Monday, May 28, 2007

A Memorial Day message

Hi, everybody. Mallard here. The ayatollah is busy visiting the Kong of the Unknown Shih-tzu, so he asked me to relay a special Memorial Day message from him. Here it is:

As Pug Life Ministries moves ever closer to its goal of establishing a utopian canine society, it is important to remember who makes it all possible. Without the troops of the Armed Revolutionary Forces (ARF), our freedoms would vanish at the first sign of aggression. Without their bravery, we would all be living under the harsh regime of the infidel Blue Bull, deprived of our rawhide and the rule of Sharia law. So if you see a soldier, give him a pat and a bone -- even a handshake, if his trick repertoire is that advanced. And thank him for all that he's done. Brave soldiers of the ARF, I salute you.

Let me second the ayatollah's moving tribute to our fighting men and women. Oh, and if anyone sees the Unknown Shih-tzu, tell him that Mugsy was just keeping the Kong warm for him and that he knows nothing about any missing biscuits.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Not one of my finer moments

Some of you may have seen my recent split-screen appearance on The View, as it has been replayed ad nauseum on various TV shows. To put it bluntly, this was not a moment I was proud of. I had intended to be a mediator, a peacemaker between Rosie O'Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. But the venom in the studio got the better of me, and I entered the fray. As the religious thinker Confucious once said, "A catfight is no place for a dog." And he was right. I regret some of the statements I barked and some of the, er, gestures I made. And although I accept full responsibility for my actions, I suspect that they were not entirely my own. That's right, Barbara Walters, I am putting you on notice. If I am able to prove that you put some kind of mind-altering, anger-inducing substance in the on-set water bowls, you will be hearing from my attorneys.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mugsy's Prague Spring: Part V

Part V: Battle Royale

"I am your father." My heart skipped a beat as I considered the implications of what Blue Bull had just said to me. His fuzzy chest heaved as he sat plastered to the stone wall, his lone eye studying my face.

"Blue Bull ...," I said, carefully considering my words. "Do you take me for a fool?!?" I am an AKC-registered, pure-breed pug -- with the papers to prove it. My biological father's name is Cowboy, you infidel. How dare you besmirch his good name?"

The Blue Satan stammered, caught in yet another lie. I tore into him with my fearsome teeth, honed by a thousand chew sticks. After swinging the Bullshevik coward backward, I hurled him through the tower's eastern window. "Noooo!!!!" he cried, his voice trailing off before being silenced in a cloud of stuffing. And then, as if on cue, the dogs of Prague descended on that spot, rending Blue Bull limb from squeaking limb. Each took a bite of blue, a pinch of cotton. Souvenirs of this great moment in canine history were dispersed across the city. By the time I had reached street level, all that remained was an eye patch. And thus was completed the defenestration of Blue Bull.

"Allahu akbar!" I barked. "Allah's will be done! Now, who wants lunch?"

The End

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pray it ain't so

I have been frantically working the phones this morning, trying to get to the bottom of a disturbing news story. Given that it is only being reported by one media outlet, I am beginning to doubt its veracity. I am always skeptical until I see a story on Fox News, where the network reports and I decide. But for the curious among you, a link to this bombshell of a story is below:

Dog Breeders Issue Massive Recall of '07 Pugs

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A fair offer

I have been in tense negotiations today with the American Postal Workers Union. At issue was a new study showing that dogs have been biting mail carriers less frequently. This reduction in violence coincides with my rising stature in the canine community, and it is clear that my teachings have had a positive influence. Although militant canine Islam has its place, it is imperative that we strive to reduce senseless violence. We must channel our energy in ways that would be pleasing to Allah. At the same time, the postal workers must live up to their end of the bargain. To that end, I have made this offer: I am prepared to wield my influence to reduce dog bites 40 percent over the next year. In exchange, I expect the union membership to agree to a 40 percent reduction in junk mail.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I am so proud of you

DALLAS (AP) -- Police clashed with demonstrators Tuesday in a second straight day of violent protests against the Subway sandwich chain.

Protesters said they were angry over a slight against their supreme ayatollah, Mugsy, the mysterious founder of Pug Life Ministries. "Our imam must be treated with the utmost respect, always," said Robert Barnes, an Oak Cliff dentist. "We demand an apology, and perhaps a free sandwich."

