Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mugsy is getting a sister

A few years ago, I sent mother out with one mission: Bring me a little sister to play with. She returned, instead, with Wendell. After giving mother a detailed and sometimes awkward biology lesson, I gave up on my wish for a sister and instead began to tutor young Wendell, hoping to mold him in my image. As anyone who has met the now 4-year-old perpetual puppy knows, this did not work. Yet despite our differences, we get along famously, in part because he keeps my wrinkles and ears squeaky clean.

That initial sister request was in 2007. And now, as 2011 draws to an end, I am finally close to having my wish granted. For mother and father are expecting their first child of the two-legged, nonfurry variety. It is my preference that she arrive this evening, in time for the 2011 tax year. But the odds of this baby dropping before the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square seem slim. Still, we expect to greet her soon and are excited about her imminent arrival.

I've neglected this blog in recent months, in part because I was building up the ministry's diaper fund, preparing the nursery and attending a grueling multi-hour baby class that was clearly intended to make the mother's labor seem pain-free by comparison. Also, I am now nearly deaf, so I sometimes don't hear father when he calls me for blog time. (Fear not; due to my frequent proximity to the food bowl, I never miss a meal.)

But in the New Year, I resolve to impart more of my teachings to this world that so desperately needs them. And perhaps, God willing, some parenting tips from the ayatollah. 

Happy New Year, my flock. 

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Today in pug science

THE EXPERIMENT: Attach a delicious stick of rawhide to several helium-filled balloons and see what happens. 

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: We hypothesized that this research could lead to advances in pug aerospace, possibly boosting our efforts to capture the moon's vast hidden cache of green cheese. It could open up new avenues for safe rawhide storage. And it could further pug meteorological research, thus aiding our efforts to combat the scourge of wet fur. 


THE REACTION: "Seriously!?!?"

THE CONTROL: When conducting a scientific experiment, it is necessary to have a control group. In this experiment, we wanted to study the effect of the balloons on the pug and rawhide. Thus, we needed to examine a pug chewing rawhide without any helium-filled balloons. Mugsy graciously volunteered.

EARLY RESULTS: Frustration, mostly.

LONG-TERM RESULTS: Victory for Wendell! Allahu akbar!

OBSERVATIONS: Once the subject gained control of the rawhide and realized that it was capable of escaping his grasp, he chewed with great vigor, unwilling to let the rawhide go. However, study of the control subject Mugsy revealed similar behavior.

CONCLUSION: Since the subject did not take flight as hypothesized, further study will be required. Next time, we recommend doubling the balloon supply. And in the meantime, to promote greater airworthiness, it may be worthwhile to divert Wendell's share of Milkbones and other snacks to the ayatollah. 

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Occupy Pugistan protests gain momentum

An Occupy Pugistan protester airs his grievances.

DALLAS (AP) -- The ever-growing Occupy Wall Street protest movement has expanded to a place few thought it would ever go: the Islamic canine republic of Pugistan.

Since Friday afternoon, a small but squeaky group of chew-toy demonstrators has been camped out at the front curb of the suburban Dallas compound of Ayatollah Mugsy, the founder of Pug Life Ministries and the spiritual father of the breakaway republic. Protests have largely focused on Wall Street and not the ayatollah's iron-pawed rule.

"Wall Street's corruption must be stopped," squeaked one teddy bear, who bore the tell-tale signs of the ayatollah's abuse. One of his eyes hung loosely down his cheek, and his wheezing squeak betrayed serious internal injuries. "Whenever the S&P 500 drops, the ayatollah's cruelty increases exponentially. Every time his 401(k) loses money, he takes it out on us chew toys."

The chew toys said that September, when the Dow Jones industrial average suffered multiple triple-digit plunges, was particularly brutal.

"These wild swings on Wall Street are killing us," said another chew toy, who asked not to be identified out of fear of retribution from the ayatollah's regime. He wore a Guy Fawkes mask to conceal his face.

The ayatollah has a history of violently crushing any hint of rebellion from his chew-toy subjects. But as of Sunday afternoon, the ministry had taken no apparent steps to dissuade the protesters. Some analysts speculated that the demonstrations, given their curbside location, had little chance of surviving beyond trash-collection day on Tuesday.

