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.