Friday, December 30, 2005

Break out the checkbooks

I have a big announcement today, my fellow creations of the intelligent designer that is Allah. This is an opportunity that many of you will not want to pass up. At long last, enrollment has begun for the first annual Ayatollah Mugsy's Youth Indoctrination Camp. This summer camp will take place July 8-15 at and around my Texas compound. Among the activities that await the first 40 lucky children and puppies to sign up:

  • Dog-paddle races across Lake Lewisville.
  • Archery. Children will learn to shoot an apple off of their fellow campers' heads. Of course, they will all be wearing turbans as part of their camp uniforms for added safety.
  • Multiple daily nap times.
  • Printmaking.
  • Intense religious instruction, with severe penalties for laggards.
  • Sumo wrestling.
  • Knitting-for-dogs lessons.
  • Daily rawhide-chewing sessions, to promote healthy teeth and gums.
  • Tug-of-war competitions.
  • Hazing.
  • Firearms training.

The camp's top performers may be eligible for membership in the prestigious Mugsy Youth. All campers will be expected to memorize the Quran and Mugsy's Manifesto, an 800-page treatise on canine Islam and pug nationalism, in advance. The fee is $550 for human children and $75 for puppies. Enrollment ends March 31, so don't delay. Space is limited. E-mail me or leave a comment for further details.

Ayatollah Mugsy and Pug Life Ministries are not responsible for the safety and welfare of campers. Additional fees for uniforms, food and rawhide apply. All payments are nonrefundable.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Duck hunt

With all due respect to Mallard (to whom I paid tribute in my last post), I predict that the Ducks are in for a de-feathering tonight. May Allah bless the Sooners.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ode to friendship

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize one of my dearest friends. There is no special occasion, no big event serving as a catalyst for my remarks. I simply want to tell Mallard how much I appreciate his friendship. Mallard has led a rough life, and I cannot help but feel at least partly to blame. But through it all, Mallard has remained a loyal friend. When I need a shoulder to gnaw on, Mallard is there. When I need to hear a friend's voice, he is always quick to quack at me. Most of my friends fall silent after a few weeks, but Mallard remains as loquacious as ever. You wear the scars of friendship well, Mallard. The next time we go out to eat, I'll pick up the bill.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Oh, mother

My mother found a way to lock herself out of the house on Friday. On top of that, her car battery was dead. Were it not for the kindness of a pair of FOPs (Friends of the Pug) who came to her rescue, she would have probably frozen to death -- if she had not starved first. While mother was enjoying a bountiful feast at the stately FOP manor, I was stuck inside the ayatollah compound for about 12 hours straight -- with no dinner until the wee hours of the morning. It is not an experience I wish to repeat. At around 9:30, I prayed that Allah would grant me opposable thumbs so that I could open the door and step outside. But the evening did not leave me bitter. In fact, in the spirit of the season, I left mother a present on the rug.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The latest buzz

Today's lesson, my friends, is about a small but fast-growing sect of Islam. You may have heard of some of the faith's larger branches. There are the Shiites and the Sunnis, the two main divisions, who split over the leadership of the faith centuries ago. There is the Nation of Islam, the 75-year-old sect born in the holy Motor City of Detroit. There are the Sufis, a mystical bunch known for their twirling meditative dances (the phrase "whirling Dervish" originally referred to the Sufis, and if I ever figure out how to post a video, I will show you a whirling pug Dervish in action after taking a bath). And finally, there are the Pugbees of Portugal.

The Pugbees have garnered little attention from the mainstream media, but their ranks are growing rapidly. They are known for their strong moral character, their magnificent costumes and their undying devotion to Pug Life Ministries. Under the direction of the charismatic JB, these Pugbees have pledged to defend Pug Life against all enemies, their stingers at the ready.

