Sunday, December 06, 2009

Holiday gift guide: Part III


The gift: The Pug Life Ministries Gift Shop offers an assortment of Mugsy-approved merchandise. The store includes stirring propaganda items bearing the intense visage of the ayatollah, official Voting Rights for Canines products, the simple yet profound Got Rawhide? lineup, and the holy offerings from the Vatican Gift Shop, featuring Pope Pius Pug.
Special offer: Today (Sunday, Dec. 6) only, get free shipping on apparel orders of $50 or more by using coupon code WKNDDEAL. Some restrictions may apply.
Cost: Varies. But as Mugsy always says, "Spendliness is next to Godliness." So don't be shy.


The gift: Instead of buying something for the person who already has everything, why not just donate that money to a worthy cause such as an animal shelter or rescue group? You can often make a donation in the name of the gift recipient or rescue a dog in their name. Worthy causes abound, but some that get the Ayatollah Seal of Approval include DFW Pug Rescue and Operation Kindness.
Cost: As much or as little as you want.
Where: The links above, or google a shelter or rescue group in your area.


The gift: Artisans on the handmade craft site are apparently selling custom silhouette images of beloved pets. An example from the sometimes hilarious Web site can be found above. And yes, that was supposed to be a poodle puppy.
Cost: Too much, unless you can do better than this one. If you really want a silhouette, make the ayatollah an offer and he'll consult his Photoshop Sweatshop.
Where: Various merchants on

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Holiday gift guide: Part II


The gift: Many canines like to fetch a ball, and many humans like to see a giant mustache on a dog. So this item offers the best of both worlds -- a rubber ball attached to a giant mustache! In theory, the canine will pick up the ball end of the Stache and look like an Old West villain about to tie a damsel to some train tracks. I have my doubts and think you may see just as much whisker-chewing as ball-fetching. But you gotta admit that outrageous facial hair is in in the doggy world (just look at Ayatollah Mugsy's beard!), so it might be worth a shot if your pet is unable to grow his own thick mustache.
Cost: $12 for one, $10 apiece for two or more, plus $5 shipping for entire order

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday gift guide

Hey, everybody. It's me, Wendell. Mugsy put me in charge of the ministry after a recent surgery, though he's going in tomorrow to get his stitches taken out, so he'll be back at the helm soon. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't done a great job filling in as blogger-in-chief -- I've been a little distracted from posting by my newfound howling abilities. Rumor has it that there's even a video floating around of an ayatollah family howl-a-thon, so that may surface at some point if there's enough interest. You may have also heard a rumor that I've been cast as a werewolf in the next Twilight movie, but the screeching girls in "Team Wendell" should know that no contract has been signed as of yet -- though I am willing to show off my abs in exchange for a belly rub.

Anyway, I don't want Mugsy to be mad at me for my lack of blog posts, so I'm gonna try to make up for it now with a new feature, running all this week, that I like to call the Pug Life Ministries Holiday Gift Guide! I've scoured the Web for some of the finest canine-centric gifts so that you don't have to.

So let's get right to it -- here's the first installment!


The gift: First off we have the Humping USB Dog, the ultimate gift for the techno-geek dog lover in your life. The 2.25-inch-tall dogs come in either boxer or beagle (and other breeds are pictured, so you may be able to find those if you shop around). Simply plug the amorous pooches into your computer and watch them go to town! These are perfect for both home and office use. And as the seller states, they do require USB power to get turned on.
Cost: $9.99 plus shipping

If you have any ideas for items to include in the gift guide, message Ayatollah Mugsy on Facebook or e-mail him at

Monday, November 23, 2009

What the?!?

I have witnessed a bizarre ritual in which mother, father and Wendell were all howling. I am preparing my exorcism kit, just in case ...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Mugsy condemns waiter

I arrived at the Mexican restaurant, ravenous. (True, this is my usual state, but on this evening, I was even hungrier than usual.) Mother and I sat down and waited. And waited. Our appointed waiter -- "Cody," if that is his real name -- didn't show up but instead stood behind the bar chatting with someone. Instead, the kindly hostess who'd seated us took our drink and food orders. Eventually, Cody brought us our food and said he'd now be taking care of us.