Sources within the ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Mugsy was content to let the protesters vent their anger toward Wall Street so long as it distracted their focus from the true source of their suffering.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Low voltage

I hereby condemn the awful Chevy Volt commercials that have been sullying my living room. Being harassed at a gas station and questioned over your bathroom habits are not selling points. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What good fortune you have today

As mother brushed me, I thought back to history's greatest artistic achievements. Renaissance master Michelangelo putting the finishing touches on the sculpted physique of his magnificent David statue. Czech painter Alphonse Mucha, after 18 years of dedication, climbing down his stepladder for the last time to admire his newly completed Slav Epic series. Justin Bieber laying down the backing vocals on his hit song Baby.  

As mother plucked the fur from my brush, I knew that I was about to top them all. The medium was entirely new. The arrangements were painstaking. The final results, spectacular. 

Behold my new series of fur-on-magazine masterpieces, and know that a framed, signed, one-of-a-kind photo of any of them can be yours for only $75, plus shipping and handling.

"Col. Harry Potter, Southern Gentleman"

"Brush with Greatness"

"True Fuzz"

"Katy Furry"

"THE Ohio State Unabomber"

"Oprah Jesus"

"Two Guys, Some Fur and a Pizza Place"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dances with buffalo

One of these bison is not like the others.

On a recent weekend, I made a pilgrimage to the Lakota Ranch in Greenville, Texas, to visit its new white bison calf. Lightning Medicine Cloud, as he was named in a ceremony attended by more than a thousand people, was born in May during a raging thunderstorm. The Lakota Sioux have a long-standing belief that such animals are sacred, as I learned during my talks with the many bison (all brown) I encountered at Yellowstone National Park last year. So I was eager to meet the little fellow. 

Lightning Medicine Cloud
greets the ayatollah with an
enthusiastic, "Whaaasssssup?"
I am a big fan of buffalo in general, regardless of their coloring. With their iconic silhouette and natural charisma, they are much like pugs. Young Lightning did not have quite the gravitas of his herd's elder statesbison, but he was charming in his own way as he followed his mother and more conventionally colored sibling back and forth along the fence line. 

"Greetings, young calf of prophesy," I barked, as I crossed the parched earth to meet him. "You have been a veritable cash cow for the ministry's formerly unprofitable Lakota wing. Just look at all the T-shirts we're selling at that booth over there. You should be proud."

As we spoke, I noticed that Lightning's fur looked a few shades darker than what I'd seen in the photos taken shortly after his birth. My aunt, in fact, went so far as to say that Lightning was no white buffalo at all -- an assertion that I quickly denounced. After a brief but cordial exchange, it was time for me to return to the comfort of my air-conditioned carriage and bid the sacred calf adieu. I looked once more toward the ringing cash register at the merchandise booth as I said my farewell to the herd. 

"Oh, and Lightning?" I barked, "I'll send someone over with a batch of bleach later this week -- just in case."

Mother made this homage
to Lightning that afternoon
with her burrito wrapper
at Freebirds. 

Saturday, July 02, 2011

An ugly champion

Yoda proves that even the ugliest dog is pretty darn cute.
Assalamu alaikum, my flock. Today, the ministry extends its paw in congratulations to Yoda, a Chinese crested-Chihuahua mix who recently won the prestigious World's Ugliest Dog Contest. Yoda beat out 29 other contestants at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in California and took home $1,600 in prize money. 

Although not terribly ugly by historical standards (who could forget the legendary Sam), the 14-year-old competed honorably and proved more than capable of fetching the ugly stick. Caretaker Terry Devine-Schumacher said the contest recognizes dogs who might otherwise go unnoticed -- never a bad thing. 

Yoda gets a good-luck kiss
before the competition.
"Something like this allows dogs like Yoda to shine," she told the Hanford Sentinel.

Devine-Schumacher said her daughter found Yoda in a field when the dog was 2 years old.

