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.