Later in the meal, Cody stopped to ask if there was anything we needed. "Can I have some more salsa?" I asked, my little bowl nearly empty. "Well, uh, that's salsa there," he said, pointing at a dish on mother's plate. "It just has some sour cream in it." I looked at Cody, dumbfounded, and then at mother's plate. First, I had not ordered a salsa-sour cream mixture -- I asked for a bowl of salsa. And second, what kind of infidel waiter tells someone to eat off his neighbor's plate? How does he know we're not mere acquaintances? Or on a business dinner? Or that one of us wasn't ill? Has Cody never heard of the swine flu epidemic?!?! I should report the infidel to the CDC as a public health hazard!

Now it's possible that Cody noted the familial resemblance between mother and I and assumed I wouldn't mind eating off her plate, but still, this kind of an assumption is strictly forbidden for a waiter who wants a good tip. And it got worse, my flock. Oh, yes, it got worse. The infidel Cody returned near the end of our meal with our check. "Would you like me to take your plate?" he asked mother. She consented, and he picked it up. Then he quickly reached over with his grubby little hands and grabbed my plate while it still had food on it. "I'm still eating!" I growled, pondering whether to take a chunk out of his forearm flesh with my razorlike teeth. "No," I told myself, "this waiter has already left enough of a bad taste in my mouth."

Cody, I condemn you in the strongest possible terms. Nobody takes food from the ayatollah -- just ask my little brother Wendell! All I can say is that Cody is fortunate that I let mother determine his tip.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pug-O-Ween: The Viking Invasion

We set out shortly after 8 a.m., lowering our Viking longship into the creek that runs through our neighborhood and dog-paddling away from the shore. The recent heavy rains would prove helpful, ensuring that the various tributaries criss-crossing Dallas-Fort Worth remained navigable. True, we could have reached the Pug-O-Ween venue in Arlington in less than an hour via automobile, but Wendell and I wanted to get in touch with our Norsepug forebears. We wanted this experience to be as authentic as possible. For on this, the holiest of pug holidays, we were not mere pugs in costume. We were Vikings.

Six hours later, we eased to the shore near Meadowbrook Recreation Center. We were ready to loot and pillage, to claim one of the best-costume prizes that had eluded us in years past. On this sunny Saturday afternoon, the ayatollah Viking horde would not be stopped! We ran toward the venue, frightening small children and grown-ups alike with our lightning-quick advance. Like the fearsome Scandinavian warriors from the Middle Ages, we had no interest in stealth -- which would be difficult anyway, given my heavy breathing. No, we had our eyes on the prize -- and nobody would stand in our way.

Of course, a few hours of pillaging can really wear a pug out. Such was the case with my blond-bearded brother, Ulf Wendellson, who found a comfy purse to lie down on.

He also took a nap in our longship. Fortunately, I was able to stay alert to watch out for would-be intruders. And to pose for pictures.

When it came time to go before the judges, I proudly strutted the gymnasium floor, my Viking blade shining in the afternoon sunlight. Wendell began our march in the longship, The Rawhide Raider, where he could guard our treasure chest of rawhide bones. But after mother pulled it 10 feet or so, Wendell jumped out to impress the judges with his athleticism. We made our lap around the gym to rapturous applause, pausing before the judges to let the full force of our Viking garb sink in.

Mother did most of the work on the costumes, using two fur materials, two faux-leather materials, two sets of toddlers' thermal underwear and various other odds and ends to craft our costumes. She made our horned hats, our fur cloaks with bone fasteners, our fur leg-bands, and our weapon belts. Father painted our shields and served as blacksmith for my sword. The humans considered making Wendell a battle-ax, but they ultimately felt he wasn't yet mature enough to handle such a weapon. Father also colored Wendell's beard with a Hi-Liter. Our sea-faring vessel was hand-delivered from our grandmother and grandfather from Oklahoma. They built the amphibious vehicle on a wagon chassis, along with our aunt, a skilled artisan shipbuilder who painted the vessel's intricate details.

After making our lap and giving it our all, we returned to our corner to watch the other competitors and sniff our neighbors some more. A big gray-and-black rescue pug in need of a home stood beside our longship in his enclosure, wagging his tail and luring the humans in to pet him with his jovial personality. God willing, he and the other rescue pugs at the event will make somebody who visits a great pet.

Finally, it was time for the judges to announce their decision. First the third-place finisher in our Ghoulish Groups division was announced. Then second place. Then first place. We did not win -- again, we would go home empty-pawed. Oh, well. It was still fun. And we knew that -- if we wanted to -- we could still raid the judges' neighborhoods afterward, plunder their valuables and burn their homes down to a smoldering pile of ash.

