Saturday, December 29, 2007

A disturbing development

I watched with unease as the humans pried open the cardboard box and set their new robot on the floor. Was this mechanical interloper here to replace me -- like that creepy animatronic boy Haley Joel Osment? Wendell and I exchanged uncertain glances as mother read from the machine's manual. Finally, she reached down and pushed a button. The robot roared to life and began roaming the room, seemingly at random. The great whooshing sound set my hackles on edge. I barked, and Wendell echoed my sentiments, setting off a cascade of canine condemnation. But the humans were unswayed. As I studied their faces, they appeared to be marveling at their new contraption. Then the roar grew. I turned to find the robot bearing down on young Wendell. I dove, shoving my brother aside just before the robot could suction him up. We hastily retired to another room to discuss what was transpiring in our once-secure compound.

It was clear that this robot was mimicking the actions of the full-size Pug Annoyer that the humans occasionally pushed around the house to torment us. But whereas the old Pug Annoyer required our parents to exert some physical energy, thus greatly limiting its use, this new robot needed but the push of a button. An automated Pug Annoyer -- could anything be more devious? I turned toward Mecca and kneeled in prayer, asking God for an answer. But my solemn moment was shattered by the shrieking robo-monster. It had traversed a hallway, the kitchen and the dining room to track me down. And it was closing fast.

To be continued ...

Monday, December 24, 2007

A challenge

I have a challenge for you, my flock. First, lift your right back paw (or foot) and make clockwise circles with it. Then, raise your right front paw (or hand) and draw the number "6" in the air. Are you able to do both at the same time, maintaining the clockwise motion with your back paw (or foot)? If so, you may have the coordination, focus and spiritual wherewithal to apply for the position of Dalai Lama in Pug Life Ministries' Tibetan Buddhist wing. We offer a competitive salary, a
401(k) plan and a modest wardrobe allowance.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dog park diplomacy

The ayatollah clan recently took Wendell on his first trip to the dog park, that most joyous and fertile of recruiting grounds. Over the years, many a canine has been swayed by my oratory prowess and fragrant smell to embrace the tenets of canine Islam. So I was eager to return, and young Wendell was eager to learn.

The other canines welcomed us warmly, and Wendell took advantage of the large expanse of grass to run some of the tensions out of his long, slender legs. The first remark anyone now makes about Wendell is about how tall he is, or how long his legs are. At this awkward, prepubescent stage, his lower extremities are proportioned roughly like those of one of Salvador Dali's elephants.

So Wendell ran, and he found many a running partner. And I mostly sniffed, gauging the lay of the land as I prepared to launch into one of my fiery sermons.

After a half-hour or so, I noticed Wendell lying on the ground. Just a pup -- and a wispy one at that -- he sometimes takes a submissive posture when other dogs make him nervous. Usually, the other dogs give him a sniff and then kindly go about their business. But on this occasion, a canine stood over Wendell, growling. I rushed to Wendell's side, barking at the overly aggressive dog. "Move along now," I said. "Can't you see you're frightening the pup?" The bully persisted, growling and moving closer to Wendell, who lay flat on his back with his paws outstretched. Again, I barked. "Look, infidel, why don't you pick on someone your own size?" The rude canine barely acknowledged my words before lunging at young Wendell.

As you know, my flock, a big brother is duty-bound to protect his younger sibling. Even if he is a tailbiter. "You asked for it," I growled. I then proceeded to mount this bully of indeterminate gender crossways, my jackhammer-like pelvic thrusting likely bruising a rib or two. "Now who's the alpha dog?" I barked, smiling. Well it didn't take long for the humans to separate us. The bully, now properly chastened, slinked away in shame.

"Come on," I said to Wendell, "let's call it a day."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Code red!

We have a possible emergency on our paws, my flock. It appears that Tigersan, everyone's favorite Chihuahua from Okinawa, may have been dognapped. I have raised the collective hackles of the ministry to code red, and the Armed Revolutionary Forces (ARF) are preparing a rescue mission. If we can just locate Tigersan, I'm confident that Wendell can chew through the shackles in no time.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Auction nearly over

Auctioneer's note: As this post pertains to an auction, you should read it at quadruple speed.

Less than 24 hours remain in the ministry's
holiday poster auction, so this is your final reminder to bid on a piece of Hollywood history. Yes, that's right, my flock. The Pugstock poster appeared in the hit TV show Veronica Mars in 2006. And as we know, all things associated with celebrity are inherently better than your everyday, run-of-the-mill wall decorations.

Anyone worried about receiving the posters by Dec. 24 can pay extra for express shipping or, better yet, print out this handy yet mysterious "patience" sign from

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The blessing of the newborn

The miracle of birth. It is a blessing, as we all know. For without it, there would be no puppies.

Some friends of the ayatollah family had their first child this week, and mother has gone to visit the newly minted human, who happens to be the brother of the alluring Shelby. God willing, he will grow up to be my friend and put in a good word for me so that she might finally see fit to join my harem.

I am told that the new baby -- we will call him Mortimer -- is doing well, despite his early arrival. I am also told that his parents are pleased with him and feel no shame over their small litter size. This is good; for we should all be accepting of Allah's plan.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, "When any human being is born, Satan pinches the body with his two fingers," thus causing the child to cry. This gives us our first clue that Satan is, among other things, not fit to be a babysitter. Fortunately for young Mortimer, he is born with access to ayatollah-approved bibs that offer a measure of protection against the evils of the world. And against spilled apple sauce. May his cries be few, and may he know every happiness.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Auction to benefit ministry

I have wonderful news, my flock. Our artist friend, the talented Kevin McCormick of, was so inspired by the ministry's recent intervention in the Mideast peace process that he donated not one but two magnificent posters to be auctioned off. Both of these rare, limited-edition posters commemorate the morally questionable but historically significant "Pug Summer of Love," which launched the pug peace movement in earnest.

All proceeds from the sale of these posters will benefit Pug Life Ministries' reindeer-antler fund, so bid early and bid often. I believe the rule of thumb on such eBay auctions is to bid two months' salary.

