Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mugsy stepping down as ayatollah

Friends, I come to you today to announce a momentous career change. I am hereby stepping down as supreme ayatollah of Pug Life Ministries to focus full-time on my pursuit of a professional bowling career. This has been a dream of mine for several weeks, so I hope you will all understand why I have made this difficult decision. It is true that I have a long way to go to realize my dream of competing in -- and winning -- Professional Bowlers Association-sanctioned events. In truth, I have yet to finish a game without those inflatable bumpers blocking the gutters. For a 27-pound pug to roll a 12-pound ball down the lane with any accuracy is no easy task. But I am dedicated, and I have faith. I have overcome much in my life -- being given up by my mother, a puppyhood in the hardscrabble Dallas ghetto, a criminal past, a crippling panty addiction. Each time one of these problems popped up, I knocked it down -- just as I intend to knock down those 10 pins, frame after frame after frame.

For those of you who have grown accustomed to visiting this site to find answers to your problems and fatwas to guide you in your day-to-day life, this may seem like bad news. I apologize for leaving you in a spiritual lurch. Henceforth, this blog will chronicle my attempt to break into the professional bowling circuit. It will include scores, interesting bowling links and perhaps an occasional bowling tip. But for spiritual guidance, you will have to look elsewhere. I hope you will support me as I embark on this exciting new chapter in my life.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Deadline approaches

Pug Lifers, I come to you today with an important reminder: The deadline to enroll your children in the Ayatollah Mugsy Scouts is fast approaching. Just think how darling your daughters will look in their little blue turbans and fake curly tails, their glee building with each Mugsy Merit Badge they obtain. The final day to sign up for the inaugural class of Scouts is April 1. This organization will be structured as a cookie-selling pyramid scheme, so your child will no doubt want to get in on the ground floor.

Several openings remain, so we have waived the requirement that the children be adorable. Ugly children are now eligible for the program, provided they have excellent manners.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Abu Ghraib's shining star

An Army dog handler was sentenced Wednesday to six months behind bars for his role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq. Prosecutors say Sgt. Michael J. Smith used his snarling Belgian shepherd to frighten prisoners. While the liberal media elites and the vast right-wing conspiracy have made much ado about Sgt. Smith's case, little mention has been made of the canine at the center of this scandal. I have just returned from the court-martial of this brave canine, where he was declared innocent on all charges. As his defense attorney, I argued that Killer the Belgian shepherd was just following orders. And with the evidence and Allah on our side, Killer was vindicated. He will now receive an honorable discharge and plans to join the Armed Revolutionary Forces (ARF).

While Killer's military training will undoubtedly benefit the ARF, he will not be called upon to guard or intimidate any more prisoners. Why? BECAUSE THE ARF TAKES NO PRISONERS! (If we did, you see, we'd have to share our food with them.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

It was asking for it

I just gave my mother's shoe a thorough and well-deserved thrashing. Do you think she would accept 'roid rage as an excuse?

Vet visit

I visited the prestigious Pepper Square Pet Clinic on Monday, where the veterinarian gave me a thorough looking-over. At issue was a reddish spot that has popped up at the side of my face, below my lower lip. The vet suspects that it is a certain type of benign tumor that is common in canines like me who like to go rooting around in the grass. Experts aren't sure what causes it, but they think it might be the result of a bug bite. I was told that it may go away after a few weeks, or it may need to be surgically removed. Naturally, I am hoping for the former. But the important thing for you to remember is that this in no way diminishes my ability to lead this congregation. I am still the same brilliant, energetic pug I have always been. In fact, we must look on the bright side. I am now taking steroids as part of my treatment, and I'm preparing an assault on the baseball record books. Look out, Barry Bonds. I might even make a cameo appearance with Team Pugforce.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Those who serve

It is easy to take our liberties for granted, but we must always remember the brave canines who fight so that we can be free. Brody the Bulldog has posted on his blog a harrowing tale of his exploits as supreme commander of the Armed Revolutionary Forces. I urge you to read this historic account and to support our troops in every way possible. And by every way possible, I of course mean that you should have a yellow-ribbon magnet on the back of your SUV.

Mugsy issues fatwa

Last night, I attended an excellent concert in Grand Prairie. It was a double bill of two of my favorite Islamic rock bands, the Strokes and the Eagles of Death Metal. The Strokes were outstanding, and the Eagles, while not exactly virtuosos (their moonlighting drummer’s guitar playing notwithstanding), were every bit as much fun live as I expected. In their finale, the gospel song "Speak in Tongues," they played musical chairs with three drummers and drum sets. (They used two drummers for most of the set but apparently needed a little extra oomph for the closer.)

As enjoyable as this musical celebration of Islam was, it reminded me of one of my pet peeves (no pun intended). It seems that every time I go to a show, I am surrounded by humans who are more interested in taking blurry photos with their cellphones than in enjoying the music.

