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.