Friday, December 07, 2007

On a mission

I have just wrapped up a conference call with Pugham Young, the leader of the Mormon wing of Pug Life Ministries. He briefed me on a top-secret operation, spearheaded by an elite unit known as the Latter-day Saint Bernards, through which the ministry may be able to infiltrate the highest office in the United States. I cannot reveal any names, my flock, because as you know, too much information can be counter-productive to the aims of the ministry. But I can tell you that Pugham Young has a special agent in the current presidential race with a better-than-average chance of winning his party's nomination.

Pugham, still going strong at 188 years old, told me that many in the media had begun to suspect our plot. Reporters were sniffing around the Mormon wing's headquarters in Salt Lake City and asking a few too many questions. But our sleeper candidate recently gave an ingenious speech to throw any troublemakers off our trail. God willing, this will prove to be a coup for Pug Life Ministries.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mugsy weighs in on Sudanese teddy bear

I have just returned from Khartoum, where I won the release of a British schoolteacher convicted of insulting Islam via a teddy bear. Gillian Gibbons allowed her class to name the stuffed animal Muhammad, which also happens to be the name of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Many were enraged by this perceived affront. Demonstrators took to the streets to call for the teacher's execution, and prosecutors pressed charges that could have brought Ms. Gibbons 40 lashes and substantial prison time.

But those who sought to punish Ms. Gibbons have not studied Islam as I have. For nowhere in the Quran does it forbid one from using the name Muhammad. In fact, it is a popular male name in Sudan. So I appealed to Sudan's president to pardon the teacher. "Do it for the children," I implored. "Do it for my Nobel Peace Prize hopes." And he complied, on the condition that I give him my autograph. So I return with an ink-stained paw to teach you the proper handling of this case. The teacher, as I have indicated, is innocent of all charges. But there is one who is deserving of the 40 lashes: the teddy bear. Again, this has nothing to do with it being named Muhammad. That is simply the proper way to deal with a chew toy. And as we all know, a teddy bear is just a chew toy that hasn't yet found its way to a canine's eager teeth.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A pug of peace

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Insiders at this week's Mideast summit in Annapolis say the fragile peace process was in danger of collapsing until the arrival of an uninvited guest.

Ayatollah Mugsy, a Texas canine cleric, was credited with restarting the talks and ushering in a new era of hope that the six-decade conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians can be resolved.

The White House sent summit invitations to dozens of countries, but officials at the ayatollah's Pug Life Ministries said that Pugistan -- Mugsy's disputed territory in the American Southwest -- was not among them. Some White House aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were appalled by the lack of respect shown toward the ayatollah, leader of the world's largest interfaith, interspecies ministry.

"We invited the international dregs of society, but not the glorious nation of Pugistan," said one senior White House staffer. "What's up with that?"

Despite the apparent snub, Ayatollah Mugsy arrived just as the talks appearing to be breaking down, with name-calling and hair-pulling rampant in the summit hall. Observers said the ayatollah calmly righted the ship and began to build a tenuous trust among the disparate parties.

"He said to them, 'The human ways have failed you time and time again,'" said one U.N. observer, who wished to remain anonymous. "Then he led them through some time-honored canine getting-to-know-each-other exercises. Basic stuff, but it really seemed to work."

Ayatollah Mugsy could not be reached for comment.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Catnip madness

I have just read a troubling report, my flock. It seems that human teenagers have been smoking catnip to get high. Although we have always known that teens lagged behind puppies in IQ and maturity, this takes their foolishness to another level entirely. Clearly, too many families are lacking a strong canine role model.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Public service announcement

On this, the busiest shopping day of the year, please do not forget to visit the Pug Life Ministries Gift Shop. While your local mall is filled with annoying carols and pushy, foaming-at-the-mouth shoppers who have been out marauding since 3 a.m., my online shop offers a relaxing environment and the best stocking-stuffer deals on the planet. Go forth and buy, my children.

Winter: Not just a myth

A chill is in the air, my flock. Allah's cold winter wind has finally arrived in Texas. An overzealous reporter at the local newspaper even had the audacity to call it a "white Thanksgiving" after a tiny sprinkling of snow fell yesterday. For the first time in months, I have pulled my thermal winter turban from storage. God willing, it will keep me warm and toasty on the rare occasion when I am not snuggled up with Wendell or one of the humans. "But what of young Wendell?" you ask. "How will the skinny, turbanless pup cope with this arctic blast?" Fear not, my flock. Wendell is well prepared.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A day of thanks

Allah, we kneel before you on this blessed holiday with much to be thankful for. We thank you for the bountiful feast that we will partake in, and for the days upon days of glorious leftovers. We thank you for our friends and family members -- especially our great-grandmother, whose propensity for dropping food on the floor is legendary. May the unsteadiness of her fork grow with each passing day.

We are thankful that the ministry's problems with the IRS have fallen by the wayside; for the first time since the ministry's founding, we are not the subject of an audit or formal inquiry. And we thank you, Dear God, for the compromising photos of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that made this turnaround possible.

And finally, Oh Great Creator of the Universe and All Who Reside Within It, Including the Canines You Made in Your Image, we thank you for the congregants who visit this blog. We thank you for those who leave comments, and we thank you for those who lurk silently yet still gain great spiritual knowledge and awareness. And most of all, God, we thank you for those who donate.

Allahu akbar!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Hop along now, infidels ...

It was 2 a.m. as we pulled into the garage. The ayatollah clan had just crammed a long weekend in Oklahoma into a little over 24 hours. Mother had gone to a baby shower. My seven-pound brother had begun his courtship of a 60-pound Lab mix named Ginger. And I had stayed busy trying to overthrow Hamas in Gaza while also working to reverse the rising cost of rawhide. As we unloaded the pugmobile, the unmistakable sound of drunken revelry emanated from the dwelling next door. It was unusual -- I can't recall any other such gathering at the neighbors' house -- but it seemed to be nothing to worry about, bad music aside. Then mother nudged me. "Mugsy," she whispered, "what are they doing to my car?"

I turned to find a crowd of intoxicated humans gathered around the driver's-side door of mother's vehicle in the driveway. "Hey!" I barked, "what are you doing?"

One hunched-over human straightened, as best he could in his present state. "I'm drawing a rabbit," he said matter-of-factly.

I have nothing against rabbits or any other small woodland animals, and I am well known as a patron of the arts. But still, I found this explanation to be unacceptable. Call me crazy, but I would prefer that humans keep their grubby paws off my property -- especially at 2 in the morning.

