Gimlet: Been a while, hasn't it?
We've kept busy: reading, canvassing, painting, ratting, patrolling for errant cats, walking and riding in cars ... it's a full life when you're involved in puppy punditry. Yet, some excellent books have crossed our paws, and one in particular struck me as particularly relevant in this political season.
Nigel: I know the book you're referring to. It's an excellent and uplifting read, and the illustrations are top-notch.
Gimlet: Presidential year, candidates, surprises, disappointments ... time to sit down, readjust our collars and harnesses, turn on the Canem Lie Down! Detectors and recall a time of wise leadership and wise dogs. What better book to grab when you're headed for that comfy chair with foot stool than "First Dog Fala," written by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, with illustrations by Michael G. Montgomery.
Nigel: Can you say "grand"?
Fala being none other than the most famous canine occupant of the White House, Fala Roosevelt, his master being the most famous of Good and New Dealers, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I sense a Rooseveltian theme here...
Gimlet: That's pronounced "Roaz-uh-velt" at least by Franklin's branch of the family. Fala, a black Scottie, is Roosevelt's Puck, his pal, his Dutch Courage ... Ok, maybe not Dutch Courage, although the libations flowed freely in that White House. Fala was short for Murray the Outlaw of Fala Hill, after one of FDR's Scottish ancestors. Van Steenwyk deals out the facts and the lore about the Fala/FDR partnership in a most amiable way... You know that expression "don't let the facts get in the way?" well, she lets the facts pave the way. That's a throwback to the good old days, isn't it? Facts!
Nigel: Here's another: the Secret Service had a code name for Fala ... the Informer. That's because wherever FDR was, Fala was sure to be in the vicinity. Talk about "transparent government."
Gimlet: One of the book's strengths is the artful way in which the facts don't get in the way. They're there for young minds. Did we mention this would be considered a "children's book"? Dogs will enjoy it, too. The dog audience is usually forgotten ... but we're fond of this Fala tale because it does put one in 1940s Washington, in the White House, with FDR ... aside from the rationing of dog biscuits, what a place to be!
Nigel: On a WPA note, the Michael G. Montgomery's oils remind me just a tad of Thomas Hart Benton. And his depiction of Fala is more influenced by history and fable than by actual likeness... I think he caught more of Fala's nature than his likeness. You'd appreciate that, Gimlet, since you're a bit of an expressionist.
Gimlet: Sometimes, I'm Ab-Ex. Benton was a ... Regionalist, which jibes with this book's Fala rendition. There's a lot of fluidity here.
Nigel: Flowing right into our comfortable chairs, and digging right into our awaiting books, Gimlet and I suggest you pick up this book for the terriers and children on your list. FDR buffs will find a soft spot for it, too.
Sweeney and Dash sample some macaroni and cheese. Photo by a salivating Joe the Cat
You think hand puppet journalism is easy?
Not only do we have to meet all the requirements of a "journalist" (writing, accuracy, vowels, penury, professional and corporate ethics(!)) we are first and foremost, hand puppets.
You think typing with these paws is easy?
These are tough times for journalists. Although we are fortunate enough to work in the benevolent and forward-thinking online offices of Mr. Doodle's Dog, not all journalists are so lucky.
If we owned a car, or knew how to drive one, or could reach both the steering wheel and pedals at the same time, we could place political bumper stickers on that car. You would know where we stood, if we could stand, because our bumper stickers would tip you off to our choices. At least, that's true where we work ... many other journalists risk sanction if they use bumper stickers to convey their religious or political leanings, yet they may announce that their children are geniuses. Unaware of that, were you? It's true.
Hand puppets are such a small faction in the worldwide journalism crowd. We're lucky in that we are officially classified as "cute" and "adorable" and yet not lumped in with the talking heads television anchor crowd. Not much is expected of us beyond "Lambchop."
Yes, we can spell and string sentences together with a view to telling a story. It's a job requirement at Mr. Doodle's Dog. We can jump out of backpacks, cameras in hand, and charm newsmakers, hangers-on and pole dancers, and generally conceal our IQs beneath tufts of mohair, but we are still journalists, and that means we work for a troubled industry.
That's what everyone says, so it must be true.
Working on that premise, we wire fox terrier hand puppets decided to make a batch of macaroni and cheese for an untroubled holiday weekend. We're painting and reading about Virginia Woolf, so of course macaroni and cheese came to mind.
The creamy solace of homemade macaroni and cheese ... nothing rivals it but mashed potatoes. We are not talking out-of-the-box, orange or white preserved goo over limp elbow pasta, no. We're talking Macaroni and Cheese for Hand Puppets, with a recipe right out of Martha Hall Foose's "Screen Doors and Sweet Tea."
