Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Hunka hunka burnin' dog

Well my friends, at long last I made that pilgrimage that all Dalmatians must eventually make – I visited a fire station. Yes, this past Saturday I accompanied Kate, Andrea, Julia, Lypstyck Gyrl, and my fondest pet Sareet on a tour of a Hollywood fire station so that I could see first hand what my life might have been had I not passed up firefighting to compete in the Iditarod.

First, let me give you a brief history lesson on how we most daring of dogs came to be associated with the hose jockeys. It all began in the summer of 1969; that bastard Nixon was in the White House, the Black Panthers had planted a boot in whitey’s ass, and aunt Trixie was hunkered down in a foxhole somewhere outside Danang, giving Charlie all the hell a spotted beast can dish out. Well, actually it didn’t start in 1969 at all, but I’ve always wanted to start a story that way. It really started back in the days when firefighters traveled by horse and carriage, in the summer of 1969; that bastard Nixon was in the White House, the Black Panthers… Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, we Dalmatians were chosen to accompany the firefighters for two reasons: one – our affinity for horses, and two – we’re bad motherf***ers.

Of all the many breeds of dogs, Dalmatians are the best with horses. This is due to the little known fact that before the time of humans, Dalmatians used to breed and race horses for money (or in dog terminology – cookies). You may find it of interest to know that the popular American racehorse Seabiscuit was not named by his owner Jeff Bridges, but by Bridges’ Dalmatian “The Dude,” who recommended the title based on the fact that his ancestors had made their fortune at the track wagering in sea biscuits.

Because we are so adept at managing equines, early firefighters would have us run along beside the horses that pulled their fire carriages to keep them in line and protect them from stray dogs. If some gnarly pit bull inbreed tried to run up and spook a horse on its way to a fire, he could be sure to get his tail cropped old-school style. After the invention of the combustion engine, firefighters simply kept us around because we look so cool riding up on top of the fire truck with our spotted ears flapping in the wind.

All my life I’ve sensed a twinge of envy when I’ve heard the sirens of a passing fire engine, felt a rush of adrenaline as I’ve watched someone’s house burn to the ground, and experienced a flood of overwhelming emotion when I’ve witnessed a table scrap fall to the floor (though, to be honest, this has nothing to do with firefighting). So it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream when on Saturday I finally walked through the doors of Station 51 like Roy DeSoto in my yellow fire cape and red hat, ready to battle El Fuego. The first thing that caught my eye was the classic fireman’s pole that led from the poker parlor down to the garage. How many nights I had dreamt of hastily crushing out my half-smoked Pall Mall, gulping down my last swig of Joe, throwing on my jacket and leaping onto the pole, anxious to throw my beautiful fur in harm’s way. Against my better judgment I gave the pole a test drive and found to my hind end’s dismay that it is ill-suited for four-legged beasts lacking opposable digits.

My consternation at my swift twenty-foot fall onto unforgiving concrete was quickly dispelled when I set my eyes on the beautiful red chariots that whisk these hose jockeys to and fro. My primary motor carriage experience to this point has been with a Honda Civic, which, needless to say, is a fair bit less impressive than a fire engine and conspicuously lacking in the siren and ladder department. It was immediately apparent upon seeing one of these glorious red machines up close for the first time that I looked absolutely radiant beside it. I must, if ever I have the means, acquire one of these vehicles for myself.

The female two-leggers I was with were, of course, beside themselves flirting with the rather well-proportioned hose jockeys. The slightly-cocked head micro-smiles, the flapping eyelids, inappropriate handling of the hose... Lypstyck Gyrl was literally in one of the firefighter’s pants. I tried my best to hold my notoriously comedic tongue when the axe that was supposed to hang from her belt dragged on the ground due to her abbreviated stature (I’m not exactly Shaquille O’Pig myself, so I shouldn’t laugh).

I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to go racing down La Brea on top of the fire engine or drag a flaming body out of a raging inferno, but I did feel like I was home, if only for a brief while. Reflecting on it now I realize that I prefer the life of leisure and cookies to a life of saving lives and eating flames. Some are born to serve, and others are born to be served. Leave the heavy-lifting and third-degree burns to the two-leggers my canine friends. As for me, I’ll be on my back getting a belly rub from my cookie wench.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Forgive me father, for I have sinned

Hello my vertical friends. My apologies for not having blogged in so long, but I recently suffered the traumatic ordeal of having my claws clipped and have not been myself lately. You two-leggers need to understand that just because you enjoy clipping your nails does not mean that we canines enjoy having ours clipped as well. The same goes for baths and teeth brushing. We dogs do not need your help in maintaining our hygiene, and if you think on occasion we smell, well just be glad you don’t have to smell yourselves with our superior canine olfactory senses. You think we sniff you because it’s pleasant? We sniff you because we can’t believe anything could be so pungent. It’s what Nabokov calls impetus perverse. To be quite honest, I find it remarkable that with the thousands of products you have for grooming, cleaning, and perfuming yourselves you two-leggers still offend the nose more than an animal whose vanity consists of nothing more than a brilliantly evolved tongue.