"Get away from my car!" I growled.

The humans scattered like cockroaches under a floodlight. Mother went to check on the car. And in the mist on its window, she found the beginnings of a rabbit drawing.

This incident has left me no choice but to issue a fatwa! I never thought I would have to say this, but it must be clarified so that all will know. Henceforth, it is strictly forbidden under canine Islam to draw a bunny in the window of any car other than your own.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finely aged rawhide

Today, Wendell and I enjoyed a rare treat. Father went to the rawhide chest and pulled out two pre-chewed bones, probably of the mid-2005 vintage. Like a fine wine, they improve with age. Each chew of the rich, hearty hide conjures up warm memories of a simpler time, a time when I did not have a puppy constantly nipping at my tail. But unlike wine, they are halaal.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The escape artist

Ever since Wendell and I toured Alcatraz a couple of weeks ago, the young pug has been obsessed with prison breaks. The audio tour on the old island penitentiary details some of the many attempts to escape the harsh, windswept island. And even though none of them were known to be successful, these inmate plots captured Wendell's imagination. So he has been working diligently to escape from the back yard.

He at first targeted the compound's most vulnerable defenses -- the wrought-iron fence. It runs on one side of the yard to allow views of the neighborhood creek and its fountains, but the bars have ample space for the slender pup to slip through, or under. After witnessing an early attempt, mother put up black mesh all along the fenceline to keep Wendell in, along with some barriers along the gate to keep him from burrowing underneath. But Wendell, his puggish genius manifesting itself at an early age, still managed to escape. Father recently found him on the other side of the fence. He called the pup, wondering how on earth he'd managed to break free. Wendell then proceeded to leap high over the fence barrier and through the bars, displaying uncanny athleticism. With his lanky build, an NBA future surely awaits.
After further fortifications, the iron bars finally appeared to outmatch young Wendell. But as his marathon Mugsy-tail-chewing sessions have shown, he is nothing if not determined. Today, he gave us the biggest scare yet. Wendell was eagerly scratching at the door, so father let him out and went to put on his shoes. Mere seconds later, as father and I went to check on Wendell, he was gone. We went to the front of the house to see if he was somewhere near the fence, but we saw no sign of him. We called out, even yelling the "B" word -- biscuit! -- but again, nothing.
So father and I returned to the back yard to look for signs of Wendell. Finally, I heard a rustling in the corner of the yard. Wendell, covered in mud and dirt, had managed to trap himself between our wooden fence and a large bush in the neighbor's yard. We have still not determined how he got there, but it must have required a contortionist feat that would have done Harry Houdini proud.
Needless to say, Wendell is currently under house arrest.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Drinking problem? The ministry can help

A friend recently approached me to seek my counsel on a most serious issue. "Mugsy," he said, "though I fear for what you may think of me because of my slip-ups, I'm afraid I have no other options. Can you help me deal with my drinking problem?" He went on to describe his heart-wrenching troubles in detail. Being a canine, I am naturally a good listener, so I heard this friend out. Finally, I did my best to offer him hope, plotting a detailed course for his recovery.

And now I want to do the same for all of you. If you are struggling with a drinking problem, know that the ministry has a proven 12-step program to help. You need not suffer in silence, and you need not fear my reaction. Remember, I, too, have struggled with addiction.

My flock, I am pleased to say that my bulldog friend has completed all 12 steps and is now living the clean life. For the last three weeks, despite myriad temptations, he has not taken so much as a single sip from the toilet. Praise Allah!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Important announcement

I hesitate to bring this up, lest I contribute to the absurd rumors that I have a secret alter-ego. But the ramifications are too important to ignore. This news could have a significant impact on crime rates in the future territory of Pugistan -- something that we should all care about. Click here to read this important announcement on Batpug's blog.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Unpacking is the hardest part

"Big Brother," Wendell said, addressing me with one of my favorite nicknames, "tell me again why I had to travel inside a suitcase while you were able to board with the other passengers."
"It is simple," I replied. "The ministry travel fund only had enough money for one first-class ticket to San Francisco. So the only options were to travel in economy class with a seat for each of us, which simply wouldn't have worked, or to hide you in my luggage while I enjoyed complementary beverage and rawhide service."
"Oh," he replied. "So if the congregation had only donated more money, I wouldn't have this crick in my neck?"
"Er ... yes," I replied.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The movement grows

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- From the hippie hordes that descended on San Francisco for the "Summer of Love" 40 years ago to a stream of colorful gay pride parades, the city by the bay has seen its share of spectacles over the years. But witnesses said that what transpired Thursday at Fisherman's Wharf may have topped them all.

Ayatollah Mugsy, a Texas canine cleric making his first public appearance in Northern California, led a formal, bark-filled ceremony in which he deputized an entire colony of sea lions as officers in his religious group's paramilitary wing. An estimated 250 of the marine mammals sat at rapt attention as the enigmatic ayatollah addressed them. They then raised their right fins and took a vow of allegiance to Mugsy's Pug Life Ministries.

"Today, I deputize you as the guardians of Pugistan's western frontier," the ayatollah barked. He said that in addition to their naval defense role, the sea lions now have the authority to board ships and seize cargo passing through the Golden Gate.

Officials at the San Francisco Court Clerk's office said they had no record of any location within the city named "Pugistan," but the animals at Fisherman's Wharf were clearly not concerned with any official landholding rights. After the swearing-in ceremony, the marine mammals erupted in rapturous applause before Ayatollah Mugsy led them in the singing of a sea shanty.

Though the mood on the wharf was electric, unease loomed like fog farther down the bay. As cranes unloaded his vessel at the Port of San Francisco, ship captain Otis Starneby sounded a worried tone. "Aaargh!" he said. "I've got hundreds of cargo containers filled with chew toys from China. The men, they're worried. This may be the last time we make it safely back to port."

After Thursday morning's ceremony, the ayatollah was said to be traveling to Yosemite National Park to recruit deer, coyotes and black bears into his burgeoning interfaith, interspecies movement.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mugsy survives earthquake; legend grows

Greetings, my flock. I am coming to you from not-so-sunny San Francisco, where I have been visiting the last several days. I had hoped to detail my travel plans and leave you with a terrifying Halloween tale before I left, but time would not allow it. I was hurried and harried right up until my plane lifted off; such is the life of the world's foremost canine religious authority. But I have happened upon an Internet cafe and have a few more minutes on the ministry credit card, so please allow me to tell you a bit about my trip so far.