"Nicole came to me holding her and kept asking ‘Look, look, mama, what I found! Can I keep it?'" Devine-Schumacher said. "I wasn't sure at first and almost told her no, because at first I thought she was holding a rat or something else. But then we realized the poor thing was a dog, and we've loved and cared for her ever since."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Another day, another repair bill

Wendell and I are locked outside while the repairman fixes our washer. Oh, the indignity. But at least my turban will be spotless for the weekend. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Judgment Day Carnival

The Rev. Mugnus ver Mugnusson, pastor of the Evangelical Christian Independent Family Radio Broadcaster wing of Pug Life Ministries, has asked me to pass along the following message:

In celebration of my prophecy that today -- May 21, 2011-- will bring the return of Jesus Christ and the beginning of the End of Days, the ministry is sponsoring a Judgment Day Carnival. The carnival will feature a buffet lunch (arrive early if you want to make sure you finish your dessert), games for the kiddos, a face-painting booth and a feline dunk tank. The cost to enter is $25 per person and $10 per pet. This may seem a bit steep, but remember: You can't take it with you! All proceeds will benefit the construction fund for our planned Dogloo fellowship hall. 
As with past Judgment Day Carnivals, the ministry is suspending its typical installment payment plan. To enter, you must pay in full at the door. 

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Forbidden love

"My Bunny amore, pretty little one that I adore ..."

With the addition of little brother Wendell to our family in 2007, I sharply cut back on my chew-toy play. It wasn't so much that I didn't like my toys anymore; it was more a matter of the younger pug swooping in and grabbing whatever toy I showed an interest in. I like to slowly work my way into a play session, sniffing at my toys, poking at their squeakers and charming them with my sultry tail wag and slow-burn flirtation. Having Wendell around has made this exceedingly difficult. So with the exception of the occasional romantic rendezvous with my stuffed-panda concubine (from whom wild horses couldn't drag me away), I mostly leave the chew toys to Wendell now. 

I don't mind, really. There is no resentment toward the young fellow, no ill will. Allah knows that I've had my share of good times with the chew toys, and I'm content to sit back and watch him play as I receive an ear scratch from the humans or chew some rawhide. 

"Thank you, Allah."
But with my landmark 10th birthday and its accompanying national holiday coming up, father decided to buy me a new chew toy of my very own. He waited until Wendell was outside before removing Bunny from her Target sack and placing her on the floor before me. She squeaked seductively, her clean new fur glistening. "Is she for me?" I asked, my tail wag quickening. "She's quite fetching." Our brief introduction was interrupted by Wendell scratching at the door, and father scooped her up and vowed that she would return. And so it was that when Wendell dashed outside later to bark at some pedestrians, Bunny and I reunited. Feeling more energetic now, I sank my teeth into Bunny and tossed her to and fro, embarking on a clandestine relationship as my brother patrolled the fence line outside. I sometimes wonder what young Wendell would think of my secret chew-mistress. Would he approve? Would he be jealous? Would he try to steal her away? Perhaps someday I will introduce them. But for now, she is all mine. 

NOTE: The preceding photo montage is best viewed while
listening to Herman's Hermits' "I'm Into Something Good."

Party animals

Wilbur (left) and Mugsy await a well-deserved treat.

My business-minded friend Wilbur the Pug, a shopkeeper in Plano, is celebrating his 10th birthday this weekend. I, too, turn 10 this weekend -- on Sunday. As I told Wilbur, Allah was having an exceptionally good week in early April of 2001. 

Wilbur threw a birthday soiree at his Woof store today, so Wendell and I donned our finest bandanna partywear, piled into the ayatollahmobile and went to visit him. As a present, we wrapped a bow around a pristine stick of rawhide, that most precious material known to pug. Don't worry, my flock -- father assured me that there was plenty more in the compound and that we would not run out. 

Upon arriving, we found Wilbur greeting customers, making sales and extracting biscuits from his mother. He is a shrewd one. A table was set up with cake for human and canine alike, and Wendell and I were able to sample our first-ever slice. Wanting to savor this moment, I naturally chose to scoop up the entire piece of cake in my mouth at once. This left little room to actually chew, however, so the ingestion process took longer than anticipated as the humans nervously hovered over me. Wendell opted for smaller bites taken at supersonic speed. My flock, I am pleased to report that both approaches produced satisfying results. 