All in all, it was a great afternoon. We got to be Vikings. We picked up some free food samples. We sniffed approximately 280 fellow canines. We raised money for a great cause, DFW Pug Rescue. We saw some fun costumes. And did I mention that we got to be Vikings? Not a bad day's work.

Below is a slideshow of some more of our photos from the event. Mother and father had a bit of a bias toward Viking photography, but some of the other pugs' costumes are included as well. I don't know why Photobucket insisted on making the pictures so small, but you can enlarge any image by clicking on it. Hope you enjoy the show half as much as we enjoyed being there.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pug-O-Ween preparations

"I hope you don't actually expect me to wear that on my head," I barked to father, as I watched his feeble attempt at fashioning a Pug-O-Ween costume. "You know, even without opposable thumbs, I could do better than that." Father lowered his head in shame, aware that his headgear was not fit for an ayatollah. Then I approached mother, to see if she was doing any better. Thankfully, she was -- I knew I could count on her! Mother's costume-making skills have never let me down before. My plan to appear as a REDACTED FOR SECURITY REASONS at Saturday's Pug-O-Ween celebration is proceeding nicely. God willing, my ceremonial holiday garb will be ready on time.

Balloon boy's bubble bursts

It appears that the balloon boy cried wolf with a helium-fueled high voice. Now when somebody launches an actual 6-year-old high into the atmosphere, nobody will believe it. And this is the true tragedy of this tale.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reading dogs, sexy costumes and more!

Hey, everybody. This is Wendell, the ayatollah's little brother, bringing you an update from the Canine News Network. That's right; I'm about to drop some knowledge on ya about all things dog-related. So let's begin, shall we?

  • "The Today Show" on Thursday presented Willow, a dog who can read. The folks at NBC seemed to think this was a big deal -- apparently they haven't checked out the blogosphere lately. Mugsy could read the Quran in Arabic and English before he was 2 years old! I still struggle with some of the big words, but my attention span's not so great. Anyway, where was I? ... Oh yeah, this Willow chick has a three-word vocabulary and does tricks based on the word written down on a card for her. It may not be as impressive as a pug writing a regular sermon, but it's still pretty cool. Plus, she's quite a fetching little lady, so check her out.
  • Speaking of fetching, did you know that you can now buy "sexy" Halloween costumes for your dog? It's true! For example, there's the "Sexy Schoolpup" outfit to your right. And check this out: Not only can you dress like a harlot, but now your doggy can even get a matching outfit! Actually, calling some of these costumes "sexy" is a bit of a stretch -- I've seen far sexier in Mugsy's harem. But that bitch in the French maid outfit is totally smokin' ...
  • Our next story comes from sunny Huntington Beach, Calif., where hundreds of humans and some gnarly dog dudes turned out for the first-ever Surf City Surf Dog competition. I tell ya, there's nothing like seeing an 80-pound bulldog "hanging twenty" on a longboard. Check out this link for more details and a video.
  • In more serious news, did you know that dogs can get the flu, too? Canine influenza, or H3N8, is a highly contagious virus with symptoms that can resemble kennel cough. Symptoms include cough, fever, runny nose, loss of appetite and low energy. A new vaccine for canine influenza was released this summer, but it's not recommended for everyone. Dogs that congregate with lots of other canines in places like kennels and mosques are most vulnerable to the flu, along with elderly dogs and those with health problems. I'm sure your vet can provide more information than I can, because -- let's face it -- I'm a 2-year-old puppy with no medical training.
  • And finally, "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell recently donated $30,000 to help out a dog rescue group. Kudos, sir. I mean, we'd love it if you dropped some cash like that in the ministry's offering plate, but this is mighty nice, too. Maybe Simon's not the big grump we all thought he was. But seriously, dude, button up your shirt. You're showing more chest fuzz than I am.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mugsy denied Nobel Peace Prize

Well, my flock, it happened again: I didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize. The all-too-familiar refrain echoes through my silky-furred head in my waking hours and haunts me in my leg-twitching dreams. My efforts to secure Mideast peace and suffrage for canines have once again fallen upon deaf ears in Oslo. This time, I was denied by U.S. President Barack Obama, who won the prize despite lacking any significant accomplishments in the realm of world peace.

As the Nobel committee members essentially said, Obama was awarded because they expect good things out of him. Under such faulty logic, would not the Best Picture Oscar have gone to "The Godfather: Part III"?