I will begin with my most recent adventure: the Great Quake of '07. It hit an hour or so ago as I was meditating in my sixth-floor hotel room. The local TV newshumans say it was a 5.6 on the Richter scale, a moderate but attention-grabbing quake. Was I scared when the walls began to shake -- and shake some more for a good 10 seconds? No, my flock. The ayatollah knows no fear. And any small stains on the hotel carpeting are purely coincidental. Thankfully, there are no reports of injuries or serious damage from the quake.

But the trip has featured more than just Allah's rumbling wrath. Yesterday, I sailed to Alcatraz and took a fascinating tour. I learned many techniques that will surely benefit the fledgling nation of Pugistan as we launch our revolution and detain the inevitable dissenters and assorted troublemakers. I learned about some of the island prison's many escape attempts, and I was reminded of my own escape from the pound, where I found Allah lo those many moons ago. My published autobiography has not yet reached that point, but I assure you, it was a harrowing and ingenious escape.

Of all the sights I have seen, the most awe-inspiring might surprise you. It is not the Golden Gate Bridge, or the mighty, churning Pacific Ocean. No, it was Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf. There, I stumbled upon a sea of sea lions, all barking in a dialect not far removed from my own native canine language. They swam and they slid, they played and they pushed. And much like a pug, they relaxed in the sun. Before the day was over, I had won them all over to the Pug Life way. Like me, they now bark in the word of Allah. And they stand ready to join us as we embark on our revolutionary path. My time is nearly up, my flock. Let us pray that there were no typos. Allahu Akbar!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Revelation stuns blog world

DALLAS (AP) -- Blog readers around the world were shocked Thursday to learn that the Sorcerer of Prague, who played a key role earlier this year in Ayatollah Mugsy's smiting of Blue Bull, is a gay puppet.

Many said they were poring over old blog posts in search of clues they might have missed in earlier readings.

The revelation came as the enigmatic ayatollah was reading from the Quran to a group of Ayatollah Mugsy Scouts. Responding to a question from the audience, Mugsy reportedly replied, "Though it may surprise you to learn this, the wizard is not as he appears. His piercing stare and stern countenance may have you believe otherwise, but he is, in fact, quite gay."

Monday, October 22, 2007

In the beginning ...

Some congregants have clamored for more photos of my brother, so here he is on the first day my mother went to visit him. (Wendell's the hungry one.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Of power cords and fatwas

Thanks to some cajoling, some jiggling and some praying, my computer is now working. It is receiving just enough electricity through its shoddily made power cord to function. The fraying cord itself is not that old, having replaced another similarly balky piece of equipment in February.

My flock, there is nothing more tragic than a power cord dying young. Nothing, that is, except its replacement being available only via mail order and only at the exorbitant cost of $80. Had Dell stock not contributed to the Capitalist Pug portfolio over the years, I would surely be issuing an angry fatwa at this moment.

Speaking of fatwas, you may have noticed that my little brother, Wendell, recently took it upon himself to issue a demand for rawhide on this blog. Perhaps I should have seen this coming. Whatever I do, it seems, young Wendell is right behind. When I patrol the fence line to sniff out any infidels or ne'er-do-well bunnies, Wendell patrols right along with me. When I go to get a drink of water, Wendell quenches his thirst as well. He would essentially be my one-sixth-size shadow -- if shadows occasionally bit tails. Thank Allah they do not.

So it comes as no surprise that Wendell studied my movements on the computer, stole my password and issued a fatwa of his own. As a pug who has not graduated from puppy class at PetSmart, let alone a high-level madrassa, Wendell is not yet qualified to issue such religious edicts. However, given the important nature of his fatwa, I am willing to let this one stand.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wendell issues fatwa



Mugsy issues fatwa

For too long, consumers have been senselessly befuddled at checkout lines and bemused at ATMs. We are given an unthinkable task -- told to deny the laws of nature, of physics, of Allah Himself! I am left with no choice but to issue a fatwa!

Henceforth, it is strictly forbidden under canine Islam for machines to demand that we "insert and remove card quickly in one motion." As even infidels and felines know, this is physically impossible.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mugsy laments crisis of leadership

Something weighs heavy on my mind, my flock. It seems that every day, I find a new example of America's so-called leaders shirking their duties in favor of pointless pursuits. True, this is something of a tradition. But it seems to have reached epidemic proportions in recent weeks.

The latest craze sweeping the nation is a crackdown on sagging pants. City councils across the land are taking steps to enact fines or even jail time for people caught with their pants hanging low. Droopy drawers have become a hot-button issue in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland and other states. In Dallas, just down the tollway from the ayatollah compound, City Council member Dwaine Caraway vowed to pass an ordinance against sagging pants. "This issue is just as important as crime," he said. Perhaps I am biased on this issue, having been one of the forerunners of the saggy-pants trend in my days as a gangsta rapper, but I believe Mr. Caraway's priorities are severely out of whack. Dallas annually has one of the highest big-city crime rates in America. This means loss of property, loss of peace of mind and, all too often, loss of life. My advice to the City Council: Focus on stopping this years-long crime wave or solving a host of other actual problems facing the city and leave the fashion-police role to those insufferable reality TV shows.

This crisis of leadership is not merely a city or state issue. In Washington, lawmakers have been debating a measure to label the Armenian genocide a genocide. And for what purpose? I am sure a handful of interest groups are pleased, but this does nothing to help the country these lawmakers were elected to lead. On the contrary, Turkey yesterday recalled its ambassador over the flap. Ladies and gentlemen of the U.S. House, America doesn't have many allies left. Do you really want to anger Turkey over something that happened nearly 100 years ago? Modern-day Turkey, the country we are pointlessly antagonizing, did not even exist until 1923, a few years after the killings. While our lawmakers twiddle their allegedly superior opposable thumbs and debate the history of the Ottoman Empire, a modern-day genocide is occurring in Darfur. You tell me which is more important. And let us not forget the old adage about throwing stones in glass Dogloos -- America certainly has its share of skeletons in the closet.

