Friday, August 26, 2005

Visiting the Sooner State

I recently traveled to Oklahoma, the homeland of my adoptive parents, to help officiate a wedding. I'm not terribly optimistic about the married future of the not-so-happy couple (it's probably not a good sign when the groom takes a long pause -- an uneasy look on his face -- before repeating the "till death do us part" statement). But the reception featured a chocolate fountain, which made the trip to Stillwater almost worthwhile. Among the guests was Eddie Sutton, the basketball coach at Oklahoma State University, and I was astonished to learn that the normally hangdog coach is capable of smiling. The day after the nuptials, I traveled to Oklahoma City, where I dined at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill. I'm generally not a fan of country music, but I must confess a soft spot for Mr. Keith. It must be his sense of humor, or perhaps the smell of his boot. In any case, the food was good and the portions gigantic. My chicken-fried steak was bigger than my turban.

The Capitalist Pug's stock picks

Humans are often surprised to hear that I consider myself a capitalist pug. "But Mugsy," they say, "aren't you bent on establishing a theocratic state that you will rule over with an iron paw?" Yes, it is true that I am working to set up an autonomous pug homeland in the American Southwest, with all residents subject to Sharia law and my own personal whims. But that doesn't mean I'm a communist or in any way anti-capitalist. Money is the lifeblood of revolution, after all. And so I would like to launch this occasional series to share my investing knowledge with the masses. I consider myself to be, for the most part, a value investor -- in the mold of Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham. I also have a bit of a contrarian streak; I'm not afraid to buy when everybody else is heading for the exits. So when a growing, high-quality company hits a 52-week low, it catches my attention. It doesn't hurt that this is a company whose stores I am quite familiar with.

Shares of
PetsMart (PETM) dropped 13.5 percent on Thursday after the company reported disappointing second-quarter results and management lowered its guidance for fiscal 2005. PetsMart has produced excellent long-term results, and I believe this drop in the share price has created an excellent buying opportunity. Demographic trends favor continued growth for PetsMart, as more and more people experience the joys of pet ownership. The company has ample opportunity to gain market share, with plans to double its store base. Its price-to-earnings growth ratio of 1 and P/E of 20 are both below the industry average, though PetsMart is a superior company with an unparalleled selection of halaal rawhide. The dividend yield is a paltry 0.5 percent, but it has increased 200 percent over the last year. Long-term investors can benefit greatly by buying companies that steadily increase dividends. The decline in PetsMart's share price may not be over -- it's down over 30 percent this year -- and the company's troubles could continue in the short term. But I believe PetsMart is a solid long-term investment. I wouldn't hesitate to buy at under $26 a share.

Full disclosure -- The ayatollah does not own shares of PetsMart, but he is planning to break open his puggy bank.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

This ministry can't stand pat

Pat Robertson, that enlightened font of televangelistic wisdom, has apologized for calling for the assassination of the democratically elected president of Venezuela. Of course, he didn't apologize right away. First he lied during Wednesday's airing of "The 700 Club," using the old-standby excuse that the media had taken his earlier remarks out of context. Never mind that he was on the air Monday when he said the following about Hugo Chavez: "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. ... We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability." He also made the baffling assertion that Mr. Chavez was bent on exporting Islamic extremism across the Americas. Venezuela is, apparently, a hotbed of Islamic extremism. Now, I'm not upset by what Mr. Robertson said. This is the man who a couple of years ago suggested that it would be a good idea to detonate a "very small nuke" at the State Department headquarters; I've come to expect such wackiness. I'm fairly certain that he believes the Teletubbies are homosexuals, even if he hasn't said so publicly. What bothers me is that Mr. Robertson has a TV show, and I don't. If anyone ever had a mug for television, surely it is I. So I've set out to rectify this injustice. My first step: Writing an unsolicited letter to a television network. God willing, I will take my ministry to the airwaves. If any of you television-savvy readers have any suggestions or prime-time time slots to offer, I'd be happy to hear from you.

Friday, August 19, 2005

I smell a Ratzinger

I'd like to share with you a dispatch from Pope Pius Pug, my business partner, er, fellow religious leader in Pug Life Ministries. On his latest trip abroad, to Germany, he encountered an apparently deranged man who claimed to be the pope. This imposter had even gone so far as to call himself "God's Rottweiler," though he was quite clearly a human. Members of the elite Swiss Guard took the man, Joseph Ratzinger, into custody as he was giving a speech at a synagogue in Cologne. Pope Pius Pug promised me that Mr. Ratzinger would receive some "old-style Vatican justice." Amen to that.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

My life: The wind cries Mary

Chapter V
I was hovering about an inch above rock bottom. Like
this guy. My addiction was controlling my life. Before, I'd chewed on the panties. Now it seemed like the panties were chewing on me. I stopped going on walks, stopped going to the dog park. Rolling around all day in a room full of women's undergarments, all I could think about was that next fix.

As I chewed on a nice pair that I'd picked up at a show in Miami a few nights before, I moved to the television remote control. My paw nimbly flipped through the channels. Soap operas. Reruns. Talk shows. One of my music videos. Then I saw the local news, and I was transfixed by the on-screen headline. It was like a gust of wind -- as if from the lungs of almighty Allah himself -- struck me square in the face, penetrating to the deepest recesses of my wrinkle to plant the seeds of epiphany. "Mary Kay Convention Coming to Big D." So read that fateful headline. More than 50,000 women descending upon Dallas, nearly all of them, presumably, clad in underwear. Even better, this story focused on a downtown hotel that would be hosting a huge contingent of pink-Cadillac-driving cosmetics saleswomen. The Hyatt Regency Dallas had set aside each of its 1,122 rooms solely for conventioneers. It was the mother lode.