But I am not here to tear down Obama. I congratulate him on his victory, and I wish him well in trying to prove the honor justified through his future actions. Still, it seems clear to me that at some point, we must raise the bar from, "At least he's not President Bush."

And to the Nobel committee in Oslo, I leave you with these parting words: Give me the prize in 2010, or I will instruct the Armed Revolutionary Forces (ARF) to invade Norway, plant a Pugistani flag on your fjords and forcibly seize a peace medal from your headquarters.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dog day at the water park

Last weekend, Wendell and I attended a canine swim day at Hawaiian Falls water park in The Colony. This is our story, in pictures:

Our first stop was the wave pool, where the big dogs were frolicking. But I've never really been the surfer-dude type, so the crashing waves weren't my style.

The kiddie pool -- now this is more like it. As you can see, Wendell was more eager to get wet than I was.

But I soon ventured in, albeit with an odd cross-legged gait.

Despite his freakishly long legs, Wendell wasn't quite tall enough to go on the Hawaiian Half Pipe. But he didn't let that dampen his enthusiasm.

Wendell actually tried to scale this contraption at one point. The lad is adventuresome -- you must give him that.

All this fun was starting to make me tired.

So as Wendell laid claim to a fountain-gushing rock ...

... and the big dogs, newly converted to canine Islam, chased their toys into the wave pool ...

... I set out with father on a trip around the lazy river. Ah, this is the life.

"Wendell," I barked upon my return, "you have to try this." Being a tad high-strung, Wendell wasn't quite as relaxed as I was. At one point, he leaped off his inner tube to the side. Father then put him in and let him dog paddle a bit, and Wendell continued the swimming motion even after father pulled him from the water. Unfortunately, mother was too busy laughing to snap a picture.

All in all, it was a most satisfying day.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mugsy addresses U.N. General Assembly

I am blogging from the lectern at the U.N. General Assembly, where my speech addressing the world body on behalf of Pugistan has entered Hour 8. It took much pushing and prodding to secure a spot for Pugistan, but I was given the less-than-coveted 3 a.m. time slot, right after Djibouti. With my long-winded "filibarker" technique, I intend to retain the podium through prime-time. About three-fourths of the delegates have now walked out, though I suspect it has more to do with exhaustion than any political statement. Today's speech has been less controversial than my previous appearances at the U.N. -- I spent the last half-hour reciting nursery rhymes. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is giving me the thumbs-up sign and appears particularly impressed with my reading of "Hey Diddle Diddle." I suspect that he wishes he had quoted the song in his own rambling speech.

I must be going now -- it is difficult to type and bark at the same time. But I would like to give special thanks to Donald Trump, peace be upon His Hairpiece, for allowing me to erect my Bedouin kennel on his property during my stay in New York.

Mugsy goes to a Pink concert

Welcome, my flock, to this, my second straight estrogen-soaked blog post. Last time, it was an author speaking tour. This time, it was a musical showcase featuring Pink and the Ting Tings. No offense to the authors, but they didn't leave me humming afterward.

The day began with a call from mother, who informed me that someone had donated free Pink tickets to the ministry offering plate. To this friend of the ministry, who has earned the title of honorary pug, I offer my sincere thanks -- and a wish to get well soon.

So the ayatollah clan set out for American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. As we roamed the crowded halls looking for our seats, mother slipped into the ladies' room. Being a well-mannered and house-trained pug, I walked toward the nearby men's restroom. But to my surprise, the "Men" sign was covered up with a "Women" sign. It seemed that most of the arena's men's rooms had been overtaken by the rowdy crowd of females on hand for the show. I envisioned an AAC staffer standing inside the doorway passing out samples of
the innovative P-Mate device to allow all these women to use the urinals with ease.

After finding our seats, and a disgusting tub of popcorn that would make the Dead Sea seem sodium-deficient, we settled in for an evening of music. With each odd-numbered bite, I felt my diastolic blood pressure spike 10 points. On the even-numbered bites, the systolic pressure rose an equal amount. Despite the presence of two pugs, most of the over-salted popcorn went uneaten. Yes, it was that bad.