This time-wasting Armenian debate comes just weeks after Congress voted to condemn a paid newspaper ad criticizing Gen. David Petraeus' handling of the war in Iraq. We are mired in a war with no end in sight, and seemingly with nothing to do but choose from a series of unattractive options. But instead, our elected leaders continued to make no decisions at all and instead voted to officially condemn an anti-war group for exercising its rights to free speech. Is it wrong to dream of a country where the leadership would stay above the fray in such petty matters?

Congress could find a solution in Iraq. It could find a way to improve our health-care system -- America spends more on health care than any other nation on the planet, yet our results are middle-of-the-pack at best among industrialized nations. Congress could take action to fight climate change. It could rein in its out-of-control deficit spending. It could take steps to address the plunge of the dollar, which has been sinking steadily for several years now. Believe it or not, the once-mighty dollar is now worth no more than a Canadian dollar. Anyone who visited our neighbors to the north a few years ago knows what a turnaround this is. The last time I was in Toronto, several years ago, I could have actually bought the CN Tower with a week's salary. Now? I would be lucky to be able to afford a hotel room. But does Congress address any of these real concerns that affect people's lives? No.

My flock, I fear that we can only draw one conclusion: America is a nation led by boneheads. And not the tasty, rawhide kind of bones. No, these are the metaphorical, do-nothing kind of bones. This nation needs a change, my flock. We need a new direction. Now, more than ever, we need a canine-led theocracy.


Another year, another disappointment. What does a pug have to do to win the Nobel Peace Prize?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sister Bella arrested

QUANTICO, Va. (AP) -- Notorious alleged criminal mastermind Bella the Chihuahua was taken into custody after an early-morning raid in which 18 FBI agents were wounded, authorities said Thursday.

The Chihuahua, wanted in a series of felonies in Mexico, is being held in a maximum-security cell while officials decide whether to extradite her or try her in the U.S. legal system.

"It's tricky," said FBI Senior Agent Mike Grammel. "By all witness accounts, this little dog is guilty in the slaying of rock star Tom Petty. And yet, Mr. Petty is alive and well -- I've spoken to him myself. This is truly a bizarre case."

The dog had been on the run since her Aug. 3 attack on Petty at a charity event near Dallas.

In an e-mailed message, the singer said he owed his life to the enigmatic Ayatollah Mugsy of Pug Life Ministries. "The pug dog resurrected me," he wrote. "No further comment. Praise be to the wrinkly imam."

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Put me in, coach

They call me AD, because I can eat All Day.

May the forces of good and righteousness overcome the Great Burnt Orange Satan.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Academic scandal brewing?

I have noticed that Wendell's collar has "Lil' Dog University" written on it.

I am not one to cast aspersions, but after consulting with several national and regional accreditation bodies, I have come to suspect that this is a puppy diploma mill.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Feats of strength

I clenched the rope between my powerful jaws, as I had so many times before. But now, it was different. After vanquishing the hapless, puny humans untold hundreds of times, would this contest finally bring a worthy competitor?

At the other end of the rope, young Wendell took hold. He was inexperienced, to be sure, but eager. Eager to test his mettle, eager to take on this ancient pug rite of passage. He nodded and squeaked to signal his readiness.

With that, I smoothly pulled my head back. Every muscle in my chiseled, sinewy body worked in unison. My legs straightened; my claws gripped the carpet. Wendell attempted to follow suit but instead went airborne and landed mere inches from my face. We exchanged growls, and then I moved away from him, quickly taking up the rope's newfound slack. Again, he lurched forward as I tugged on the rope. This young pug was experiencing a veritable baptism by fire. But one cannot hope to be the best unless one competes against the best. And that would be me, my flock. After pausing for a moment to let the initial shock wear off for young Wendell, I again jerked on the rope. He lost his footing and careened into a nearby chew toy, growling all the way.

I urged him on, combining encouragement with insult for maximum motivational effect. "Dig deep my brother," I implored. "You tug like an unveiled woman!"

After another 20 seconds of swinging my three-and-a-half-pound brother around like a ragdoll, I jumped onto the couch. Surely this would provide the motivation he needed.

"Wendell," I barked, "this is what you have always wanted. The couch -- my tail's lone refuge from your chew-happy teeth. Hang onto the rope, and you shall finally be able to scale this mountain."

But, alas, his jaws were not yet strong enough, and the rope was soon in my sole possession. Wendell's first journey to the couchtop would have to come another day.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The incredible hulking whippet

I've been marveling at this ultra-ripped whippet, my flock. A genetic mutation left her with double muscles, meaning her leg press may very well exceed that of my business rival Pat Robertson. Does anyone know how to get in touch with this dog? I must recruit her for the Armed Revolutionary Forces (ARF).

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mugsy and Wendell go to see Interpol

I took my little brother to his first music show last night. As we queued to enter the Palladium Ballroom, Wendell was upset when he was told he had to go through a separate line. "Why?" he barked. "Because you're under 21 in dog years," the usher barked back. As a bracelet was fitted above his paw, I explained to Wendell that he would not be missing out on anything. "The sin of alcohol is far greater than the benefit," I told him.

"How do you know this?" he asked.

"It is written in the Quran, my brother," I replied. "You have much to learn."

Once inside, I approached the bartender. "We would like two waters -- in bowls," I barked. The bartender appeared perplexed. "Ahem, down here!" I barked. "Oh, sorry, Your Holiness," he stammered, leaning over the bar. "Two water bowls coming right up -- on the house."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A lesson for Wendell

After awakening from our mid-morning naps, Wendell and I ventured outside to enjoy the nice weather. The Texas summer's cruel heat has finally begun to fade in recent weeks. As my sleepy brother wobbled around the back yard, he spied a butterfly perched upon a blade of grass. Wendell looked at me quizzically. Then he lunged at the butterfly, which flew above his head, taunting the pup. His mouth agape, Wendell made a few more futile efforts. "Wendell," I barked, "leave that butterfly alone. Allah's creatures deserve our respect and should not be attacked without cause." Then I reconsidered my words. "Except junebugs, of course. They are delicious. And oh so crunchy."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Life is good

There is cause for celebration, my flock. My two favored football teams, the Oklahoma Sooners and the Dallas Cowboys, both remain undefeated. And they have looked impressive in reaching their perfect records. Even more exciting, my toothy little pugbrother appears to finally be learning that my nether regions are not synonymous with a chewstick. Praise be to Allah and Bitter Apple!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mystery solved

Assalamu alaikum, my flock. I would like you to meet my new little brother, Wendell. Like me, he is a pug. But he is black, and I am fawn, so hopefully my parents will not get us mixed up (I think my food portions are bigger). I must admit that young Wendell came as a surprise; mother didn't even appear to be showing. In fact, I had come to suspect the worst after analyzing the clues gathered by Sherlock Bones regarding my parents' recent odd behavior.