Police Lt. Horace Jebs said the demonstrators in downtown Dallas first chanted anti-Subway slogans and burned an effigy of corporate spokesman Jared Fogle. "But we had to move in and break it up when they tried to ignite a massive pair of jeans," Jebs said. "That could have taken out a whole city block."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mugsy's Prague Spring: Part IV

Part IV: A Tip and a Confrontation

As the nearby Astronomical Clock rang out, the shopkeeper walked outside, reaching for her keys. With no time to think, I ran. My gambit worked; she did not spot the fawn blur sliding between her ankles as she closed up shop for the night. The door locked behind me, trapping me inside the marionette store. Though I had made it this far, my mission was far from over: Hundreds, maybe thousands, of marionettes surrounded me. I began my search, surveying the peasants, witches, jesters, minstrels and more that made up the inventory of the finest marionette shop in all of Prague. Most were top-quality, costing thousands of Crowns apiece. How would I find the one the sorcerer had dubbed "the most perfect puppet"? It seemed an impossible task. I moved into a back room, even bigger than the first. And then, I saw her.

Though the lighting was sparse, she positively glowed. Her wool was soft; her eyes sparkled with sincerity and emotion. Her features were perfect, as if carved by Allah Himself. Certain that this was the marionette I sought, I called out to her.

Her head tilted. "Your Holiness," she said, "is that you? It is, isn't it?"

"I am Mugsy, supreme ayatollah of Pug Life Ministries," I barked. "I come seeking information on the infidel Blue Bull."

"Then you are in the right place," she said.

This most enchanting of all sheep then told me the story of how she had come to know of Blue Bull and his insidious plot. "You notice all the marionettes in this city?" she asked. "That is why Blue Bull chose Prague -- he wants to set up a puppet regime through which to spread his Godless communist ideology. If we do not stop him now, history will repeat itself in Eastern Europe."

"Tell me where to find this Bullshevik coward, and I will put a stop to his reign of terror once and for all," I said.

"He has an apartment in the Powder Tower," she said. "God be with you, my ayatollah."

After realizing that I couldn't reach the lock to let myself out, I curled up under the shopkeeper's desk. Justice would have to wait till sunrise.

[INTERMISSION: Please feel free to use the restroom, make popcorn or get up and stretch your legs. Click here for a brief musical interlude.]

The creaking door and its accompanying rays of sunlight awakened me. As the shopkeeper walked in, I sprang for the medieval courtyard of the Ungelt. "Ack!" she screamed, jumping as I sprinted past her. "My apologies for your carpet," I barked over my shoulder. "It was a long night, and I drank a lot of water at dinnertime."

I was soon at the Powder Tower. I had passed the 13th-century landmark two days earlier, unaware of the evil that lurked inside. But this time, Blue Bull would not escape my righteous wrath. I made my way up the cramped spiral staircase, whose ceilings seemed low even for a pug.

Panting heavily, I searched the first floor. Though I found no sign of the Azure Devil, I did encounter a woman behind a counter who demanded that I pay 100 crowns to continue. After doing so, I moved onward and upward, searching the next floor, and then the next.

Finally, the staircase turned into a ladder, poking through a wooden floor at the apex of the gothic edifice. "Either I find Blue Bull now," I thought, "or this trip has all been for naught."

Slowly, I crept up the ladder, poking my head into the light. An instinctive, guttural growl echoed through the chamber as I spied my nemesis. I vaulted toward him, my hackles seemingly a foot high. "Blue Bull!" I barked, "this is your last chance to make peace with your maker! Allahu akbar!"

Caught unaware, he squeaked in terror. Blue Bull ran toward a cache of kitchen implements in the corner. But before he could find a weapon, I scooped him up in my powerful jaws. I chomped down with all my fury, causing his stitches to pop one by one. Cotton spilled from his gaping midsection as I shrugged off his ineffectual punches. A great whooshing sound came from his newly punctured squeaker. After violently shaking him, I tossed him against a wall.

Struggling for breath, Blue Bull reached out toward me. "Mugsy," he squeaked, "before you smite me ... there is something you should know ..."

"... I am your father."

To be continued ...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Subway treads on dangerous ground

In need of a quick bite to eat, I stopped by the neighborhood Subway and ordered a turkey sandwich. The cashier, distracted by a conversation with the sandwich-makers, asked the woman in front of me what kind of sandwich she had. "Ham," came the reply. Then the query came to me. "Turkey," I said. After some more chatting with her colleagues, she asked again, "What kind of sandwich did you order?"


She gave me the price, and I pulled a $10 bill from my turban to pay. "He ordered ham," said one of the sandwich-makers, in the voice of a tattling grade-schooler. The cashier shot an accusatory look my way. "What kind of sandwich did you order?" she said. "What did I just tell you?" I barked. "Turkey." And with that I grabbed my change and left.