But the concert was excellent. Despite recently suffering a separated shoulder, Pink was a dynamo on stage -- and even above the stage, where she performed some impressive trapeze moves. The large funhouse-themed set was perfect for Pink's high-energy, arena-ready songs, many of which I'd forgotten about until the choruses kicked in. In addition to her own bevy of radio-friendly hits from the last decade, Pink performed several covers: Led Zeppelin's "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You," Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" and the early '90s Divinyls classic "I Touch Myself." The latter song was done in a slow-burning, sultry manner and featured a handsy chaise longue in a display so racy that a red-faced mother quickly covered Wendell's puppy-dog eyes. If you missed it, fear not -- I hear it will be re-airing at 2 a.m. on Cinemax.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The secret life of pugs

The estrogen hung thick in the air, so thick you could slice it with a scimitar. A crowd of mostly older, feminist women -- many with hair not much longer than my own fur -- had turned out for the Dallas Museum of Art's presentation of mother-daughter authors Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. The elder Kidd is perhaps best known for her 2002 novel "The Secret Life of Bees," but on this night the pair were discussing their first collaboration, the memoir "Traveling With Pomegranates." As a pug who enjoys both road trips and eating fruits, I jumped at the chance to join mother under the majestic dome of downtown's First Presbyterian Church of Dallas for the event.

The pair talked about the unique dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship, about finding their way in life as their relationship and their views of themselves changed, and about the symbolic and personal meanings they gleaned from their journeys together to Greece, Turkey and France. Listening to their talk, I immediately dozed off and began to dream about my own idea for a memoir. It would be about the unique dynamic of the pug brother-brother relationship, written in alternating chapters by Wendell and yours truly.

Few authors have dared to tackle such a daunting project. The pug brother-brother relationship is fraught with complexity -- the constant competition for rawhide and kibble counter-balanced by Wendell's nurturing daily cleaning of my wrinkle, the "I've got your back" outbursts of barking, and yes, the myriad squabbles and turf battles brought about by Wendell's status as a confirmed "mama's pup." If written properly, my flock, I believe this memoir could someday top the best-seller lists.

Just as my literary epiphany began to crystallize, I was brought back to consciousness, my slumber interrupted by the onset of the night's question-and-answer session. In the "question" of the night, a woman strode to the microphone and praised Sue Monk Kidd's feminist critique of our patriarchal society in "The Dance of the Dissident Daughter." Then, in a rambling, vaguely angry manner, she criticized Kidd for not tackling the exact same themes in her mother-daughter memoir. Kidd politely responded that those themes did not fit the story that she set out to write with her daughter, to which the woman responded, and I'm paraphrasing, "Well your new book sucks eggs because it's not written exactly the way I would write it, and you're a disgrace to women everywhere."

I nudged mother. "Go tell the authors that you love books about dinosaurs and that you're deeply disappointed that their mother-daughter memoir included no T. rexes," I whispered.

Sadly, mother declined.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I never welch on a bet

I am a pug of my word, my flock. And today, it is time to pay up. As you know, I made a wager with my good friend and business associate Pugham Young for the season-opening football game pitting our favorite teams against each other. Pugham, leader of Pug Life Ministries' Mormon wing, won the bet when his BYU Cougars defeated my Sooners. Had the Sooners won, I would have received from Pugham a coveted set of "magical underwear." But I lost the wager, and now I must pay the price. As requested by Pugham, I have posed for a humiliating photo and must now post it for all the world to see. So here it is:

As you can see, Pugham appears to be unaware of my long history of panty addiction. He seems to think that I wanted the Mormon garments to wear, not to chew on for a special after-dinner snack. It is probably just as well.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Mugsy condemns 'education' speech

I am disgusted, my flock. Utterly disgusted. On Tuesday, the president of the United States sought to indoctrinate the nation's youths in an appalling display of partisan politics. President Obama urged students to stay in school and work hard in their studies, just as we had feared. Even worse, he made no mention of the many great, great Americans who did not stay in school.

Lions of capitalism such as robber baron Andrew Carnegie, McDonald's founder Ray Croc, and steamship and railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt were all dropouts, eschewing the evils of socialist "education" to help build up our nation's mighty economy. Likewise, great patriots like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Paul Revere of '60s rock band Paul Revere and the Raiders had little formal education. If our founding fathers and Revolutionary War heroes did not need schooling, then why should the children of today?

And Obama did not stop at besmirching the good name of our founding fathers and titans of industry. Oh, no, he did not. He also urged students to help protect the environment and end discrimination, thus betraying his true anti-American intentions.