Sherlock found a series of suspicious photos on mother's camera that, combined with her unusual cellphone record and ATM withdrawals, led me to suspect her of infidelity. But just as I was about to call father and tell him that I believed mother was seeing a younger man -- a much younger man -- mother walked in the door clutching little Wendell. "Ayatollah," she said, "meet your new brother!"

I took to him immediately, my tail wagging like the windshield wipers set on high. I am looking forward to taking Wendell under my wing and teaching him the tricks of the pug trade -- notably the vaunted "pugtona," our distinctive circular sprinting technique. He must also learn to boost his snore volume and speak with a gruff, pleasing-to-the-ear bark. But there will be plenty of time for that later. The excitement at the ayatollah compound has proven exhausting, so for now, we shall nap.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Time for a timeshare

While poring over mother's phone records this afternoon, I received a call from my good friend Rabbi Jake. Jake is always on the lookout for innovative business practices that might benefit the ministry, and he came across a rather interesting strategy. It seems that a synagogue in Florida has begun a so-called torah timeshare. For a one-time donation of $1,800, congregants can host the sacred text in their homes for one week a year. Rabbi Jake was understandably excited about the possibilities. And let me tell you, my flock, Jake doesn't get excited about much these days. After our conversation ended, I began to ponder ways to translate this timeshare tactic to my own congregation. At first, I considered offering up a prized piece of rawhide. But there are some items for which no price tag will suffice; I simply cannot go without my rawhide. Then my thoughts turned to another item -- an artifact of great significance to the ministry.

As you may recall, I have reached many an epiphany while suckling my monkey toe. The foot of the stuffed primate sent my mind into a calm, zenlike state of pure concentration. The idea of the ministry's recent telethon, for example, was hatched during one of my marathon toe-nursing sessions. Unfortunately, the foot was not built to offer unlimited inspiration. Last week, during a particularly vigorous meditative session, the foot came clean off. And since my parents won't let me have access to so small an artifact anyway -- a choking hazard, they call it -- it seems like the perfect offering for the ministry's first timeshare program. So for the low, low price of $1,800 a week, you can welcome the sacred, saliva-caked monkey foot into your home. You can seat it next to you at the dinner table. You can place it beside your children as they do their homework. You can even put it in your pocket as a good-luck charm in that important job interview. Yes, my flock, this fuzzy foot, despite being severed from its onetime monkey owner, still possesses great power. Bring that power into your home today.

For inquiries, e-mail And remember, only 52 spots are available, so don't delay.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Clues emerge

I met today with Sherlock Bones, who has been furiously sniffing out clues. While looking through my parents' bank statements, he found a mysterious ATM transaction in White Settlement. To those unfamiliar with North Texas, that is the actual name of a town near Fort Worth. As far as I know, my parents would have no reason to go anywhere near White Settlement. This is most vexing, my flock. Most vexing, indeed.

Even more disconcerting, Sherlock Bones tracked down my mother's cell phone records and found a series of mysterious calls. We are working now to identify the recipients of these calls and will return with any information we find so that the congregation can analyze the data. Pray for Sherlock Bones' success ...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mystery at the compound

I can't quite put my paw on it, but something strange is afoot at the ayatollah compound. My parents seem to be up to some sort of shenanigans, and I suspect that we are in for a major change. Yet they have been mysteriously tight-lipped. Are they preparing a surprise feast for me? Will they be quitting their jobs and moving me to an Italian villa better befitting my status as the world's foremost canine religious authority? Or perhaps their motives are more sinister -- could they be plotting against the ministry? I don't want to jump to conclusions, but their behavior is beginning to worry me. Secrets are meant to be the ayatollah's domain only. So I have called in a private investigator to get to the bottom of this. Godspeed, Sherlock Bones.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

Where there's a will ...

In life, hotel magnate Leona Helmsley was reviled as the "Queen of Mean." Yet in death, we find that she couldn't have been all bad. She did care enough about her dog, Trouble, to leave her $12 million and an eternal resting place in a mausoleum fit for an ayatollah. Some scoff at such a sum. Some find it deplorable that her canine received more cash than two of her grandchildren, to say nothing of the other two who received nothing at all. But I find her gift to her beloved Maltese to be commendable. In fact, I urge you all to rewrite your wills right now -- before it's too late -- specifying a sizable bequest for the ministry. In this way, you can help all canines of faith.

My mother was among those who suggested that $12 million was too much to leave to a dog, which instantly raised my eyebrow. I pray that she misspoke. But father answered that if he were a billionaire, he would absolutely leave behind millions for the care of his only furry son. Then again, father also said that he would build a gleaming Dogloo mosque for all the world's successive generations to marvel at. So in addition to being a true pug patriot, he is one who would be known, under a best-case scenario, as an eccentric.

But enough about my family; I don't want to stray too far from the subject at hand. If you'll excuse me, I have a date with an heiress to arrange.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Alleged bathroom misconduct explained

Rumors are swirling about a recent incident, so I would like to set the record straight. I do not believe that any rules were broken during my recent visit to the compound's bathroom. Furthermore, my actions should not be construed as representing any kind of "signal." I was simply engaging in wholesome, everyday pug activities. Under the ministry's bylaws, all items left in "the pug zone" are fair game. So I make no apologies for retrieving that cardboard tube from the trash can and eating it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Last chance

History has been made, my flock. The first-ever item offered for sale by the ministry on eBay has been sold. And the buyer, whose user name includes the word "gecko," presents an intriguing case. Could this be my long-lost lizard friend Gordon? Is he reaching out to me? Maybe he is a successful stock broker in New York now, and he wants to give back to the ministry that befriended him and allowed him to stay in its garage. Or perhaps the buyer is simply a human with impeccable taste in interior decorating.