As we finished off our cake, someone noticed that some crumbs and icing remained on the floor and appeared poised to reach for a mop or paper towels. But mother assured her this would not be necessary. As a woman who has not had to mop our kitchen floor in years, she knew: Though Wendell and I may be messy eaters, we always clean up after ourselves. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

God willing, I will consume some green rawhide today. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mugsy testifies before Congress: Part II

Rep. Peter King warily eyes a contingent of puppy dogs. 
The following is Part II of a transcript, provided by the Library of Congress, of Mugsy's testimony Thursday before the House Homeland Security Committee. He was subpoenaed to testify by Rep. Peter King, the New York Republican who organized the hearing on "Muslim-American radicalization." Mugsy's comments are translated to English. To read Part I of this post, click here.

REP. KING: All right, so Mr. Mugsy, as a leading figure of the muslin [sic] community, you must be aware of everything that happens in the terrorist underworld, the various actions of al-Qaeda and other radical muslin groups plotting against this country.

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: No, I have no such knowledge. I would not associate with such infidels.

REP. KING: You see, this is the problem. There are Muslim leaders in this country that do not cooperate with law enforcement. ...

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: If I may interject, wouldn't this be a good issue for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to address? I notice that nobody from the FBI is scheduled to testify. Were they unwilling to play along with your narrative, given the utter lack of evidence you've provided to back up your claims? A study released last month by the University of North Carolina found that fully 40 percent of extremist plots in the U.S. in recent years were thwarted thanks to the help of Muslim Americans.

REP. KING: Now you wait just a minute here, pug. I will ask the questions at this hearing. As I was saying, we have the reality that al-Qaeda is trying to recruit Muslim Americans, and yet we have people in the Muslim community who refuse to face up to this.

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: So you're saying that if a Muslim American has knowledge of a terrorist or a terrorist sympathizer in our midst, he should come forth and speak against that person?

REP. KING: Absolutely.

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: (Whispers to attorney)

SAUL GOODMAN: Mr. Chairman, my client tells me that he has direct knowledge of a terrorist sympathizer in this very room. But I want to make sure that this panel really wants him to provide the information in this public setting.

REP. KING: Of course we want him to provide the information! Who is it? Who? Who?!

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: (Whispers to attorney)

SAUL GOODMAN: Mr. Chairman, my client would like to bring in a German shorthaired pointer to assist him. As a pug, his breeding is not ideal for the task at hand. Plus, as any visitor who has tried to leave his compound only to be blocked by a barking ayatollah has found, he has a flair for the dramatic.

REP. KING: Fine, just get on with it.

A file photo of Bennie the Pointer
practicing his technique.
BENNIE THE POINTER: [Joins the ayatollah at his table after being sworn in. The two greet one another with a typical canine sniffing ritual.]

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: Ladies and gentlemen of Congress, there is a man in this room who is a longtime supporter of a group that has been blamed in the deaths of hundreds of civilians and soldiers allied with the U.S. The group also killed an American in a car bombing outside a department store. Many of the victims of this group were shot because of their Christian faith. This terrorist sympathizer has rationalized his support for the group, arguing that its political aims made civilian deaths acceptable. Bennie, if you would ...

BENNIE THE POINTER: [Stands on the table, raises his paw and points his nose in the direction of Rep. King.]

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: That man, of course, is Rep. King, the chairman of this committee. But you all already knew that. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to be going. Unlike the members of Congress, I don't wish to waste any more of my time.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mugsy testifies before Congress

The following is a transcript, provided by the Library of Congress, of Mugsy's testimony Thursday before the House Homeland Security Committee. He was subpoenaed to testify by Rep. Peter King, the New York Republican who organized the hearing on "Muslim-American radicalization." Mugsy's comments are translated to English.

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of Salem, er, Washington. I assume that you must have had a good reason for rousing me from my nap, given the many challenges facing this country. How may I help you today?

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., tenses up
at the sight of an elderly woman
in a hijab.
REP. KING: Please state your name, age and occupation.

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: I am Mugsy, supreme ayatollah of Pug Life Ministries. I am 9 years old.

REP. KING: And you're a ... a dog, correct?

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: That is correct, Sen. McCar, er, Rep. King.

REP. KING: Before we get down to business, would you like to make any statements?

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: My lawyer advised me to cooperate fully with your inquisition, er, investigation. It is my understanding that you believe you are investigating some sort of existential threat to the United States of America, perhaps some kind of fluoridation plot? I confess that I am fuzzy on the details. But I want to make it known that I stand ready to refute any charges against me. And if it becomes necessary, I am fully capable of floating in a tub of water for prolonged periods of time to disprove any accusations of witchcraft. But let the record show that I am not a fan of bathtime and would strongly prefer to avoid such an outcome.