To learn more about the Pugbees, click here. As of this writing, the site contains photos of three Pugbees -- all majestic, proud, utterly adorable servants of Pug Life. You'll want to scroll to the bottom to see them all. Who knows; perhaps it will inspire you to become a Pugbee. The site also includes a special tribute to a great and wise leader. Pugbees, I salute you. We all salute you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Blame it on 'Earl'

As you know, I take my duties as a leading pug religious scholar very seriously. So it is with great regret and embarrassment that I come to you now. You see, the biggest scholarly event of the decade took place last night, and I missed it. Did anyone happen to tape the Barbara Walters special "Heaven: Where Is It? How Do We Get There?"?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Best wishes, Bud

I would like to share with you the inspiring story of Bud, a loyal pug who is learning to walk on his new prosthetic paw.

Click here for the story.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Pay no mind to that clicking on the phone

It has come to my attention that the news media have been reporting some unflattering things about me. They say I've been spying on my congregation, using illegal wiretaps. An abuse of my immense power, they call it. My lawyer has advised me not to address these outrageous charges directly. But I will say this: I would not think of employing such methods if I did not believe they were in the best interests of Pug Life Ministries. There are many who would do us harm, so we must take mosqueland security seriously. Hypothetically speaking, it might become necessary to monitor the communications or food intake of a suspected enemy of the congregation to ensure our safety. It is understandable if this sort of talk frightens you, for it is unsettling to think of such evildoers. But you can take comfort in the knowledge that I am here to protect you. If necessary, I will do what the legal authorities will not. Why? Because I care about you, and I care about this congregation -- the greatest interfaith, interspecies ministry in the world. God bless Pug Life.

Mideast summit wrap-up

Greetings, my faithful flock. I am sure you have all been eagerly awaiting a recap of this weekend's Mideast peace summit, so I will jump right into it. As I last reported, I placed an urgent phone call to George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton. The summit was not going well, and I thought that perhaps this humanitarian duo could help. Unfortunately, they had a flat tire near Conroe. Then, upon realizing that their AAA membership had lapsed, the former presidents got into an argument over who had forgotten to pay the bill. It escalated into a fistfight, and, suffice it to say, they never arrived. (For those who are curious, I hear that Clinton landed a few good blows but that the 81-year-old Bush was the clear winner. And they called him a wimp ...)

So it was up to Rabbi Jake and me to straighten out these feuding factions. And straighten them out we did. Rabbi Jake went to work on the Israelis, using his icy stare to restore order and quell their in-fighting. I delivered a powerful sermon to bring the Palestinians in line. Then we sat back down at the table and went to work. The talks dragged on into Sunday morning, beyond our scheduled ending time. But tremendous progress was made. In fact, I believe we were no more than a half-hour away from signing a full-fledged peace treaty that would have given the Palestinians land and sovereignty and guaranteed the Israelis peace. However, as visions of the Nobel peace prize danced through my head, we received bad news.
Ariel Sharon had suffered a mild stroke. The Israeli delegation had to leave quickly, and Sharon's German shepherd was visibly shaken. So Mideast peace will have to wait for another day. I am already working to organize a second summit. God willing, I will win that Nobel prize. Oh, and we'll have Mideast peace, too.

Incidentally, Shimon Peres' pug, Shlomo, tells me that Sharon is expected to make a full recovery. This is good news, but I would feel much better about Sharon's situation if his medical team included a dog or two.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

On the brink

The talks have degenerated into little more than growling and baring of teeth. I must summon all of my diplomatic powers to keep this peace process from falling apart. Rabbi Jake and I have pulled out all the stops, placing a phone call to our secret weapon. As I type this, the humanitarian odd couple of 2005 -- George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton -- are speeding down the highway in their jointly owned Winnebago. We must pray that they arrive before it is too late.

Disaster averted ... for now

Moments ago, the Palestinian delegation stormed out of the talks, angry over the Israeli stance on canine refugees' right of return. They were halfway to the street before my mother was able to lure them back. She had to resort to yelling, "Want a biscuit?" while shaking my treat jar vigorously. She coaxed them back to the bargaining table, but it is a tenuous situation at best. Pray for us. More to come ...

