giant step his humans have to take when he decides to nap in the kitchen doorway.

Speed: Speed is related to how fast a Hound in possession of a desirable item such as your lunch or an $80 bra can run to evade capture as well as how fast he can arrive in the kitchen in response to the opening of the refrigerator door.

Cuteness: Cuteness is related to how many people per minute stop on the street to admire the Hound, to photograph him and to share their food and water bottles with him. Cuteness is also measure of the continued viability of the Hound after he has eaten the couch and has had the contents of the garbage bin for dessert.

For other kinds of dogs, cuteness is an asset. For a Hound it is a necessity. And I can find ways to be disruptive even when I am asleep.  For instance, I can make quite a racket even whilst taking a supposedly peaceful nap on the bed. In addition to producing snores, the decibel level of which requires noise-canceling headphones, I can create quite a ruckus by raking my giant talons across a sheet while running in my sleep and by thumping my heavy weight tail on the mattress. I like to insure that the only one having a peaceful nap is me. As I’ve said many times before, Hound people are special people--they have even fewer neurons than their Hounds.
And speaking of being short a few neurons, apparently the folks at NASA are devastated (no, not because they weren’t the ones who discovered that a planet is colored blue) but because Congress won’t grant them billions of dollars to land a person on an asteroid and collect some dirt.  Just imagine the crowned heads of Europe funding the Age of Exploration so that Columbus and his cronies could bring back a bucket of loam and maybe a rock or two.  And I speak as a Hound with an abiding interest in dirt—the rolling around in which and distribution of throughout my abode is a never ending source of satisfaction to me and a never-ending source of the need to buy cleaning supplies to my humans.  Of course in this heat wave it is more likely to be mud that I am tracking around which I know we all very much enjoy.

Anyway, I am off to plot walk avoidance strategies and to figure out how to outrun my cooling coat.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a Cool Hound

Friday, July 12, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #311

Entry # 311
July 12, 2013

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the combination of the Great Fourth of July Yard Cleanout and the revolting weather have made for a paucity of blog posts.  There are also very few pictures of me owing to my reluctance to be outdoors at all in this weather. For those of you who don’t live on the East Coast or don’t have friends or relatives who do, we have been having Endless August for the past two months and it is hard to say who is more cheesed off about it-- my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth, or me.  Four times a day the following happens:

Me: “I wish to go out now,” I say, squeaking either my Hedgie in Elizabeth’s face at her apartment or Doggie in Maria’s at home.

Human: “Your wish is my command, oh Great Hound!”

But then, I get outside and it’s all,

Then it’s all:

Humans: “But you need to poop and pee! Please. Just a little walk. We’ll stay in the shade. How about a cookie. Or a piece of turkey…”

And that doesn’t include all the suiting up I have to do into cooling coats and raincoats to deal with the heat and the tropical storms that we’ve been having.

But to quickly catch up—over the 4th of July my human Maria had a four-day weekend which meant that I did not spend the full week with Elizabeth who looks after me (read: caters to my every whim) during the day. And although Maria does her best to cater to me, it’s just not the same without Elizabeth who wears turkey and at least two kinds of crunchy snacks around her waist, has a closet full of bully sticks and can easily be prevailed upon to augment my kibble bowl with the contents of her fridge.

But turkey and crunchy snacks are not the only thing Elizabeth wears.  In a previous post I shared my masterful Guide to Fashion to help explain why my humans look like escapees from What Not To Wear and last week exceeded even my expectations.  Elizabeth donned a bright blue rain slicker, added green boots and dressed me in my red raincoat. We looked like hooded refugees from a Crayola box, a fact not lost on a Spanish tourist who came running over to take a picture.  And it was clear from her gestures that she wanted Elizabeth in the photo as well, and trust me, no one ever wants my humans in the photo unless they look ridiculous.  Like when Elizabeth sits next to me on a park bench and I loom over her head and decorate her hair with drool. It’s a crowd pleaser.

But I digress.  The other tenant of our little shared backyard moved out and after twelve years of residence she had filled the garden with an astonishing collection of stuff including (but not limited to) a moldy, plastic above ground pool, rusting gym equipment, dead potted plants, an assortment of rusting barbecue grills, a shop vac, many, many chairs and tables, a rotting bench, a non-rotting rusting bench, a giant heat lamp, mosquito torches and a plethora of  “decorative” cement and plastic objects ranging from the classical to the ridiculous.  In the latter category, let’s just say garden gnomes have nothing on garden frogs and the yard had come to resemble the site of a biblical plague. Anyway, my humans and I spent a large part of the four-day weekend clearing out the stuff so at some future point actual yard work can begin.  I myself supervised the whole operation which somehow resulted in a lot of “Get out of there Wimsey’s from my humans.  And all the delicacies I managed to consume resulted in a bit of an upset tummy which resulted in me deciding to poop on a shovel that my humans were using which I think is a very efficient way of fertilizing a garden.