I am not writing today, however, to grumble about my claws being clipped. No, I am not concerned at this moment in the sins of others. My purpose for this log is absolution; I desire to confess and be absolved of my own sins. What sins, you might ask, could a dog be guilty of? I know that to the human eye we canines seem infallible, but trust me my beloved though naïve two-leggers, we too are capable of misdeeds.

I have come to this desire for absolution because of what I have been seeing on the talking picture box of late. True, the telly is often rife with God-speak; athletes thanking God for guiding their balls, Televangelists soliciting money for their new Wrath of God roller coaster (“so fast it’s sinful!”), your two-legger president doling out more “God bless you”s than a preacher at a compulsive sneezers convention. These past few weeks, however, have been more Godly than most, perhaps because you have felt his wrath more acutely. America’s sweetheart, Terri Shiavo, struck down by God. Yassar Arafat – thunder struck. And now the Pope, flushed down the Divine pooper. Pretty soon they’re going to have to change that show “Punked” to “Smited” (sorry folks, been watching too much Leno).

So now, thanks to the inspiration of the boob tube, I am ready to confess my sins. To clarify, I will not be confessing my sins to any of your human gods. We canines have our own God who is more of a concept than an actual being. Thousands of years ago our doggie ancestors took their paws to the task of putting down on paper the Holy Scriptures – a series of stories, fables, and laws designed to form a moral code by which all canines should live their lives. Of course, we don’t recognize these writings as actual events to be taken seriously, or the word of some all-knowing and all-powerful Dogvinity. That would be silly.

The following sins I confess to you, my blessed readers, to relieve my guilt and allow me to once again accept cookies pure of soul.

Last Monday, while on my morning walk, I crossed paths with a Jewish wiener dog and informed him that he was about to come upon a discarded slice of pepperoni and sausage pizza, thus tempting him with swine.

On the aforementioned walk I also came upon a squirrel and caused him undo stress by chasing him with the intent of eating him.

On Wednesday of last week I was responsible for a security breech, infiltrating the kitchen cabinet to confiscate a package of dried oatmeal, which I subsequently ate. As a result, I had an inordinately soft stool for the next two days and was not able to provide Sareet with the exquisite droppings she so loves to collect.

On three occasions last week I had impure thoughts about cookies.

On Thursday of last week I bared my teeth at Sareet when she attempted to intrude on my couch space.

Two weeks ago I conducted a business transaction with a Shitzu on the Sabbath.

And finally, last Friday I murdered the postman and forged a suicide note to make the bite marks appear self-inflicted.

That last one was, of course, in jest, but I must say my heart feels lighter having at long last obtained absolution. Now that my soul is free of sin I must away to the cabinet and free it of cookies! Farewell, my friends, and may Dog be with you.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

I’ll meet you on the dark side of the moon

Vladimir Nabokov famously referred to himself in the novel Lolita as a “panting maniac.” Roger Waters of Pink Floyd wrote “the lunatic is in the hall.” Well, my friends, this past week a “panting lunatic” was not only “in the hall,” but on my couch. I know not from whence this gentleman came, but he arrived one evening with the impecunious writer fellow who normally inhabits this cushioned lounging area appearing both tranquil and wild-eyed at the same time. I would describe him as outwardly subdued, but with an inner turmoil bubbling inside him. He was quite possibly, as he put it himself, “a twitch away from becoming a psychopath.”

Human eccentricities are a point of amusement and curiosity for me, but not a point of concern so long as I receive sufficient petting and food tributes, both of which this gentleman provided me with. I am, of course, a dog of affairs; sophisticated and well traveled. I have dealt often with those who dwell on the outer fringes of reason, both in canine and human society, so this curious fellow did not put me ill at ease. It was, in fact, of great intellectual recreation for me to observe the ebb and swell of his emotional stability as he and the indigent one consumed whiskey in fearful quantities (they also indulged in some wretched-smelling swill I heard them refer to as “PBR”). The behavior of both gentlemen swung sharply from the height of glee, engaging gigglingly in childish competitions, to the depths of gloom, remaining motionless on the couch staring vacantly at the wall. To be honest, I can’t confirm that what I witnessed was actually gloom or if their brains had just temporarily shut down. I only assume it was gloom because on several occasions in the wee hours the resident degenerate would cook up bacon and eggs for our irregular house guest and he would not even attempt to stir from his prostrate position to sit up and eat. I can’t speak for humans, but in the canine world refusing food is the height of despair.