We may be at this all night

What a tense day of negotiations. Although it is far too early to say whether this summit will lead to a breakthrough in the Mideast, I know that the world is eager to learn what has transpired thus far. Our first few hours were spent discussing the proposal by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to move the Jews to Alaska or Canada. But it became clear that the Israeli delegation was adamantly opposed -- it seems they are not fond of wearing doggie sweaters. I cannot say that I blame them. In the afternoon, we engaged in team-building exercises in which each attendee would leave a dog biscuit in the middle of the floor and turn his back, trusting that no one would take it. That did not go well. I am strongly considering canceling Saturday's tug-of-war trust exercise. The future of Jerusalem was also a major topic of discussion. I must go now; our 15-minute rawhide break is nearly over. More to come ...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A momentous weekend approaches

Greetings, fellow creatures of Allah. I have begun to make preparations for a great meeting of the minds. This weekend, my schnauzer friend Rabbi Jake is coming to Texas. I have known Rabbi Jake since he was a young pup, and I am looking forward to visiting with him again. But it will not be all fun and games. No, we will have serious work to do: Rabbi Jake and I are hosting a two-day forum on Mideast peace. And my optimism is as boundless as rawhide is delicious. You see, Jake and I did not get along so well when we were younger. Anytime I would enter his house, he would yap with unrelenting and ear-splitting fury. But as Jake has aged and mellowed, I believe that he has come to appreciate my pugly qualities. He now enjoys (or at least tolerates) the soothing sounds of my breathing. If the two of us -- a Jewish schnauzer and a Muslim pug -- can find friendship, then, God willing, the Israelis and Palestinians can forge a lasting peace.

Though Rabbi Jake and I will be moderating the discussions, we will not be alone. Ariel Sharon's German shepherd will attend, as will Mahmoud Abbas' miniature pinscher. And Shimon Peres' pug, Shlomo, will be a special guest speaker. I have heard Shlomo bark, and I promise you, it is something to behold. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are boycotting (big surprise), but that's OK. They aren't much fun to hang around with anyway. And I always feel like I have to hide the valuables when they come over.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Winter cleaning

It's been a slow couple of days around the ayatollah household, aside from the whole IAEA hostage drama. I've been trying to do a little cleaning and reorganizing. One by one, I've been gathering up all the shoes in the house and taking them to my father in the living room. But he doesn't seem to get the message. They would look perfect if he would just stack them all on the mantel, but he keeps thanking me and then taking them to the closet. These humans can be really dense sometimes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A second open letter to Mohamed ElBaradei

Mohamed ElBaradei
Director General
International Atomic Energy Agency
P.O. Box 100
Wagramer Strasse 5, A-1400
Vienna, Austria

Mr. ElBaradei,

Well, my old nemesis, I believe I have let you sweat this out long enough. I must say, I am rather impressed that you have been able to keep the press from finding out about your latest misstep. Your powers of media manipulation are almost as great as mine. Almost.

But on to the point: You have no doubt noticed the absence of three of your top nuclear inspectors. I am sure that you recall dispatching them to my residence during last week’s ice storm. Had you heeded my earlier warning, you wouldn’t have had to go into full cover-up mode, trying to keep the world from finding out that your trespassing operation had met with a disastrous end. But fear not, Mr. ElBaradei. Your inspectors are alive. Thanks to the subarctic temperature, my in-ground sprinkler system and pug ingenuity, this trio of interlopers is now cryogenically frozen. Their pulses have slowed to a faint blip; their brain activity has all but ceased. But we pugs possess the technology to safely thaw them. That is where you come in, Mr. ElBaradei.

I propose a trade. I will return your inspectors, and you will never again trouble Pug Life Ministries. Really, what concern is it of yours if I use a light-water nuclear reactor to power my blogging station? In addition, I want a briefcase full of unmarked rawhide left in the recycling bin outside my residence. You have 24 hours to agree to my demands. Don’t even think about sending a rescue mission; if you do, I may accidentally drop your inspectors on the hard tile floor of my kitchen. And I would hate to have to make my mother clean up such a mess.