Please be advised that this recipe calls for garlic, and that can be tricky for some dogs. Hand puppet journalists, on the other hand, can eat all the garlic they want... we'll still be cute and no one will say a thing about our breath.
Also be advised, if you are accustomed to elbow macaroni, that this calls for fusilli pasta. Or should that be "Seinfeld" pasta? Or, more accurately, since we are journalists, maybe it should be called "David" pasta, since Larry David is the genius behind Seinfeld.
Maybe there's a bumper sticker for that.
Time to seek some comfort.
Mrs. Meyer's logo interpreted in digital form by Gimlet Rose
Wire Fox Terriers do love to share the dirt. And, occasionally, we like to roll in it.
That's why we're glad to make a discovery worthy of Sir Howard Carter's little Egyptian stumble in 1922... What was that again? Oh, yeah. King Tut's Tomb.
Plenty of digging and dirt there, we bet. Too bad we weren't around to make our discovery.
But here we are, fast-forwarded to the Age of Cleanliness ... and Mrs. Meyers.
Who is she?
She's the person who helps keep our doggie pad clean and smelling like lavender, lemon verbena, geranium, sage or ... basil.
We will uncover our own dirt: we've all had some mishaps along the way. Nigel tracked a few things into the bedroom, and then Gimlet likes to roll in filth and run into her crate and Sam... Sam is familiar with the phrase "Clean-up on Aisle 4!"
Joe the Cat sometimes jumps off his place on the kitchen pass-through and meanders on the kitchen counter until apprehended. Time for Mrs. Meyers and her counter top spray.
We use her laundry and household products and our little souls are all the cleaner and better for it. And yes, yes, yes ... she carries "pet products." The wipes, the air freshener, the stain remover ... we leave you to your imagination there. Let's not linger on pets and their little quirks.
Has anyone made any backroom deals with us? Why are we writing this? We pass it along because we think you might benefit. There's also the very large consideration that Mrs. Meyers has a policy of absolutely NO ANIMAL TESTING for any of their products. No bones crossed paws and no jobs are in the offing. (Although if Mrs. Meyers has any vermin in her factory, Gimlet will gladly lend her services.)
Now, if only she would develop a "Wet Dog" scent ... wouldn't that be a top seller!
Sam in his corner of the world: his living room chair. Illustration by Gimlet Rose
Should we stay, or should we ... go?
Go ahead and market ourselves? Become commodogities? Three wire fox terriers and a cat, assorted hand puppets and a presidential pup, taking our place on the pop culture stage?
Or would that be pup culture?
The Fab Four-Leggeds?
Never mind. We're noodling it.... a bumper sticker has been designed and ordered for the Doodlemobile (a Toyota RAV4 in disguise). We're going ahead with our memoirs, designing logos (dogos?) and all types of little dealies that may seal our fate (and definitely take our time).
And yet ...
We're dogs. Not so much into self-promotion and self-help books as into self-heeling.
Would everyone get excited at seeing Sam in fleece form? Would Gimlet's very furry and cute image make the most fabulous stuffed doggie toy in the PetSmart window? That's if PetSmart had storefront windows. They're a little too corporate for our taste.
And you see, looking out the window? It's something we like to do in our Mr. Doodle's Dog offices. We like it very, very much. In fact, we've made a career of it.
But corporate America, where marketing is so important? Not so many windows, or window-gazing opportunities. We've built ourselves out of the storefront window frame of mind, and maybe pushed ourselves out of the storefront culture. We no longer gaze longingly at displays of American-made toys or pastries or wishes or desires. We sit in windowless boxes and point and click our way to credit purgatory.
Remarkable. No storefront windows, but we're in everyone's debt.
So ... do we market ourselves? Do we come up with slogans such as "Do The Doodle"? "Got Doodle"?
The Doodle you say!
Sam. He sits in his corner, on his favorite chair, with his favorite toy and a worn sun hat and he contemplates all of this.
Admittedly, his chair is in a corner of the living room, far away from the front window, but that's Sam. He's a bit shy. Tentative. Thoughtful.
Who is thoughtful anymore? Has that quality vanished? Has it flown out the window?
Gimlet. Too cute for words, but perhaps not the cover of theBark. The new "It" Dog. Clara Bow Wow, incarnate.
Is that Gimlet? Yes, Gimlet could manage that ... the marketing, the barketing and theBark. She's one little dog who can be onboard with stuffed images, animals and book tours and movies starring Madonna's voice. (Oh, what a comedown from Katharine Hepburn.)