Whatever the case, you should know that only one item remains. And its auction time is fleeting. In less than 24 hours, this rare poster will be sold to the highest bidder. Do not subject yourself to pangs of bitter jealousy, my flock; be that highest bidder.

To visit the lone remaining Pug Life auction, which is currently insanely underpriced, click here.

Mugsy fulfills meme responsibilities

I have been tagged by Titanium Girl to share eight things that others might not know about me. And as a blog-law-abiding pug, I will now fulfill my duties by completing this meme assignment. Here are the rules:

People who are tagged need to write these rules in their
own blogs & share eight things about themselves that others might not know. At the end of their blog post, they need to tag six people and list their (blog) names. Leave a comment on the blogs of the people they’ve chosen telling them they’ve been tagged and encouraging them to come over and read the eight things you’ve written on your blog.

1. I was neutered on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. It is a date which, for me, will forever live in double infamy.

2. I can leg-press 8,000 pounds. With one leg.

3. I experience a phenomenon that my parents call my "outside smell." It is, as it sounds, a distinctly canine aroma that I pick up after I have spent some time outside. After a few minutes in the compound, it disappears.

4. I enjoy visiting museum gift shops, sometimes more than the museums themselves.

5. I have dabbled in alchemy. Thus far, I have not had success. But I remain optimistic.

6. I love to travel, and I wish that more Americans would take an interest in learning about the world around them instead of just mindlessly repeating jingoistic axioms about this being the greatest country on Earth. I believe that people who express indignant anger over having to "press 1 for English" on the phone or at the ATM would change their tune if they ever found themselves struggling to use a Czech payphone or grateful that someone had stopped to offer directions in the Parisian subway. We are all Allah's creatures, regardless of the languages we speak.

7. For a short time in my puppyhood, I was engaged to Alyssa Milano.

8. Despite my reputation as an iron-pawed, hardline radical cleric, I am a world-class cuddler.

With my work here now complete, I tag the first six bloggers who leave a comment to continue the never-ending meme train. Allah be with you.

Friday, August 24, 2007

An open letter to Christiane Amanpour

Ms. Amanpour (if that is your real name),

When you asked me to appear on your four-part "God's Warriors" series on CNN, I was happy to oblige. Even though I was still recovering from surgery, I invited you into my compound. I showed you priceless religious artifacts. I even let you drink from my water bowl.

And after all this hospitality, what did I find? A hatchet job on national television. You accused the Armed Revolutionary Forces (ARF) of committing war crimes against chew toys, yet you know that we canines are not signatories to the Geneva Convention. You portrayed Pug Life as some sort of radical fascist cult, even though I told you explicitly not to bring up such aspects of the ministry. And I gave you my Pug Manifesto expecting that you would read it word for word on the air, yet you made no mention of the document. Am I to believe that a 5,000-page manifesto slipped your mind? And do you know how much it cost to print that on the nice paper at Kinko's? Shame on you, Ms. Amanpour. Shame on you.

Your portrayal of canine Islam, while technically accurate, does not represent the public image that Pug Life Ministries seeks to cultivate. So do not expect my cooperation or courtesy in the future.



Supreme Ayatollah

Pug Life Ministries

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Second poster available

I have just returned from the pet clinic, where my veterinarian removed my stitches and pronounced me a "wild dog." Praise Allah! All is well in that regard. And all is well at the ministry's eBay sale, too. Upon seeing the interest generated by the ongoing auction, our artist friend from has donated a second poster to the ministry.

This is, to my knowledge, the final such masterpiece that the ministry will be auctioning off. Because of the early interest generated by the first poster, this new item will have a much shorter auction period. So anyone interested in owning a piece of history, blessed by yours truly, should act quickly and visit one of our two auctions via the links below.



And to ease any concerns among potential buyers, it should be noted that I blessed these two posters through the Internet. Thus, they are undamaged by the sneeze particles that generally accompany my blessing.

Don't believe everything you read

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Investigators with the International Atomic Energy Agency have been stymied in their efforts to look into the alleged disappearance of a large quantity of enriched rawhide, officials say.

One high-level investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the apparent theft occurred in recent weeks at Pug Life Ministries' secretive compound in Texas.

"We hear that something went down at the Pug Life Telethon," the investigator said, referring to a recent fundraiser. "But unless those dogs cooperate, there's nothing the IAEA can do. At present time, we can't even get them to shake hands."

Sources inside the ministry, which is led by firebrand cleric Ayatollah Mugsy, refused to comment.

The ministry, described by some U.S. officials as a dangerous secessionist canine movement, has refused to cooperate with the U.N. in the past, with its enigmatic leader openly feuding with the IAEA.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mugsy addresses the world's women

I apologize for any unexpected lightheadedness, shortness of breath or hysteria I may have caused with the recent photo of my Hasselhoff-esqe barrel chest. In the future, I will be sure to precede such images with a warning.

Too sexy for my shirt?

I have been pleased with the interest shown in the ministry's poster auction, my flock. The earnings are urgently needed and will be put to good use, as I have recently been forced to order a new batch of smelling salts for the harem. The sight of my ultra-manly chest fur billowing out of my T-shirt has, understandably, caused many a lady to swoon.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The gift unveiled

Yesterday, I told you in the most mysterious way possible of a major donation to the ministry. Today, I am here to reveal the details of what is, quite possibly, the most significant gift in the history of Pug Life Ministries.
Kevin McCormick, artist extraordinaire and a longtime friend of Pug Life, was deeply moved by the ministry's recent telethon. So great was his fervor that this master artisan saw fit to donate a priceless piece of propaganda poster art to the ministry. And rather than hang this masterpiece in one of the ministry's mosques or churches, where it could be enjoyed by the masses, we have decided to take the Capitalist Pug approach. (In truth, our present lack of any actual religious facilities may have played a role in this decision.)
So this limited edition, signed and numbered, hand-silkscreened, ayatollah-blessed print could be yours. For further details, I urge you to read my first-ever listing on eBay.
Let us all thank Kevin for his generosity, and then let us all dig deep into our wallets and engage in a frenzied bidding war against one another. Allahu akbar!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Exciting news