You have been granted an opportunity to save face, Mr. ElBaradei. I suggest you don’t blow it.

Supreme Ayatollah
Pug Life Ministries

Monday, December 12, 2005

Give the pug its due

The most tragically underused mascot in all of athletics has got to be "Pugs," and this has long vexed me. Pugs are noble creatures who will bring honor to any team they represent. Pugs are fearsome when provoked, capable of literally running circles around their competition. Pugs are a handsome breed, and the pug visage would certainly look sharp on any uniform. Yet no major American sports team has chosen this proud mascot. Instead, we have the NFL's Cleveland franchise, named after the color brown. We have the NBA's Indiana Pacers, named for one of the auto industry's less-than-shining moments. We have not one but two Major League Baseball teams named after smelly footwear. Pugs are equally absent from the college ranks. Not a single Division I-A team calls itself the Pugs, yet countless schools would benefit from making the switch. How many Wildcats and Tigers do we really need?

The only team I have found that carries the proud Pug moniker is from a small high school in Oklahoma. But look at the symbol of the Paoli Pugs above -- that is not even a pug! It is clearly a bulldog. So I am launching a petition drive today to right this wrong. It is time for Indiana's NBA franchise to stop paying homage to the most underwhelming design of the American Motor Co. I propose that the next time Ron Artest brawls with a fan, he does so as a member of the Indianapolis Rampaging Pugs. Your comment below will serve as your signature. Through this grass-roots effort, we will properly recognize the pug breed's many contributions to mankind.

The war on Christmas?

There has been much ado in recent weeks about the "war on Christmas." Bill O’Reilly, the Rev. Jerry Falwell and others have done their best to persuade us that this nefarious plot threatens the American way of life, that ACLU storm troopers will descend upon anyone who dares to utter the phrase "Merry Christmas." As a leading religious scholar, I feel that it is my duty to tell you the truth: It is all hogwash.

If a store chooses to wish you "Happy Holidays" or "Season’s Greetings," how can you possibly interpret it as an attack on Christmas? There are several perfectly legitimate reasons why a store might choose to use these generic holiday greetings. For one, not everyone celebrates Christmas. Why would a retailer want to risk offending its Hindu or atheist or canine Muslim customers? I am not suggesting that retailers should avoid saying "Merry Christmas" – in fact, a cashier at Wal-Mart wished me a Merry Christmas on Sunday, and I returned the greeting. But "Happy Holidays" is an inclusive greeting, and it is perfectly understandable if businesses prefer to use it. Another reason stores may prefer "Happy Holidays" is that this is truly a season of holidays -- plural. It begins around Thanksgiving, runs through Hanukkah and Christmas and Kwanzaa and Festivus, and concludes with New Year’s. And the bowl games. One of the rallying cries of this "Save Christmas" movement is that "It’s OK to say Merry Christmas." I think we can all decide for ourselves what we would like to say, thank you very much. To presume to put words into the mouths of others is arrogance, pure and simple. And as regular readers of this blog know, arrogance is not tolerated here.

I read on another fine blog the story of a shopper who was so offended when a Lowe’s employee wished her "Happy Holidays" that she lectured the store manager on the true meaning of Christmas and returned all of her merchandise. Even President Bush has been assailed because his holiday greeting cards do not explicitly mention Christmas (though they do contain a verse from the Old Testament book of Psalms). "I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it," Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site, told the Washington Post.

What would Jesus do? Throw a temper tantrum because people were trying to be respectful of one another? I think not. Wasn't it just a few years ago that the big complaint was that Christmas was too commercialized? And now these busy-bodies want to marry Christmas and commerce? Methinks somebody is just out to stir up trouble.