But Sam. He sits on his chair. Sighs. He remains unconvinced.
Sam thinks he knows his place. He is happy with a small world, a comfortable chair in a familiar corner. He looks out the window, but is always ready to bark at any change in the scenery.
Gimlet gazes. The front window may as well be a Macy's storefront from years gone by... She is that doggie in the window, but with a very sharp eye on her future.
Bumper stickers, anyone?
Giovanna and Jimi "The Rocker" Galvani pass the time with a friend near Capranica, Italy.
If you're a wire fox terrier, you already know that one of our icons has left us.
Giovanna Galvani, better known as "Jane in Italy," died (Aug. 15) Friday morning near Rome after a short illness.
She leaves behind Jimi and his two older, Bedlington, sisters, Nana and Tina, birds and turtles, and every creature she ever encountered. Wire fox terriers and Bedlingtons were two of her many passions.
Jane was a pioneer of the art of digital graphics and devoted much of her time and talent to making the wire world a lovelier place.
Jane worked for the Vatican, creating graphics, but she lived for animals. After a lifetime of work, she wanted nothing more than to retire to a small town in the Italian countryside and spend her days living with, and chronicling the lives of her animals.
A simple request for a simple life, no?
Jane did not make it to her simple life. Illness met her at the station, and she took her final journey, surrounded by her friends and small family. No, Jimi, Nana and Tina were not allowed in the hospital. They sat and waited for Jane in her small apartment, but she did not return to them.
What Jane always wanted was that simple life, a heaven of country and dogs and birds and turtles ... she created her own heaven with photos and graphics and bits and pieces of digital finesse that astonished all who viewed them. She helped mark the big events in countless wires' lives, the birthdays, the births and deaths, with beautiful and heartfelt photos to mark the time.
And time finally marked Jane.
She was a perpetual optimist who loved and endured life, finding pleasure and satisfaction in the small, but important, tasks of daily life. A few minutes, a dog, and a cup of coffee were all she needed to satisfy her deep love of being.
Being is something everyone does, but so few master. Jane "was."
For so many years, she was a fixture on the online wire world. She embraced the Internet with a zeal and friendliness that broke through all language barriers. She had an otherworldly, and Old World, aura about her. Jane knew that friendship could be found in many places, and why not in the Digital World?
Jane's death was seismic for us wires, bound as we are to those few who fully, and fulsomely, appreciate us. We grappled with creating a graphic. But we bow our wire heads to Jane's skill. No graphic mausoleum for Jane, but a simple, monument of words and photo. What more can be said of someone so rich in talent, joy and devotion?
For the woman who ushered so many wires, dogs and birds to The Rainbow Bridge, a final bridge of farewells and bouquets. We will remember you, and keep you in our hearts, and try to keep your joie de vivre alive.
Jane's work of art, her Web site.
Jennie has the world at her paws. But sometimes, that's not enough. Gimlet Rose commiserates and Nigel opines.
Alfred Hitchcock has been on my mind lately.
He was the sly cat with the ball of yarn. A man who delighted in dangling his prey and delicious, unexpected, visual angles.
Here's an angle for you: a Sealyham (that's Hitchcock's treasured breed) named Jennie has everything, but finds it amounts to nothing, at least in her jaded terrier eyes.
So she sets off to discover what she's missing.
What do you think happens? Oh, no, not that. Too mundane. Use your imagination. Maurice Sendak did. He crafted Jennie with bits of himself, and maybe a few hairs of Cary Grant's mane. Cary was at his best under Hitchcock's direction. And why? Because Hitchcock saw the turmoil and darkness beneath the good looks.
Jennie will remind you of Hitchcock, Grant and Alice in Wonderland. She's that compelling a sorceress, and that dynamic a dog. Her dilemma is worthy of a Greek play. I must confess I have a new respect for Sealyhams after traveling with her through her experiences.
Yes, more Alice and Lewis Carroll. What was Maurice Sendak thinking? The ol' imagination again...
Wait. I'll get the book ...
We really need another set of bookcases. I'd apply for an endowment, but I know times are tough.
If I read a bit, and then close my eyes, I can travel with Jennie in her world. It's a place of ... like, Wonderland, it's a place of distortion. Our lives can appear so ordinary to us. We do things by rote, and seldom stop to change our pace, much less ourselves.
It would take a Sealyham of Hitchcockian bravado to navigate a new world, especially when her own world is ... perfect. It takes a self-possessed terrier to open the gate and leave a secure existence
I couldn't do it.
Nigel: But I could. And did.