The gentleman remained with us on and off for a week, and what I found of particular interest was the account he gave of his adventures in a place called Mexico, where he vacationed for a night with the other panting maniac. I believe it would be impolite to relate to you, my sensitive readers, the particulars of this rather scandalous account, but let me just say that this affliction they call “dysentery” sounds quite unpleasant.

Our visitor departed for parts unknown on Tuesday evening with a bit of what Hunter Thompson would call “the fear,” I believe. I will miss the unpredictable air he brought into our home, along with the discarded pizza crusts, but I will enjoy returning to a more leisurely schedule. Thankfully it is shedding season for me, so I will have his scent out of the couch in no time.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Rude awakening

As you may have noticed, I've been updating my blog with less frequencey as of late. I apologize to those of you who rely on my daily revelations to sustain you through the silent desparation of human existence, but please remember that I have two humans to care for, and they're a handful. Just now I was awakened from my mid-day slumber by the jobless one, who was scrubbing the fur on the top of my head with a damp wash cloth. Apparently he took a highlighter to my skull while I slept to amuse himself. Were he not my primary source of cookies and table scraps I assure you he would have felt the sharpness of my teeth by now.

As I mentioned before, there seems to be widespread ignorance among the human population when it comes to identifying various breeds of canines, so over the next few weeks I will attempt to educate you. Today I would like to start with what I refer to as the "yippy" breeds. Yippy dogs, as the better educated among you already know, are those tiny little dogs that bounce around like hummingbirds on crack and emit a high-pitched, ear piercing bark whenever anything happens… anything at all. Though the yippy dogs are widely abhorred in both the human and canine population, they do have some passionate fans – homosexual men, the elderly, and most recently vapid blonde female celebrities. Personally, I find the yippy dogs amusing, primarily because they cause such an annoyance to humans, jumping on them, peeing on them, nipping at their ankles… And even those who truly despise them must admit it’s a bit endearing the way they puff out their little chests like they’re ready to take on a grizzly bear (you won’t find a single one of them that doesn’t have a poster of Scrappy Doo taped to the wall next to his or her bed).

There are many breeds of yippy dogs, so in the interest of catering to the limited human attention span I will focus on only one breed today. Working alphabetically, we will begin with the Affenpinscher, or “monkey terrier” (affen: monkey, pinscher: terrier). This German yipper has an average height of 9 to 11 ½ inches, weighs around 7 to 9 pounds and has a dark “wire” coat approximately 1-inch in length. The Affenpinscher is often a source of mirth for two-leggers because it has a monkey-like face with long eyebrows and a beard (the French call this dog ‘diablotin moustachu’ – moustached little devil). Though abbreviated in stature, the Affenpinscher is sturdy of body with sharp mouse-hunting teeth, so before you point and laugh take a moment to contemplate whether you really believe you can earn a decent living as a castrati.

Like all yippy dogs, the Affenpinscher has energy to spare and bowels that produce surprisingly large fecal deposits for all you poop collectors (always have extra bags on you, as the Affenpinscher will often reward you with multiple emissions). The breed appears to have come into prominence in central Europe in the 17th century, used for digging rodents out of ladies’ lard-crusted bouffant hairdos, warming the laps of royalty, and amusing snot-nosed little brats with their comic antics. Today the Affenpinscher is extremely rare in this country and even in Germany where he first appeared, which is too bad considering he’s one of the few pinschers who is able to interact with other canines with any degree of decorum and civility. If you should happen upon one at the animal shelter and there are no Dalmatians in site, take it home with you (you can sell it for an alarming amount of money).

Well friends, that is all the wisdom I have to impart to you today. Remember to… what the hell do you think you’re doing? You get that cap back on that highlighter right now, you crazy bastard!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Excuse me Rover, but is your human a Pacific Islander?

My human friends, today's post is specifically for you. My apologies for not posting yesterday, but I was busy filling out my bracket for your men's college basketball tournament (my tail wags for Oakland University from Rochester, MI - UNC is for me to poop on!).

Now just so that none of you are offended, I want to say right off the bat that I understand the human capacity for processing information is significantly lower than that of the canine brain. This being the case, I will try to be as clear as possible in describing for you the typical characteristics of those dogs belonging to my particular ethnicity, or breed, as you call it.