Keep annoying your customers in this manner, Subway, and I will be forced to declare jihad on that insufferable Jared.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mugsy's Prague Spring: Part III

Part III: The Exchange

The sun was low in the evening sky as the marionette shop came back into view. I took a deep breath as I drew near, a heavy plastic bag hanging from my jowls. Once inside, I set the bag down. "Sorcerer!" I barked. "I have returned." He slowly appeared from the shadows cast by his legion of puppet cohorts. "Is that what I seek?" he asked, pointing toward the bag. I nodded. His arm reached out to take it. "Not so fast," I barked, lashing out to push his marionette string backward. "I believe we had a deal."

"Ah, yes. Of course," he said. He pulled a notecard from his cloak and pushed it toward me. "Here is the address," he said. "In the Ungelt. Once there, seek out the most perfect puppet. You will know it when you see it."

"Dammit, wizard. I need a name!" I exclaimed, my hackles rising.

"That I cannot give you," he replied, his stare piercing through me. He opened the bag and peered inside. A sinister whisper of a laugh spilled from his unmoving lips. "With this, I now hold the key to immortality!" he proclaimed, clutching a large container of termite repellent.

"All right," I barked. "I must be going now ..."

To be continued ...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Black book blues

There has been much speculation about the client list of the alleged "D.C. Madam," which may contain the names of some of this nation's political elite. For the record, I only received belly rubs.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mugsy's Prague Spring: Part II

Part II: The Sorcerer's Offer

"Ayatollah, I know that you are here to bring Blue Bull to justice," said the long-haired wizard, his Czech accent thick. His arms moved in an exaggerated fashion, and in his left hand he clutched a book of spells. "I do not know his exact whereabouts, but I know of someone who can help you track this monster down. I might be willing to ... pull a few strings. Quid pro quo, of course."

I studied the sorcerer's face. Was he sincere? Or was he trying to use me to achieve some diabolical black-magic aim? After traveling more than 5,000 miles, I decided I had little choice but to hear him out. "Go on," I barked.

He showed no emotion as he laid out his offer in full detail. "And that is all I seek, my liege. Do me this small favor, and Blue Bull could be yours." I briefly considered his proposal. "Done," I barked. "I shall return this evening."

As I left the shop, I could not help but wonder: Had my pursuit of the Blue Satan led me to make a deal with the devil? I said a silent prayer to Allah as I descended an escalator at the Malastranska subway stop.

To be continued ...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Back from Prague

I have returned from Prague with much to tell, my long-waiting flock. My hunt for Blue Bull had its share of ups and down, successes and failures, triumphs and frustrations. And, as is so often the case for a canine with aspirations of world domination, lingering unfinished business. But enough of this scene-setting. Without further ado, let me tell you about my search for Blue Bull in the Czech Republic.

I arrived in the afternoon, exhausted from a grueling overnight flight and a four-hour layover in London. After finding my hotel on the steeply sloping Nerudova Street in Prague's Mala Strana (Little Quarter) area, I promptly fell asleep. I awoke at midnight, refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges of this strange, vowel-deprived land. Setting out on foot, I put my nose to the cobblestones in an effort to detect a hint of the fuzzy infidel who had tried to destroy the ministry that I have so painstakingly assembled. After crossing the Charles Bridge into Old Town, I followed the crowds of humans toward
Old Town Square and then on to the seedy (at least at 1 a.m.) sidewalks of Wenceslas Square. No sign of Blue Bull. Though my haphazard late-night sniffing bore no fruit, I knew there would be more time. Eager to exit the den of debaucherous infidels on Wenceslas Square, I strode back to my apartment and tried to sleep through the night.

Over the next few days, I would meet with many pre-arranged contacts, including a onetime KGB bureau chief, an imam at a local mosque and former President Vaclav Havel. I scoured the Vltava River for signs of Blue Bull, meeting with some distant
relatives of my colleague Mallard. They offered some leads on the Blue Satan's whereabouts, but nothing concrete. I searched high and low, climbing the medieval Powder Tower and wandering the cty's endless labyrinth of narrow alleyways. I searched in modest gift shops and extravagant palaces.

Finally, a glimmer of hope took the sting out of my aching paws. As I pursued Blue Bull's scent in the shadows of Mala Strana, a low voice called my name. "Pssst," it whispered. "Ayatollah, it is you, isn't it?" I turned to find a local marionette shop. And peering out from the doorway was a steely stare I will not soon forget.

"Ayatollah Mugsy, my liege. I am so glad you are here at last. The prophets spoke of your arrival. You are here to find the Evil One who seeks to return this nation to the communist rule that sapped us of our will and our freedoms for four long decades. I believe I can be of service to you."

Though I want to tell you more about this old sorcerer's message, my flock, my travels have left me weary. As my eyelids grow heavy and my tail begins to droop, it is becoming apparent to me. This is a tale that will have to wait until a later date.

To be continued ...