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."