My flock, we must stand up against the evils of socialism and Obama's nefarious "classroom learning" agenda. Or as I like to call it, his "deathroom dying"* agenda.


Did you know that Obama appoints unelected "czars" to various governmental posts in much the same way that all previous presidents have? And while Russia's czars technically predated communism and the Soviet Union, I can connect the dots! "Czar" sounds awfully Russian and exotic to me! Also, did you know that the word "czar" is derived from "Caesar," as in Julius Caesar? The Roman emperor lived in modern-day Italy, which was also home to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini! There you have it: Fascism, communism and Obama's czars, all wrapped up in one tidy, sinister package.

* Special thanks to pollster Frank Luntz for leading a special focus group and coining these "words that work."

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Puppy saga resolved

After far too much drama, our furry houseguest has returned home. Mother was out walking the pup, Wendell and me Friday morning when a woman drove up and said, "Hey, that's my dog." Mother was thrilled to find the owner and began to hand the pup to the woman, who then said, "Well, you can keep him if you want ..."

"Earmuffs!" I said, as Wendell covered the puppy's ears with his paws to spare him any further hurt from his infidel mother.

The woman told mother that her young daughter had been looking for the dog and that she'd bring her by our house in an hour to pick up the dog. This seemed rather dubious, since she could have easily taken the dog right then and there. But the woman drove away before mother could say anything. So we returned to the house and waited.

An hour passed, then three, and the woman never showed up. We figured that the poor, innocent pup had been abandoned, so we began to ask around to see if anyone was looking for a new dogchild. Finally, Friday evening, I received a call on my cellphone. The woman was outside the compound and said her daughter wanted to speak to mother. I was working a late night at the mosque, so I gave the woman mother's phone number and told her to call her. "Are you planning to pick up your dog?" I asked. "Well," she said, "we were going to see if your mother wanted him ..."

"We are not looking for another dog," I interrupted. "We already have two in the household, and the competition for rawhide and bedding space is fierce enough. We are just taking care of the dog because he showed up in our bushes looking pitiful."

"Oh," she replied. I could sense the infidelness in her voice.

I later learned from mother that the woman did call, and that mother rushed home to return the dog. Mother reports that the woman's daughter, roughly 12 years old, was thrilled to get her puppy back, so we pray that she, at least, will take good care of the pup. And hopefully she has a better parenting role model than her mother.

Friendly wager

With my beloved Sooners set to take on BYU in today's season opener, it seemed only natural to make a friendly wager on the game with my good friend and business partner Pugham Young. Pugham, you may recall, is the leader of the Mormon wing of Pug Life Ministries. A huge fan of the BYU Cougars, he has attended every game in the Utah school's 133-year history. He remains incredibly spry after recently celebrating his 190th birthday, attributing his longevity to clean living and daily belly rubs.

When Pugham called and proposed a wager, I accepted on the spot. So confident was I in the Sooners' ability to prevail, even against a stout opponent like the 20th-ranked Cougars, that I didn't even bother to listen to his terms. For all I know, I may have signed away my harem in the event of a BYU win.

But instead of worrying about such possibilities, I kept my eyes on the prize: what Pugham would forfeit to me when my favored school prevailed. I put much thought into my terms for the wager, but ultimately my decision was clear. I have long been intrigued by the so-called "magic underwear" worn by Mormons, and given my somewhat notorious background, you might expect that I'd ask Pugham for a set of my own. And you'd be exactly right.

Go Sooners! The ayatollah needs a fix!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

'Do we know you?'

The family compound has taken on yet another resident, my flock. In addition to the gaggle of geckos receiving tutelage in Ayatollah Mugsy's Boarding Home for Wayward Lizard Youths, we now have a new dog in the house.

He arrived sometime this morning and took up a position beneath one of the large bushes in front of the ayatollah compound. Everyone in the family started hearing noises early in the morning, and Wendell and I went outside several times to investigate. At first we thought perhaps it was the neighborhood urchins at play, but there was nary a child in sight. Then the whining sound grew louder and more frequent. Father, suspecting a possible feline intruder, slowly opened the front door and peered outside. And then he saw the black creature cowering and crying. After a couple of biscuits and some sips of water, the puppy's mood began to improve, but he was still extremely timid.