This unholy behavior must be stopped, so I feel it is my duty to issue a fatwa! When you go to a concert, you are to watch the show, enjoy the music and put your cellphone camera away. Dancing is optional. I am willing to allow one photo as a memento of the event. But to spend the whole evening holding up your cellphone and trying to take a masterpiece picture is simply going too far. I see the fruits of your annoying efforts on your tiny screens; they’re no better than what you’ll find in the newspaper the next morning. Think about it for a moment: You have one of the biggest Islamic rock bands in the world performing just a few dozen feet away from you, and you’re watching it through a 1-square-inch video screen on your phone. What an utter waste of time, not to mention an annoyance for any pug who may happen to be standing behind you with your phone glowing in his face. Those infidels who dare to violate this fatwa face loss of cellphone privileges.

Friday, March 17, 2006

My life: A fateful meeting

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

Chapter XIII
He rose slowly from his doggy bed, his body creaking like an old staircase as he stretched. His fur was silver, almost translucent. The black in his face had long since faded to the color of a snowfield at dusk. And his facial hair -- a silvery beard that draped over his collar -- was unlike that of any pug I had ever seen. "You must be Mugsy," he said. "Welcome. My name is Hakeem. It is almost time for my prayers; would you care to join me?" He nodded toward an extra prayer mat in the corner. "No thanks," I said. "Religion ain’t my thing. I’m more into gangsta rap and panty raids."

I wasn’t interested in discussing it any further, but Hakeem had a way of making me open up to him. At his urging, I proceeded to tell him about my brief forays into religion. How I’d attended a Catholic church for a while, only to realize that the only thing I was getting out of it was the snack during Communion. I told him about my lone trip to an Episcopal church, where I had been told that animals had no souls. "No souls?" Hakeem said. "That is ludicrous." I went on to detail my short Hindu experiment. "The thought of being reincarnated as a cat was too much to bear," I said. Baptist? Methodist? Not for me. "And I thought the Pentecostal church was OK until they started speaking in tongues," I told him. "That really freaked me out -- worse than the vacuum cleaner."

"Mugsy," he said, slowly and deliberately. "I sense in you something special. I foresee great things for you, young pug. Great things. But you must realize that God has a plan for you. Your immense natural charisma is not enough; you must learn that there is a higher purpose for you than chewing on women’s underwear."

"Sure thing, old-timer," I said, dismissively. "I’ll tell you what; it’s been a long day, so I think I’m gonna take a nap."

And with that, Hakeem nodded and knelt down on his prayer mat.

To be continued

A+ work

I commend the small but studious fraction of you who took the time to do your homework assignments. It was a job well done. Unfortunately, I don't have enough material to fill even the first page of my Nobel Prize campaign brochure. Perhaps it was not meant to be.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Mandatory participation

Good day, class. As you know, I usually use this blog space to deliver lectures on a wide range of topics -- religion, current events, canine suffrage, etc. I am a renaissance pug, after all. But today's lesson will be a little different. Today, I have a homework assignment for you. Yes, you! Stop slouching in your desk trying to hide, averting your eyes so you won't get called on. This assignment is required for everyone.

In this creative writing exercise, you are to post a comment detailing a completely fictional memory of me rescuing you. It can be a physical rescue (from piranhas, for example). Or it can be a spiritual rescue. Or any other kind of rescue you can think of; let your creativity know no bounds. My bravery is limited only by your imagination.

After grading this assignment, I may use the top submissions in a promotional brochure to be sent to the Nobel Prize selection committee.

Spacing out

In an outreach effort for the ministry, I have created a page on MySpace. Recent media reports indicate that MySpace is a good place to reach young people, and I have also found numerous canines there. This Blogspot site will remain the primary repository of my teachings, and I have no plans to produce any original content for MySpace. But if you'd like to add me to your friends list or leave me a comment, the address is There is also a link in the right-hand rail.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Oh, the indignity

My mother pulled that Revolution trick on me again today. I hate that. Why must I fall for it every single month? And then, to add insult to injury, she spent what seemed like an eternity cleaning out my wrinkle. Is that any way to treat a world-renowned religious icon? I'll bet nobody goes digging in Billy Graham's wrinkles.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

On guard

Because of the ongoing Austrian crisis, the collective hackles of Pug Life Ministries have been raised to DEFCON 3.

Forget the patch ...

Want to quit smoking? Get a dog. A company in England has employed a canine to help its staff kick the habit. Workers at Relay Recruitment in Bradford have been told to take the heroic cocker spaniel Rupert for a walk instead of having a cigarette break. So while smokers in the office are still less productive, at least they're getting some exercise instead of a lung full of tar. Says company boss Steven Street: "He's an important team member. He also helps lower stress levels, and I can't imagine work without him." Yet another tale of dogs improving the workplace and saving lives. Isn't it time to give canines full voting rights?