If Falwell, O'Reilly and the other organizers of this nonsense were really interested in doing something positive (rather than fomenting conflict and lining their wallets), they could urge their fans and followers to tackle any number of real problems. Feed a hungry child. Help a poor family stay warm this winter. Adopt a dog from a shelter. Tithe 10 percent of your earnings to Pug Life Ministries. (It's really quite easy, you know. There is a PayPal button to your right. Or I can help you arrange an automatic deduction from your paycheck. That way, you won't even notice the money is gone. And through the power of compound interest, it will grow and grow in the Pug Life coffers. Did you know that Albert Einstein once called compound interest the greatest mathematical discovery of all time?)

I fear that I have already devoted far too much space to this silly manufactured controversy, this feeble attempt to embrace victimhood. But if anyone would care to take issue with my teachings or boycott Pug Life, I would welcome your comments. And if you'd care to protest, well, you bring the picketers and I'll supply the blank signs and markers. Merry Christmas, all.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Winter has finally arrived in North Texas -- with a vengeance. The temperature has fallen below 20 degrees, and it has been sleeting on and off since Wednesday afternoon. It is times like these when I envy you humans and your indoor restrooms. I had important Pug Life business to attend to in downtown Dallas yesterday, and I did not begin my drive home until after 11 p.m. At this point, the roads were a slippery mess. I believe it would be safe to call the journey back to my suburban compound a white-knuckle ride, though I cannot be certain of this. My fur prevents me from discerning the true color of my knuckle skin at any given time. In any event, it took about twice as long as usual to make the trip, because I didn't exceed 40 mph on the highway.

Upon my return to the ayatollah estate, I heard a strange clicking noise coming from the back yard. I crept around the side of the house for a closer look, and what did I see? A team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, scanning the frozen ground with a Geiger counter. Curse that
Mohamed ElBaradei! But it was I who would have the last laugh -- thank Allah for my in-ground sprinkler system.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Jockeying for the next Nobel prize

A human researcher has discovered that dogs laugh when playing together. Of course, this comes as no surprise to me. What's next? Will humans discover that we canines like to sniff each other's behinds? The researcher also found that when a recording of canine laughter was played in a kennel full of barking dogs, it caused the dogs to go silent within a minute and then seem completely at peace. This makes sense. It is the equivalent of letting human prison inmates watch Chappelle's Show on their cable TV.

In another breakthrough, humans have developed a
cell phone for dogs. I'll pass; the last thing I need is another way for telemarketers to reach me.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mugosaurus update

Thanks to Friends of McDougal, the great question has been answered. As this mysterious, faceless character said: "That is clearly a salamander." Specifically, I believe, it is the barred tiger salamander, the official state amphibian of Kansas. Friends of McDougal, I thank you for your service to the ministry. If you would like to receive an autographed photo of me as a token of my gratitude, simply send an e-mail to with your contact information.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Mugsy issues fatwa

It is time to right one of the great wrongs of modern society. For the betterment of all man- and pugkind, I must issue a fatwa! I hereby declare that it is impermissible for anyone to take a baby with a propensity for crying to a theater for a grown-up movie. Last night, I went to see Pride and Prejudice, and the movie was repeatedly interrupted by a crying baby in the front. (I know what you must be thinking: Mugsy must have really liked that little beagle he met at the dog park to let her drag him to such a chick flick. But the movie was all right.) Pug Life faithful, there is no chance that a baby will enjoy such a movie. Leave the child with a babysitter, or stay home and rent a DVD. Do not subject the rest of us to the dangers of this ticking baby timebomb. A few weeks ago, I witnessed a similar transgression. While engrossed in the R-rated Marine movie Jarhead (no, I am not making this up), I was repeatedly distracted by a baby's wailing. Clearly, the parent of the year was at the AMC Stonebriar 24.