When he was first introduced to Wendell and me, the poor shaking pup curled up against a kitchen counter and wet himself. "There, there," I said, "my presence often elicits such a reaction among the excited faithful. Just calm down and make yourself at home, my brother." Slowly, we began to build a rapport over biscuits and rawhide bones, which he sadly did not know how to chew. Naturally, I demonstrated the proper form. It wasn't long before the newcomer was bounding around the house looking for shoelaces and electrical cords to chew on.

Since the pup had no collar, father drove him to a local veterinarian's office to see if he had an embedded microchip. Alas, he did not. Father stopped by another local vet's office, but nobody there recognized the dog, either. So Wendell, using his superior typography and design skills, printed up a batch of "Found Dog" fliers, which father posted around the neighborhood. We also put an ad on Craigslist. It is nearly midnight, and nobody has called to claim the pup. A shame, since he has a splendid personality and incredibly soft fur, especially after we gave him a bath.

We've been trying to come up with a suitable name for the lad -- mother likes "Jackson," after an exclamation in a Gaslight Anthem song. Father suggested the Sinatra homage "Ol' Blue Eye," a nod to the dog's one pale blue eye. The pup hasn't really responded to any of the names we've tried, so we may keep working on it. But if we don't hear from his rightful owner, the name decision could be yours to make -- we'll need to find him a good home.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Itching for some fall sports

Greetings, my flock. The last few weeks have been rather busy in the ayatollah household. We have traveled out of state each of the last two weekends. And things are only getting busier; for this weekend, I will be hosting a houseful of rabid football fans in town for the season opener pitting the mighty Oklahoma Sooners against the less-mighty (we pray) BYU Cougars. The game at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington will at long last mark the end of the summer sports doldrums.

This morning, I went to the prestigious Pepper Square Pet Clinic in Dallas for my regular vaccinations, which should protect me from anything these rabid football fans might be carrying. Wendell went along as well, to have his paws examined. My little brother has been chewing on his feet in a worrisome manner, and the veterinarian found that Wendell has allergies that led to an infection. So Wendell is now taking various pills, including steroids that could make the young speedster even stronger and more athletic. With his long limbs and uncanny quickness, Wendell seems destined for a career in the NBA. Which is good, because he already possesses the spending habits of a superstar athlete.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Say what?

I'm aghast that the NFL actually allows people to buy a Philadelphia Eagles dog jersey with the infidel Michael Vick's name and number on it. I smell a fatwa coming on ...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

With a bullet

We were ready to go. We had the directions to the town-hall meeting and a full gas tank in the ayatollahmobile. We had our megaphone to shout down opposing viewpoints in a display of our First Amendment rights. We had our talking points -- a prepared speech on the necessity of any health-care reform including universal veterinary care as well as medical care for chew toys. (True, the latter point is controversial, but it is necessary; the faster the chew toys get stitched up, the faster we can ravage them again.) Yes, Wendell and I were ready to raise a ruckus at tonight's health-care town hall. Until we realized that Wendell's M60 machine gun wouldn't fit in his car crate. So disappointing ...

Monday, August 10, 2009

The running of the Chihuahuas

I attended my first Chihuahua race over the weekend, my flock. I arose early Saturday morning, eager to see the spectacle of 300 pint-sized canines competing for the regional championship and a shot at the world title. As I pulled into the Petco parking lot in North Dallas, I didn't know what to expect. Would pugs be welcome? Would parimutuel wagering be involved? Would there be a tiny jockey on each Chihuahua? These and many more questions would soon be answered.

The crowd was a diverse mix. Though Chihuahuas were naturally most prevalent, many other breeds turned out to show their support. Camera crews were filming the scene, and a purported celebrity was interviewing the winners of each heat. Competitors came from as far away as St. Joseph, Mo., and San Antonio. I neglected to take my camera to properly document the spectacle, but it looked much like the photo above (from a different race locale).

The races began with the Chihuahuas taking their spots behind the starting gates. Each dog had a two-person team, one to hold the dog until the starting gun, and another to wait at the finish line and cheer the competitor on. Before going to the finish line, the human would often show the Chihuahua something to focus on -- a ball, bone or other trinket to motivate the racer. Most of the dogs zeroed in on the finish line with razor-like focus, eager to sprint toward their human. Unfortunately, that focus waned during the lengthy introduction that preceded each race. The emcee went over each dog's name and shared some key biographical information. And by the time the starting gate was finally raised, roughly two dogs per heat remembered that the finish line was their urgent destination. Others ambled about, sniffing one another, walking sideways and usually eventually finding their way to the finish line. Any dog who could gingerly trot in a straight line was likely to finish in the top 3.

