- The NBA All-Star Weekend in Dallas, where I rubbed elbows with such luminaries as Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Dwyane Wade and Biz Markie, and where my long-limbed and ultra-athletic brother Wendell received a contract offer from the lowly New Jersey Nets. "No thanks," he told them. "I think I'll stick with a winner in Pug Life Ministries."
- A convention of "furries" in Dallas the following weekend, where hundreds of people dressed like massive chew toys descended upon the region. The local newspaper even wrote a story about it, eliciting much snickering among the populace. But I sensed a possible dark undercurrent. Could this fusion of human and chew toy be a threat to the ministry? I had to investigate. So Wendell and I went undercover, into the heart of the furry beast. Unfortunately, our night ended early when Wendell was arrested on an aggravated assault charge and officers had to use the Jaws of Life to pry him from the leg of a 7-foot-tall teddy bear's leg. The ministry is accepting donations for Wendell's legal defense fund.
This brings us to our present trip to New York City. Wendell's parole officer felt that some time away would do the pup some good, and I had an invitation from The Late Show with David Letterman, so we stowed away in our parents' carry-on luggage last weekend and flew to New York. The region was only hours removed from its latest blizzard when we touched down at LaGuardia, but the runways and sidewalks were mostly clear by the time I arrived. I like to think it's because they knew I was coming.
Since our arrival, we have been busy taking in the many sights and smells and, yes, tastes of New York. So here, in honor of Mr. Letterman, is a Top 10 list of our trip so far.
10 We went up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building for a bird's-eye view of the city. The Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center, which we visited on a previous trip, probably has a better overall view, but there's still satisfaction to be gained anytime a fur-covered creature successfully scales the Empire State Building without taking hostile fire from a gaggle of biplanes.
9 We built a snowpug in Central Park, which just a couple of days earlier had received 21 inches of snowfall.
8 We witnessed an apparent snowman murder scene in that very same park, complete with yellow crime-scene tape, two pink-iced victims and an ax-wielding snowman. This sight prompted me to immediately go into CSI: Snowman mode, as I began to carefully document the crime scene with my camera and conduct spatter analysis. The ax-wielding fellow is currently a snowperson of interest.
7 We visited the Frick Collection near Central Park, an art museum set in an early 1900s mansion.
6 We toured the Federal Reserve Bank in Lower Manhattan and descended 70 feet below street level to see tens of billions of dollars in gold bars. Sadly, my request for a free sample was denied.
5 We sampled some massive cupcakes from Crumbs bakery.
4 Our wonderful hostess for this trip, let's call her The German, gave us a guided nighttime automobile tour of Brooklyn and Manhattan. It was a new vantage point for us usually pedestrian pugs, and after a long day of walking, it was nice to cross the Brooklyn Bridge and see the city lights from the heated comfort of her rented Toyota (which, with the help of my prayers, was able to brake successfully at all stoplights).
3 We attended Wednesday night's Big Terrific comedy show in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The weekly show features writers from The Colbert Report and Saturday Night Live as well as comedians who have appeared on Comedy Central and VH1. And did I mention that it's free and held in a tiny room behind a bar/restaurant? I highly recommend it to anyone who's in the area and likes to laugh. I typically don't, but I made an exception in this instance.
2 We've thus far attended three Broadway shows: God of Carnage, a so-so comedic play starring Jimmy Smits, Annie Potts and Christine Lahti; Chicago, an excellent musical featuring one of the non-Beyonce members of Destiny's Child; and A View From the Bridge, a fantastic Arthur Miller play starring Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson. If my efforts to woo Ms. Johansson to the harem prove successful, this may move to No. 1 on the list.
1 My appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, alongside the brilliant Jerry Seinfeld and the crusty my-generation-is-better-than-yours bore Tom Brokaw.