Nigel: You closed your eyes to visualize Jennie, and here I am. I've been reading a lot, too, and watching Hitchcock. He was always one of my favorites. "Suspicion," Monkeyface? Wonderful.
But Jennie? I've met her. She's quite something. She's happy in her world. I won't spoil the suspense and divulge what she encounters and her fateful decision. Someone might sue me, and then I'd be forced to countersue and you know my love of the law ... But Jennie ... ah, just like Joseph Cotten, I am infatuated and drawn into her sphere. Or is it Sendak who beckons me? Did Jennie inspire him, or did she draw him into her "perfect world" so that he could draw her?
The perfect existence is one of which we are blissfully unaware. We are unaware of the envy of our friends, the utter flummoxing of our peers. True happiness is being at peace with one's self. Trust me. I know.
Jennie discovers all of that. And to think this is often referred to as a "children's book."
Wouldn't Hitchcock get a chuckle out of that.
The following is a verbatim account of the conversation earlier this afternoon among Sweeney, Tom Cat-Jones and Dash. The subject? It was free-ranging.
Sweeney: We have fresh Georgia peaches, just brought in from the Georgia/Florida border, and a request: peach pie.
Dash: What's going on? Gimlet and Sam made a batch of Katharine Hepburn's brownies the other day, and then Doggie Dad made another batch. It's August in Florida. There are limits...
Sweeney: Paul Newman.
Tom Cat-Jones: Understood.
Sweeney: Paul. He's married to Joanne Woodward, and she's from Thomasville, Georgia. That's where the peaches came from.
Tom Cat-Jones: Gotcha. No limits. The man knows no limits.
Sweeney: Tennessee Williams.
Tom Cat-Jones: Cats on hot, tin roofs.
Dash: Libation. Peach brandy. Booze.
Sweeney: Stir the eight skinned peaches, thinly sliced, and the cup of sugar with the five tablespoons of quick tapioca and the tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg. It has to be a tablespoon, mind you. Then squeeze in a lemon and maybe two tablespoons of blueberry vinegar. I suppose you could use raspberry, which would bring it closer to a peach melbalike taste. Don't forget the tablespoon of cold, unsalted butter, cut into bits.
Tom Cat-Jones: You're pouring that in a pie crust? This is a double-crust, deep-dish pie, I hope.
Sweeney: It is. It's a no-holds-barred peach pie. It's a pie that Hud would appreciate.
Dash: It's a cool pie.
Sweeney: It's cool because we're buying the pie crust (thank you, Dough Boy) and saving ourselves a lot of trouble ...
Tom Cat-Jones: ... which is Hud's middle name.
Sweeney: Yes. Put all that in a bowl, as we've done, mix, and pour into that pie crust. Cover said pie with remaining crust.
Dash: How about some egg wash for that? And think of something special for any raw pie crust you've trimmed. Paul would like that.
Sweeney: Something special for Paul, then.
Tom Cat-Jones: Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet ... Pop into that pre-heated, as hot as Paul Newman oven.
Dash: That would be 425 degrees, for 10 minutes. After that, lower to 375 and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
Sweeney: He's hot and cool at the same time. And full of morals. An anomaly.
Tom Cat-Jones: Far, far, cooler than Jack Nicholson.
Dash: Oh, out of his orbit. Far cooler.
Sweeney: This brings us to ... Paul and dogs.
Dash: He's owned wire fox terriers. Perfect breed for him. Not that anyone "owns" a wire fox terrier, but if they could be owned, he'd be the one to own them.
Tom Cat-Jones: I love pie, as long as it's not cat pie.
Sweeney: This is a peach pie, made by two dogs and a cat, and inspired by Paul Newman. It doesn't get better than that.
Chorus: Here's to you, Paul!
Chewy. Chocolate. Icons.
My first conumdrum: where does the top billing go? To the legendary actress, or the dessert?
You see who I favored. Not only do we share a wire fox terrier connection (George, aka Skippy, in "Bringing Up Baby") but I am friends with a certain Miss Hepburn-Davis. The brownies get second billing. That's not bad, because so did Cary Grant.
Saveur arrives in the mail, and what nabs my attention but a treatise on my favorite dessert: "Brownie Points" by Dana Bowen. It's a short (and sweet) article on history, methods and chocolate. It all always comes down to chocolate.
She bakes and bakes one batch of brownies after another, each wonderful in their own right. Eventually, she settles on three recipes that are oo-la-la.
I pounce on "Katharine Hepburn's Brownies" for the above-cited reasons, but also because of the ease of the recipe. I am a wee white dog, after all.