To be continued

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Giddy up, little dogie

The rodeo is coming to North Texas. But not just any rodeo. This is a rodeo that exemplifies the spirit of interspecies cooperation that Pug Life Ministries seeks to foster. This photo sums it up.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

My life: Descent into addiction

Chapter IV
We all have our vices. Some smoke cigarettes. Some drink too much. Some gamble away their savings. My vice of choice has always been women's underwear. Some chew tobacco; I chew panties. Cotton or satin, thong or granny panty, I love 'em all. When I was a pup, I would burrow through the laundry pile, find some lingerie to my liking, and then chew the day away. When we'd have visitors, I'd find a way to open up their suitcase. Guests were always shocked -- and more than a little embarrassed -- when I came rocketing into the room with their underwear hanging from my mouth, my head shaking furiously. Anything to get my fix. As I gained fame as the Notorious M.U.G., my access to panties grew exponentially. I was like a slightly less wrinkly Tom Jones. Every night, women would fling their panties onto the stage. They couldn't help themselves. By the end of the show, I'd have panties hanging from my tail, panties draped across my back, and, of course, a fresh pair hanging from my jowls. What began as an occasional vice had become a full-fledged addiction. I hired a crew of roadies whose sole responsibility was to gather up each night's underwear haul. It reached a point where I couldn't even go into the recording studio without a few pounds of panties to get me through the session. I was a junkie, pure and simple. And I was about to encounter the ultimate temptation.
To be continued

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A bargain, indeed

I have always been a believer in the value of a good education. Even before I graduated from PetsMart at the top of my class, I knew that knowledge could be my scimitar in the battle for a fulfilling life. So I'd like to share with you a few numbers. It would cost you about $4,500 a year to study theology at Ankara University. At Baylor University's Truett Theological Seminary, tuition and fees run more than three times that -- about $15,500 a year. This blog offers you a superior religious education, free of charge -- and you don't have to move to Turkey or suffer the indignity of calling yourself a Baylor Bear to take advantage of it. You will never find a better educational value than this. In a completely unrelated note, I'd like to point out that Pug Life Ministries now has an online offering plate. To donate to Pug Life, simply click on the PayPal icon below my handsome mug on the right side of the page. You can contribute with a major credit card, a checking account, a PayPal account or food stamps. Allah smiles on the generous.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mugsy condemns canine cloning

The day that we have long dreaded is upon us. Scientists have announced the first successful cloning of a dog. Lesser animals have been cloned in the past -- sheep, cats, tadpoles. But to create a dog in a laboratory is truly to play Allah. I condemn this most reprehensible act, and I call for an immediate end to research on canine cloning. God help us all.

My life: The gangsta rap biz

Chapter III
I was trapped in my apartment. My human parents moved the furniture so that I couldn't jump onto it. Several times a day, they'd put me through strenuous rehab exercises. It was a brutal summer. Unable to leave the crib, I poured my feelings out, writing and rhyming about what I knew best.

Betrayed by da boss,
my tail came uncurled,
Galvez, watch your back,
can't hide nowhere in this world.

I vowed to make something of my life, and my rapping skills would be my ticket to the big time. Rapper-producer Dr. Dre came across a mix tape of my rhymes, and he took me under his wing. Then things started happening quickly. My bark propelled N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton" to platinum status. After I got a couple of paychecks under my collar, I knew that I had to get my folks out of the Dallas ghetto. I couldn't bear to see them live in that one-bedroom apartment anymore. So I bought them a house in the well-to-do northern suburbs. After the doctor cleared me -- my knee as good as new -- I went on tour with N.W.A. We were rolling in the dough -- buying gold chew toys, diamond-studded collars. But I knew that I could do more. It was a difficult decision, but I felt that my homies in N.W.A. were holding me back. It was time to go solo. I still remember how Eazy-E cried when I broke the news; he begged me to stay. "Sorry, Eazy," I told him. "I've got to make my money." Three months later, I debuted at No. 1 on the charts. I dropped my N.W.A. moniker, MC Muggy Pug, in favor of a new name: The Notorious M.U.G. The paychecks and crowds grew bigger. You couldn't turn on the radio without hearing my songs. I was on the cover of "Rolling Stone." But the more money I came across, the more problems I'd see.

To be continued

Monday, August 01, 2005

My life: The setup

Chapter II:
I was making so much money for Mara Salvatrucha that I began to attract the attention of the group's top leaders. But rather than feel gratitude for my contributions, they felt nervousness. They feared that I would usurp their positions and take over the gang. Given my natural charisma, their fears were understandable. But I was a team player. Unfortunately,
Juan Carlos Galvez didn't realize this. He flew in from El Salvador and told me he wanted to meet with me. He said he had big plans for me -- the biggest rawhide heist ever. It was 3 a.m. when I wandered into that industrial park in West Dallas. I didn't even see it coming. The next thing I knew, I was lying on a table at the veterinary hospital, the victim of a gangland ambush. Galvez had betrayed me, set me up. I was rushed into surgery to repair my broken knee; I still wear the scar as a reminder. After surgery, I was in for months of rehab. Even worse, I had to wear that damn cone on my head.
To be continued