REP. KING: Duly noted. Mr. Mugsy, it says here that you are a self-avowed "terrierist." Is this true? And if so, please explain yourself.

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: Yes, I am fond of all terriers. Especially Bostons. What could be more American than that?

REP. KING: Now wait just a minute! Terrierism is a serious issue ...

AYATOLLAH MUGSY: Mr. Chairman, you can't actually spell, can you?

REP. YVETTE CLARK: Um, perhaps we shouldn't stray off course here. This hearing is embarrassing enough to the House as it is. 

To be continued ...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ministry fundraiser

Ladies of the congregation, dig deep into your purses and pocketbooks. What kind of dowry would you offer for such a handsome pug? True, young Wendell isn't much of a provider, and he may well steal the food off your plate. But at the same time, he will surely steal your heart. 

Please submit your sealed bids by next Monday. Up to four winners may be selected.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tide turns on protesters

The chew toys were hopeful as their protests got under way. 

DALLAS (AP) -- Photos and news accounts have begun to trickle out from the chew toy demonstrations that launched during the last week of January. Journalists had been stymied by a series of crippling winter storms and a media crackdown by Ayatollah Mugsy, the autocratic dictator whose rule the stuffed toys have protested.

Evil Monkey was
believed to be a key
leader of the protests.
His current location
and condition are
"We expected the region to put its best foot forward and clear the ice off the roads quickly, especially with the Super Bowl in town," said Tim Overman, a photographer with The Associated Press. "Unfortunately, this did not happen. Perhaps now the city of Frisco has realized that sand and salt are needed for the roads, not piles of potting soil."

From the Dallas suburb's newly muddy streets has emerged a portrait of despair, as chew toys appear to be faltering badly in their bid to repeat the recent successes of protesters in Tunisia and Egypt. Chew toy refugees described a scene of carnage, and of hope lost. 

"We made a big mistake," wheezed one monkey, his voice barely audible thanks to a punctured squeaker suffered in the melee that ensued once Wendell the Pug awoke from his nap and raced outside to break up the demonstration. Wendell is the brother of Ayatollah Mugsy and a key figure in Pug Life Ministries. The monkey, who spoke on condition of anonymity, left a trail of cotton in the mud as he limped away. 

In the early hours of the protests, the chew toys felt emboldened by their lack of opposition. Many spoke of a "velvet revolution," in which their peaceful chants would lead to Ayatollah Mugsy's regime crumbling away. They did not anticipate the harsh retribution that awaited them. As Wendell swooped down on the scene on camelback and began dismembering the demonstrators in rapid succession, witnesses said, his mother began to blast the protesters with a water cannon. 

But neighbors, befuddled by the bizarre scene, said it was possible that the stuffed toys were merely "collateral damage" as she sought to water the plants. 

A next-door neighbor captured the only photos of the crackdown
on demonstrators. She called the scene "disturbing."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Demonstrations heat up

DALLAS (AP) -- The chew-toy protests escalated early Sunday, as furry demonstrators refused to obey an emergency curfew and clashed briefly with Pug Life Ministries enforcer Wendell the Pug. Shortly after midnight, demonstrators set fire to one of Wendell's tennis balls, a provocative act sure to inflame tensions between canines and their once-subservient toys. 

"Burn, ball, burn!" the demonstrators chanted, reveling in the tennis ball's demise and their small victory over Ayatollah Mugsy, the pug whose iron-pawed rule they have railed against. 

International observers said the chew toys' increasingly violent rhetoric and actions could backfire. 

"Once Wendell gets a whiff of that burned rubber, watch out," said Doug Jordan, an expert in geopolitical affairs with, a global intelligence firm. "The chew toys may have won the battle, but I suspect they'll lose the war -- badly. The pugs are probably just napping now."

Still, others pointed out that the chew toys, riding a wave of international uprisings, had gained more traction than at any point since the failed Bullshevik revolution of 2007

"The moment appears ripe for the toys to finally win some measure of autonomy," said Fay Dugan of the Chew Toy Anti-Defamation League, a Washington-based advocacy organization. "Mugsy doesn't really play with them that much anymore, aside from his panda concubine. He's more of a rawhide kind of pug now. He may be willing to make some concessions."