But in addition to creative gardening, summer also brings out the creativity in TV writers. Now entertaining viewers whose tastes have become jaded by stories involving actually possible natural disasters such as fires, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and the like as well as by natural disasters that are theoretically possible but unlikely such as asteroid collisions and alien invasions, is no easy task. I mean, we’ve seen every possible kind of horror, including those wrought by wildlife such as swarms of annoyed birds, vicious killer bees, non itsy-bitsy spiders ferocious grizzly bears and even prehistoric velociraptors.  So you can just imagine a group of tapped out TV writers shuffling their index cards of natural disasters and wildlife terrors to inflict on their group of stock characters when two cards accidentally fall to the floor and the light bulb goes off igniting a spark of video genius.  If people are afraid to go out of their houses because of tornados and are afraid to go into the water because of sharks, what could be better than a tornado of sharks! And SharkNado is born!  It’s Jaws meets The Wizard of Oz except without the talent. (For the uninitiated and social media-less, SharkNado is a real TV show—even someone possessing my high level of creativity could not have made this up).  However, even more fearsome than a SharkNado is the dreaded HoundNado!
A CNN Special Report: HoundNado Terrorizes New York City

Wolf Blitzer:  Hello I’m Wolf Blitzer. Thanks for joining us.  We interrupt our usual programming of violence, mayhem and gore to present a CNN Special Report on a Fearsome Natural Disaster afflicting Our Nation’s most important city, New York. I am joined by my colleague Anderson Cooper.

Anderson Cooper:  Thanks Wolf.  You forgot to mention that for our more squeamish viewers our regular interrupted programming also includes coverage from Washington where the violence, mayhem and gore are strictly verbal.

Wolf: Thank you Anderson. I stand corrected. The carnage in Washington is a CNN staple. I had proposed a Congressional cage-fighting segment to bring our political coverage more into line with our regular programming but the producers thought that the level of violence might be in poor taste.

Anderson: That never stopped them before.

Wolf: Yes, I know, but I think the fight card got too crowded.  Now on to our coverage of the HoundNado which we can only hope will result in even more ratings topping violence, mayhem and gore than the usual stuff we air. Tell us Anderson, will there be the horrific scenes that we recently witnessed and brought into our viewer’s living rooms, as was the case during the SharkNado in California?
Anderson: We can only hope, Wolf. It would have been great if we had a SharkNado here but some people say that New York already has a SharkNado.  It’s called Wall Street.

Wolf:  Good point. Also, I understand that New Yorkers feel that their natural disasters should be tonier and more sophisticated than those that afflict the rest of the country.

Anderson:  Sharks wearing black?

Wolf: I don’t think so.  Bring our viewers up to speed Anderson.  What do scientists think is causing all these AnimalNados apart from a drive for summer ratings?

Anderson:  No one really knows Wolf, and scientists were too busy this week figuring out that an uninhabitable planet 63 light years away from earth is colored blue.  They were too excited to devote much time to anything else. But it’s a pretty safe bet to blame it on global warming. Everyone knows that global warming is bad and everyone knows that SharkNados are bad, so Q.E.D.

Wolf:  I like that idea.  But tell us about the HoundNado.  We know that sharks have only one purpose in life and that is to tear human flesh for our cinematic pleasure but what do Hounds do?
Anderson: What don’t they do, Wolf? The Hound is a much more complex and devious creature than the shark and is just as destructive, albeit much cuter.  For instance we have reports that IKEA and Ethan Allen don’t have a stick of furniture left and tufts of foam, goose down and polyester are choking the streets from all the mattress stores. Also all 858 acres of Central Park are now one giant hole and supermarkets, restaurants and gelato stands have been stripped bare. Mayor Bloomberg, however, was pleased to note in his news conference that since the HoundNado left all the leafy green vegetables intact—apparently Hounds don’t like these any more than we do-- the disaster is actually a victory for New York’s anti-obesity program.

Wolf:  Yes, I had heard that he considers the HoundNado an inspirational event and is thinking of mandating that supermarkets only be allowed to sell leafy green vegetables and water. But did the Hounds drink all the soda greater than 160z too?

Anderson: No but they punctured all the bottles so that they could play with them. Also air quality in the city is deteriorating rapidly due to all the Hound hair so citizens are advised to wear masks.

Wolf:  Will the masks protect against all the drool as well?
Anderson:  Only partially, Wolf.  There is no such thing as complete protection against drool but wearing a full length Hefty bag is being advised.  Also there is a thick layer of drool drifting up the Hudson whose environmental impact is unknown.  There seems to be no way to get rid of the stuff.

Wolf: And speaking of drool Anderson, there are reports that all traffic has come to a standstill and people are abandoning their cars because no one can see out of the windows.

Anderson: Yes, Wolf, drool and windows seem to have a powerful attraction for one another, but it is probably a good thing to stay out of cars since Hounds are very fond of motor vehicles and often labor under the illusion that they can drive them.

Wolf:  This just in, Anderson.  Major Bloomberg has announced that under his administration and with the assistance of the HoundNado New York no longer has a garbage or rat problem.

Anderson: Or a fertilizer problem either I would imagine.

Well you get the idea.  The mind boggles at all the possibilities.  Steven Spielberg has a lot to answer for.  Of course like sharks, we Hounds are also insatiable predators, only we relentlessly seek out and consume our humans’ food, money and possessions. Also, luckily for us, their hearts.

Until next time,

Wimsey (Nado)