I am a Dalmatian. Dalmatians are white with black spots.

Is that clear enough? Over the weekend my human took me with her to a place called Century City, which appears to be some sort of center for commerce. While we were there not one, not two, but three of you human-types had the audacity to ask her what kind of dog I am. I'll repeat that. THEY ASKED HER WHAT KIND OF DOG I AM.

I would like to give you humans the benefit of the doubt and assume that these three just happened to be on leave from the First Methodist Shit For Brains of America clinic, and do not constitute an accurate barometer for human intelligence. Please excuse my language, but I'm a bit aghast at what passes for education in this country and am having difficulty expressing myself in a civil manner. Perhaps it would be best if I just ended this post now with the promise that I will soon be educating you myself on the various ethnicities... I'm sorry, breeds (I just can't get used to that word) of canine so that in the future you will be able to identify them and we won't have to suffer through these embarrassing situations.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Greetings Friday, I've missed you

Another hectic workweek has come to a close for your beloved hero, my friends, and none too soon, I assure you. This afternoon Bob and I were due to make our presentation via satellite feed to the New York office, but were forced to postpone the meeting until Monday when the email with all our figures got mistakenly routed to Judy in accounts receivable. The boss man was none too happy. I had to laugh though because it reminded me of this Dilbert comic I saw taped to the wall next to the 3rd floor water cooler the other day...

This is, of course, all in jest. Such a pitiful episode as what I have described above is thankfully foreign to the canine world. We prefer to enjoy a life of leisure and quiet reflection, leaving the mundane tasks involved in earning money for cookie purchases to you humans. Naturally, if someone were to provide you with cookies free of charge I’m sure you would not engage in these practices either. You do not, however, have that luxury and a number of you do provide me with cookies, so I’ll use this blog today to extend my appreciation to all you two-leggers, silly though you may be. Happy Friday to the Homos! (that is the correct abbreviation for Homo sapiens, isn’t it?)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I am the Pig, koo-koo katchoo

Today, my friends, the Pig writes to you in a state of mind that can only be described as conflicted. The cookie crisis has thankfully come to an end without bloodshed, but in those trying days without cookie I was forced to reflect and re-evaluate the path I have chosen in this the first of my nine lives (my grandmother on my father's side was a cat).

As a puppy growing up on the streets of Husky, North Dakota (not ironically the fattest city in the US, before Detroit got their eat on), I dreamt of being the first Dalmatian to compete in the Iditarod. What greater display is there of canine superiority than to pull feeble two-leggers 1,150 miles at top speed across the snow? How many cookies would such a feet warrant? Many, my friends. Many.

These dreams, of course, were often challenged by the powers that be. "Dalmatians are meant for the fire racket," they'd say. "Why do you think you're wearing that fireman's hat?" I assure you dear reader, it is not my wont to diminish life of even the lowest form, but for a dog to risk paws and tail for a half charred two-legger who has never once supplied her with cookies is, in my humble opinion, a foolish endeavor. I tip my 40 to those who've given their lives in such a cause, but the hotdog life was never for me.

Why can't a Dalmatian pull sleds in the Iditarod, I asked myself. Though I be a woman of sophistication, even I am not immune to dreams of fame and glory. But the yearning in my heart went beyond such shallow interests. I dreamt of a day when a dog would not be judged by the color of her pelt, but by the content of her character.

I did not, though it was suggested to me many times, give up on my Iditarod dreams. At the age of two I made the arduous journey to Anchorage, Alaska, carrying nothing on my person save a handfull of poop bags and 20 lbs. of cookies. Sadly, my person died of hypothermia somewhere around Fairbanks, but I persevered and arrived ready to prove my mettle.

In my Quixotic quest to make the Iditarod team I learned an important lesson - though Huskies may be... how can I say this politely... a little al dente in the noodle and have a rather unimpressive coat as compared to the Dalmation, they are really, really goddamn strong and function surprisingly well for hours on end without cookies. Not five minutes into tryouts I found myself pining for the couch.

Over time I accepted that I would never compete in the storied Iditarod, not so much because of my physical make-up, but because of my love of lounging. For a number of years the thought weighed heavily on my mind that in pursuing my pipe dream of becoming a sled dog I may have missed out on my chance at glory as a firedog. Yes, I do believe it's a bit of a silly endeavor, but it's certainly not without its rewards in fame and cookies. As I said at the beginning of this blog, these thoughts have been troubling me greatly as of late, but alas I have reached some important conclusions about life and my role in this crazy world. What I have determined is... wait, who's that going into the kitchen? Is that a cookie I smell? Oh, that is definitely a cookie.