But concessions have never been the ayatollah's style. The fiery pug is known for his unyielding demeanor and his harsh crackdowns against those he deems a threat to his rule. Among his most notable acts have been the 2010 abduction of actor Gene Hackman in a dispute with Lowe's home improvement stores and an ongoing clash with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which says the ayatollah is holding three of its inspectors hostage in his kitchen freezer. 

In an ominous sign, the chew toys reported shortly after 1 a.m. that they could no longer organize their efforts via Twitter or Facebook after the ayatollah ordered that his compound's Wi-Fi password be changed. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chew toys protest Mugsy's rule

DALLAS (AP) -- Emboldened by the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, chew toys in suburban Dallas took to the patio Saturday to protest the rule of Ayatollah Mugsy. 

Dozens of stuffed animals and other creatures, many bearing the tell-tale scars of life under the ayatollah, waved signs and chanted slogans against the autocratic canine ruler. Protesters called on the international community and the U.S. State Department to support them in their bid to overthrow the pug, who they say has ruled with an iron paw for nearly a decade. 

"Ayatollah Mugsy has cotton on his paws," said one stuffed zebra, who declined to give his name for fear of retribution. 

Political analysts said that although the chew toys sought to draw parallels with the uprising in Egypt, their cause might be less likely to generate widespread public support.

"The Egyptian people are oppressed by Hosni Mubarak, who has staged a series of sham elections over the last 30 years to rubber-stamp his dictatorial rule. He has raided his country's economy to become a multi-billionaire while the Egyptian people live on an average wage of $1,800 a year. He has denied the Egyptian people their basic human rights and freedoms," said Fred Gullerson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. "This pug, on the other hand -- Ayatollah Mugsy -- is just flat-out adorable. Whereas Mubarak is extremely unpopular, Mugsy's policies enjoy widespread support among the canine street. Plus, I think the prevailing sentiment is that chew toys are meant to be chewed upon."

But don't tell that to Bennie the Beaver, who kicked along a sign that read "No more innocent cotton spilled" as he marched against the ayatollah's regime on Saturday. "I can't carry the sign, because that damn pug ate my paws," Bennie said. He then tried in vain to make an obscene gesture toward the ayatollah's compound.

Officials with Ayatollah Mugsy's Pug Life Ministries declined to comment, but some observers said he appeared visibly shaken as he watched the demonstration from the safety of his fortified lair. 

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pleaded for restraint. But the ayatollah is known for responding harshly to challenges to his rule. His younger brother Wendell has become the ministry's de facto enforcer and is reputed to have dismembered more than 1,000 chew toys in a single day, all without skipping his customary naptimes. 

"His lust for cotton is the stuff of legend," said SMU's Gullerson. "Or should I say, 'stuffing.'"

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Where the Twain shall delete

The literary world has been abuzz with news that a publisher plans to censor Mark Twain's classic Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn books, replacing the N-word with the non-synonym "slave" to avoid offending readers. Many school districts have shied away from the books because of the language, and NewSouth Books hopes the change will help it sell more copies.

Let's just make that a lollipop in Huck's mouth. 
As any good ayatollah would tell you, censorship is the next best thing to a book-burning, so I am whole-heartedly on board with this endeavor. But I believe the planned changes do not go far enough. So I submit these additional alterations for the publisher's consideration.

  1. Surely any reasonable person would agree that no word, no matter how vile, could be as offensive as the institution of slavery itself. So the decision to call Jim a slave is problematic. It would be best to simply turn his character into a cheerful neighbor. 
  2. No student should be exposed to the evils of Huck's alcoholic father; after all, teenagers are too young to drink. So Pap Finn should instead simply have an affinity for apple juice. God willing, the publisher could even seek a corporate tie-in with Motts to fill its coffers. 
  3. It could be said that Twain's original language reflected the times he lived in and contributed to an authentic portrayal of the era. But today's teens should not be burdened with uncomfortable history. Instead, we should update the story to make it more relatable. Instead of going to Tom's house, Huck could send him a text message. "OMG, did u c wat becky wuz wearin 2nite?!"