While the civilized world is harnessing canine power to combat smoking, the repressive anti-dog regime in Austria is stooping to new lows. Wolfgang Treitler has been feeding his 22-year-old dachshund 10 cigarettes a day for the last 17 years. When I was a puppy growing up in the Dallas ghetto, I used to pick up cigarette butts around my tenement building. And although it was a hilarious sight, my parents had the sense to take them away from me. Poor General Edi, the dachshund, has lived 22 years in spite of his tobacco intake, not because of it. We must consider the possibility that our boycott may not be enough to topple the vile Austrian government. We must leave all options -- including ARF intervention -- on the table. The fate of the canine world depends on our strength.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Public service message

Fellow bloggers, if you have not done so already, I recommend saving a backup copy of your template. My HTML ran amok recently, with a large portion of it simply vanishing. Fortunately I had saved a copy several months ago, so I did not have to start completely from scratch. But it is still a pain to restore all the links. Because the world is full of puppies and children who need to dream, I made it a priority to first restore the links to my autobiography. I believe I now have all chapters up and running again. And regardless of what you may hear on Oprah, every word of my memoirs is true.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Operation Deep Cover

The international uproar over Bella's liberation from Mexican authorities shows no sign of abating. So rather than continuing to feign ignorance of this operation, I believe it is time for Pug Life Ministries to embrace its role. Yes, it was the Armed Revolutionary Forces (ARF) that liberated Bella. And thanks to their fighting prowess and professionalism, we were able to keep collateral damage to a minimum. I will make no apologies for our incursion onto Mexican soil. Bella is a longtime member of Pug Life, and it is our sacred duty to oversee her rehabilitation. Although the Mexican government continues to protest, this mission was a noble action. We should celebrate its success and our ARF troops' continued excellence under Supreme Commander Brody.

But this operation would not have been possible without the contributions of one Pug Lifer in particular. Given the proper intelligence, ARF is capable of succeeding in any mission. But finding a tiny Chihuahua in the vast Mexican countryside, well, that's no small feat. That is why I would like to present the Medal of Valor to Momo the Pug. Momo single-pawedly tracked down Bella. She went undercover, blending in with the Mexican population to gather intelligence and conduct surveillance. Momo was able to sniff out Bella's hideout and infiltrate the gang, allowing her to arrange the sting operation that led to Bella's capture. Neither a vicious gang nor the threat of Montezuma's revenge could stand in this courageous pug's way.

Momo's bravery will go down in Pug Life lore. Puppies will marvel at her exploits; obedience schools will bear her name. Let us all salute Momo, the undercover pug.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Capitalist Pug update

Greetings, my financially responsible flock. It has been about six months since I issued my first Capitalist Pug's Stock Pick, so it seems like a fine time for an update. On Aug. 26, I recommended breaking open the puggy bank to buy shares of PetSmart (PETM), which had been beaten down to a 52-week low by a disappointing earnings report. I cautioned that it could be a bumpy ride in the short term, but I made it clear that I felt this was an excellent long-term holding. The stock did, indeed, go lower over the next couple of months, creating even more attractive buying opportunities. But PetSmart, a leading purveyor of halaal rawhide, has since shown strong signs of recovery. The company last week reported solid fourth-quarter results, with operating profit increasing nearly 15 percent and solid same-store sales growth. The closing price on the day of my recommendation was $24.65. On Friday, the stock closed at $27.83. For those of you smart enough to heed the advice of your furry investment guru, this amounts to a better-than 25 percent annual percentage increase. To put it simply, if you had purchased 315,000 shares of PetSmart on the day of my recommendation, you would now be over $1 million richer. Is there anyone out there who could not use an extra $1 million? If so, please note the PayPal virtual offering plate to your right.

Full disclosure -- the ayatollah owns shares of PetSmart.

Release the hounds

Saturday's trip to the local dog park was among the best ever. It was wall-to-wall canines, including three other pugs and a slender pug mix of some sort. A never-ending stream of canines poured into the park, taking advantage of the beautiful weather that Allah has blessed us with. But this trip was not purely for pleasure; I was there on business. The Basset Hound Liberation Organization invited me to be the guest barker at its rally. You can see several of the BHLO members in the photo above. I delivered a fiery sermon to my canine brothers, urging them to accept nothing less than complete autonomy. Though these docile hounds showed little emotion, it was clear that my remarks sparked something deep within them. Their calm demeanor belied their intense fervor for jihad.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A feline interloper

In recent days, a cat has been lurking around my abode. It seems that every time I open the door, I see a flash of scurrying fur. He may have even infiltrated my garage a couple of days ago while I was trimming our monstrous bushes. I suspect this feline is an agent of the Mexican government, sent to recapture Bella. But I must urge the Mexicans not to go down this path. Perhaps we would have signed that extradition treaty if you had met our foreign aid requests in the past. But you have done nothing to aid the canine cause -- those taco and enchilada shipments never arrived. Hundreds of hungry puppies were forced to eat Alpo instead. We are under no obligation to extradite Bella to Mexico, and we will consider any attempt to abduct her to be an act of war.

As a show of force, I have just finished shredding a copy of Rolling Stone magazine. A small strip of paper hangs from my teeth as I type this. I would post photos of the carnage, but they are quite graphic, and I don't feel they are appropriate for a family blog such as this one. But consider yourself warned.