I have just received word of a major donation to the ministry. A benefactor, moved by the stunning spirituality and star-studded entertainment on display at the recent Pug Life Telethon, wants to open the well of generosity in a way that will benefit not only the ministry, but also you, dear readers. Stay tuned for more details and a formal announcement.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A sight to behold

The vet says I should be limited to "low activity" while I recuperate from my surgery. Apparently, my customary 16 hours of daily sleep is no longer enough. So I've cut back on ministry activities for the time being, and I'm trying to take it easy. I was recently leisurely surfing the Internet when I made an astonishing discovery on Pancho the Mutt's blog. Look at the size of this hole in the ground:

Isn't that amazing? Just imagine how many bones we could bury in that! God willing, I will annex this land for Pugistan so that no tasty morsel shall go unhidden. To learn more about this Siberian marvel, click here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Mugsy's surgery a success

I am in recovery, my flock. I went under the knife yesterday for some surgery to remove a small growth on my side. I had not previously disclosed this information to the congregation because, like my bout with Lyme disease last year, it just never came up. The operation left me groggy and with little appetite, but I am beginning to return to normal today, after a good night's sleep. To keep me from scratching at my stitches, mother followed the well-trained vet's advice and put one of her T-shirts on me. I understand that this is for my own good, but it simply is not proper for an ayatollah to cross-dress. Why, oh why, couldn't father have been more petite?

Friday, August 03, 2007

TELETHON: Disaster strikes

Bella, no! Bad girl! Bad girl! Get away from the Pointer Sisters!

Oh, dear. I'm afraid we're going to have to wrap the telethon up early. I have to get Tom Petty to the hospital at once. Pray for him. And thank you all for attending.

TELETHON: The Bella-rina

Bella would now like to perform an interpretive ballet dance for the congregation. Isn't her outfit lovely? It is so gratifying to see that little Bella has finally turned the corner. At last, her days of mayhem are behind her. So here she is performing Swan Lake, with accompaniment by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

TELETHON: Mugsy returns

Wasn't that touching, my flock? At last, Sister Bella is redeemed. And she has informed me that she would like to perform for the congregation later to do her part for the telethon. If Bella's one-time heart of darkness can be saved, there is surely hope for us all. Thank you for your strength and courage, Sister Bella. And thank you for that 67 cents.

TELETHON: A papal audience

Hello, children of Pug Life. This is Pope Pius Pug. I am pleased to be able to join you today for this most momentous occasion. Today, I would like to speak to you about forgiveness. In Mark 11:25, it says, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." So today, I want to make public a forgiveness that I made in my heart long ago.

As some of you may recall, I was brutally slain by a demon-possessed Chihuahua. Were it not for the resurrectory powers of Brother Mugsy, my beloved friend and business partner, I would not be barking before you now. Though some might hold a grudge after such a vicious attack, I quickly forgave Bella the Chihuahua. She knew not what she did. And now, after witnessing the progress that she has made since her exorcism, I am ready to welcome her back into the fold. Yes, the onetime outcast Mexican bandito will be retaking the habit and rejoining the Pug Life nunnery as Sister Bella.

Let this story of forgiveness and redemption fill your hearts as you dig deep into your wallets to purchase some goods from the Vatican Gift Shop. All proceeds will go directly to the Pug Life Telethon fund, which currently stands at 67 cents. That is just $99,999,999.33 short of today's goal. Remember: Every little bit helps; every big bit helps more.

TELETHON: Special announcement

In a few moments, I will be turning the lectern over to my good friend and business associate Pope Pius Pug. I have heard from more than a few conspiracy theorists that the pontiff and I never seem to appear in the same place at the same time, so I was thrilled when he accepted my invitation to appear at the telethon today. At last, we could put some silly rumors to rest. Unfortunately, the pope's travel plans hit a snag, and he was unable to leave the Vatican. So he will be joining us via satellite. During this time, I will be out on my daily constitutional, making sure all the neighborhood mailboxes are properly marked. So please give the pope a warm welcome when he arrives.

TELETHON: Another convert

Though most of you have been unable to watch all the day's events live on TV, a fortunate few have been able to tune in. This pug, who lives two houses down and has a massive antenna on his roof, was overcome by the Holy Spirit while watching Pug Life's unicycle-riding poodle squad perform live from the dog park.

TELETHON: The phone bank

Fielding all these telethon phone calls is starting to wear me out. But I will not rest until the money stops flowing.

TELETHON: All-star duet

Direct from Down Under, please welcome platinum-selling recording artist Olivia Newton-John as she teams up with the incomparable Louie the Pug. This is a duet for the ages, my flock. Be sure to crank up the volume, because you canines will love this one. Let's get physical!

TELETHON: 'Mugsy's Kids'

How about those Rockettes, everyone? Don't they look mah-velous? This is Billy Crystal, the ayatollah's co-emcee for this fine, fine event. Let me tell you, when Mugsy called me up and told me about this telethon, I dropped everything. "When Harry Met Sally: Part 2" -- the ink was already dry on the contract. "Sorry," I told the producers. The movie is going to have to wait. This telethon is too important, this cause too great to ignore. Pug Life is more than just an interfaith, interspecies ministry. Its charitable works touch all facets of society. So now, let's talk about one of them. I have here with me Timmy Hesterberger, an 11-year-old who's spent the last few weeks at Ayatollah Mugsy's Youth Indoctrination Camp.

Billy: Hi, Timmy. How are you today?
Timmy: Good, sir.
Billy: Good, good ... I've often heard you campers referred to as "Mugsy's Kids," but it's my understanding that the ayatollah was neutered back in '01. How is this possible?
Timmy: The phrase shouldn't be taken literally, sir.
Billy: Oh, right. OK, well tell me, Timmy, what kinds of things have you learned at Mugsy's youth camp?
Timmy: Discipline. Respect. Physical and mental toughness. Subservience to the superior canine race. Proper technique for sneaking human food under the table.
Billy: Wow, sounds like you've been busy! And the funding for the camp, that all comes from donors, right? People who click on that PayPal link on the right side of the page?
Timmy: A small portion, sir. The rest comes from our large tuition payments and our work in the forced labor cam ...
Billy: OK! Thank you, Timmy, for that informative conversation. Isn't he a great kid, folks? Let's all give him a hand!