None of the Chihuahuas displayed the lightning speed of my younger brother Wendell. But then again, even human sprinter Usain Bolt couldn't hang with the pup in last summer's Olympics. He is one fast dog. I'm convinced that if Wendell had been allowed to run, he would either finish first or dead last -- he does appear to suffer from attention-deficit disorder. But Wendell is a pug, the elite athlete of the animal kingdom, so obviously it would not be a fair competition.

Some have asked whether the infamous Sister Bella took part in the races. I did encourage her to compete, but she was a no-show on race day. It is probably just as well -- sadly, Bella will probably never outrun her demons.

Dirty humans ...

I was forced to suffer the ultimate indignity today: The humans bathed me. God willing, I will have my revenge with a flatulence-filled night.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Big announcement

The ministry's Voting Rights for Canines movement is pleased to unveil its new official logo. This simple yet powerful image was created by an elite team of canine artists sequestered for the last week in the ministry's basement, a basement so secret that the humans do not even know it exists. Working day and night, with minimal napping, these artists captured the very essence of the canine suffrage movement: "We are dogs. We want to vote. Now feed us."

To visit Voting Rights for Canines' haphazardly organized, Home Depot-esque online gift shop, click here. Custom designs are available.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Obama's real birth certificate

I have made a startling discovery, my flock. A discovery that will shake the very foundations of the human-elected government of the United States. Allow me to explain.

As a founding member of the "birther" movement, I read with great interest about the recent discovery of a genuine Kenyan birth certificate bearing the name of one Barack Hussein Obama. This document was apparently e-mailed to California attorney/dentist/real-estate agent Orly Taitz by a technologically savvy Kenyan prince along with his regularly scheduled multi-million-dollar bank deposit. The Kenyan document certainly looked like a real piece of paper to me, but some questioned its authenticity.

So I began to dig deeper. I searched through the deepest recesses of the ministry's archives, looking for something, anything, to prove that America's democratically elected president was a phony. And then I found it. It seems that President Obama -- or perhaps I should say "Mr. Obama" -- was actually born in the Islamic Canine Republic of Pugistan! This Pugistani document, printed on perfectly preserved crisp white printer paper, offers irrefutable proof that Mr. Obama is not a U.S. citizen. I felt a mix of exhilaration -- over the validation of the sanity of the birther movement despite all previous evidence to the contrary -- and shame -- shame that I was about to depose the first Pugistani to rise to such high office. But the Constitution is the Constitution, and the citizens of the United States deserve to know the truth. So here is Mr. Obama's real birth certificate. (Click the image below to view a larger, more detailed version.)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Happy birthday, Wendell!

The ayatollah compound is in celebration mode, my flock. For today is Wendell's 2nd birthday. I remember well the day mother brought him home. He was tiny, with a bad case of stinky puppy acne. But he deferred to my authority, stayed away from my food bowl and was a good cuddler, so I welcomed him into the compound and embraced my new brother. It wasn't long before his shyness abated and he learned how to play -- one of our favorite games was "Swing the Puppy." Who would have guessed then that he'd someday grow taller than me?

Our celebration began yesterday with a family trip to PetSmart. Wendell and I got some new chew toys, and we also sniffed a hound dog. Then father and I went to the party store next door.

"Can I help you find something?" asked a store clerk.

"I'm looking for party hats, the pointy kind," father answered.

The clerk led us to another aisle. "Are you looking for hats for children or adults?" he asked.

"Um ... actually, for dogs," father answered, suddenly reminded of his status as neighborhood outcast.

The clerk scratched his head.

But as you can see, we found some suitable hats, as well as a pair of 25-cent leis. My flock, few things excite me more than getting leid. Whenever I see father holding a lei, my tail wags wildly in a hula-like rhythm and I run toward him with my head down, eager to put it on. Then I smile widely for several minutes, and nothing, not even a fatwa-violator, can dampen my spirits.

We took our party outside to show off our garb to passing neighbors and let Wendell play with his soccer ball. I also urged the humans to fix that piece of weatherstripping hanging off the door. "What will my blog audience think?" I barked. "It is embarrassing. No wonder you are the neighborhood outcasts."

After some time under the hot Texas sun, we went inside to cool down. I sprawled out on the cool tile while Wendell went to work on his new frozen chew bone. It wasn't long before we were exhausted. Partying, when done properly, can be hard work.