Those impudent enough to defy this fatwa shall face consequences most severe. Violators are to have their heads dunked repeatedly in a vat of the semi-viscous liquid that serves as movie-popcorn butter. The dunkings shall stop only after the offender's head has turned bloated and jaundiced. At this point, the offender shall be placed in the stocks in a public square, and I personally shall lick all of the movie-popcorn butter from his or her pores. And make no mistake; this will be a harsh licking. God willing, I will see my next movie in peace.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Let the pug take you away

Throughout recorded history, few phrases have evoked more groans than, "Let me show you my vacation photos." Nonetheless, I have created a blog of travel photos. It's something that I've been wanting to do for a while, because I've enjoyed looking at similar Web sites as I plot future vacations and military conquests. I've been on two vacations this year -- one to Las Vegas and one to Europe. I didn't bother posting any photos from Las Vegas, because it was more of a working vacation. Rather than sight-seeing, I spent most of my time prudently investing mosque funds at various casinos. But I saw many a sight in London and Paris, and through it all, I had my camera in my paws.

If you're interested in visiting The Ayatollah's Travels, you can
click here. There's also a link in the right-hand rail. You can enlarge the photos on the travel blog by clicking on them.

Friday, December 02, 2005

What is it?

Does anyone know what this lizard/amphibian/dinosaur is? I spotted it in my grandparents' driveway in Oklahoma City a few days ago. I tried to minister to the roughly 8-inch-long creature, but it adopted a rather menacing pose when I approached it, its tail arching upward. Needless to say, my hackles shot skyward. It didn't look like the typical Oklahoma City wildlife, so I surmised that perhaps it was an escaped or abandoned pet. Surely one of the amateur herpetologists of the congregation can identify this monster.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My life: A vision of vengeance

Previous installments of this autobiographical series are available in the right-hand rail, under the heading "Mugsy's Biography."

Chapter X
The trap had been set hours earlier. I had my girlfriend at the time, pop singer Mariah Carey, call Galvez. "I'll be lonely when they send my pug-man away to prison," she told him. "You wanna get together tonight?" Galvez was always interested in taking what was mine, and he'd had his eye on Mariah for months. It was an offer he couldn't refuse. Mariah's cell phone rang while they were at dinner, and she told Galvez that it was her uncle. He had asked her to pick something up at his auto salvage yard nearby. "It'll only take five minutes," she told Galvez playfully.

And now they were here. The black Mercedes slowly crept up to the salvage yard's main office. Mariah jumped out of the convertible and skipped toward the door. "I'll be back in a sec, baby," she said, looking over her shoulder as she spoke. Then she disappeared into the office. I sprang into action, using the salvage yard's crane to position a massive container over Galvez's car. He looked up, startled. But it was too late for Galvez. I pulled back on a cable, causing the contents of the container to spill out. Hundreds of gallons rained down on Galvez, filling his car and pooling on the ground around it. Then I manipulated the crane's controls some more, causing my second ghastly ingredient to fall down on Galvez.

After descending from the crane, I strode toward my old nemesis. He was coughing violently. Feathers flew forth from his mouth as he struggled for breath. Finally, he cleared his throat, but he remained dazed. The warm tar coated his entire body. The feathers clung to him. Vengeance was sweet! But I wasn't finished yet. "Mugsy? Is that you?" he said, straining to turn his head. "I'm sorry, man. I never meant to betray you." I put on thick gloves and boots as I walked up behind him, not wanting to get any tar on my fur. I clamped my paws around his neck, ready to deliver the coup de grace. "Mugsy, please ..." he whimpered. But I wasn't in the mood for mercy. A loud "SNAP!" echoed throughout the salvage yard, letting all within earshot know that pug justice had just been delivered -- with extreme prejudice.

Then my cell phone rang. It was Johnnie Cochran, delivering urgent news about my trial. After hanging up, I walked around to the front of the Mercedes to admire my handiwork. There was Galvez, tarred and feathered, straining to see over the cone that I had snapped around his neck moments earlier. "Galvez," I said gruffly, "now you know what happens when you mess with the pug."

After giving Mariah the all-clear to leave the office, we were on our way to the courthouse. We had 20 minutes to get there. The verdict was in.

To be continued

When the acting roles dry up

Dick Van Patten eats dog food. I believe that nothing more needs to be said.