But, I also know that Katharine Hepburn had a brother who lived with her, and he was a bit of an eccentric. He devoted much of his time developing the perfect chocolate sauce. I'm envisioning lots of quality chocolate around their house...
I splurged and used Scharffen Berger unsweetened chocolate for this recipe. Maybe it's not a splurge, but a good investment. A cheap luxury makes no sense.
What happened in the kitchen?
I pull up a chair and set my ingredients out within easy reach. You just see one small bowl for the beaten eggs, but no large mixing bowl. That's because Katharine Hepburn didn't use one for this recipe.
I'm enjoying this... I'm substituting fresh Georgia pecans for the walnuts.
Let's throw it all in the pot and see what happens.
We wait. They bake at 325F for 40 to 45 minutes.
Sam came in to keep me company.
A pot of brownies? Must be a neat rainbow. We'll clean that later...
Hmmm. Interesting. They've come out of the oven and have cooled a while... they're flat. Dense. Concentrated.
Paging Miss Hepburn!
No, I didn't eat the brownies. My doggie dad came into the kitchen to help me clean up.
I'm told the brownies were delicious, by the way.
They're sinfully easy to make. You should try them.
Katharine Hepburn's Brownies
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. fine salt
1. Heat oven to 325F. Grease an 8"X8" baking pan with butter. Line the pan with parchment paper; grease the paper. Set the pan aside.
2. Melt the butter and the chocolate together in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir to make a smooth batter. Add the walnuts (pecans), flour, and salt; stir until incorporated. Pour the batter into the baking pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Cut and serve.
The Very Image of Geometric Elegance
Wee Review of "Charles Harper's Birds & Words"
by Tom Cat-Jones
Jacket of "Charles Harper's BIrds & Words" by Charles Harper, 1972. Foreword by Todd Oldham, 2008.
Who better than a vagabond black cat to review a sublime bit of birdery and art?
I'm Tom Cat-Jones, and I'm a friend of Joe the Cat's. We went to art school together; Joe took the path of photography and I majored in dark room roguery.
Joe has hired me as a reporter and producer for Mr. Doodle's Dog. I'm no Henry Fielding, or even an Albert Finney, but I do know my wildlife. Dark rooms taught me that, well before the Digital Age.
No art critic beneath this black frock coat and matching whiskers, but then the artistry of Charles 'Charley" Harper needs no words.
And words you will find little of in this book. They're unnecessary. They would weigh the soaring plummage and tinker toy skeletons down. These birds dance their trapezoid tangoes and flamingo fandangoes until the viewer soars with them.
Notice the white wisps announcing the Snowy Egret? He looks like a white-turbaned Arab. We have a neighborhood egret named Fred; now I see Fred in an entirely different view. Perhaps I should bow to him.
What about "Cardinal"?
Harper's cardinal inspires more devotion than his red-robed counterpart. No shoes on this bird. He's all finch and no grinch. Sunflower seeds in 60s Space Age pattern.
Cactus wren, on skull. Can even a bird navigate on such legs? Harper's birds can.
The birds fly on and on ... each page and bird an "ooh" and "aaahh".
How can even a feline vagabond summon the words for such a collection? I can't. Time for me to walk away on my little cat feet and open up my copy of "Charles Harper's Birds & Words." Birdfeed for the soul.
Joe the Cat answers mail. What, no flounder?
Photo of Joe the Cat by Joe the Cat. Who else would do it?
Note: It is my usual practice to write in longtail on yellow legal pads purloined from a local lawyer's dumpster. This particular lawyer throws out scads of unused pads. I think he's padding his expenses, but I'm happy to recycle. We freecats are a thrifty breed. However, I thought I'd hammer this out on the keyboard, so I can post and get this answer out to my correspondent as quickly as possible.
Yesterday, I received a note from a Philadelphia wire fox terrier by the name of Axel. He appealed to my cat senses and sense of taste. Axel is concerned for a cat cousin by the name of Lucas who is ailing and has a loss of appetite. What foods, Axel wondered, might tempt his cousin into eating and help him regain his strength?
Axel, I appreciate your question. Not only do you show a concern for your cousin, but for cats in general.
Cats can be as eccentric in their tastebuds as in their taste. Although I run a catfish company and have made my fortune in seafood, I turn my nose up at salmon. The only part of salmon I enjoy is the crispy skin of a salmon just off the grill. But that's just me.
Otherwise, I enjoy steak (medium), chicken and tuna. Jack Mackerel in the can is a also a favorite. Sometimes, I do enjoy gently sauteed chicken livers, too. Have you ever heard of Flavor-doh? It was developed to help us animals take our medicines, but ... I've discovered that it's much like raw cookie dough: you want to eat it right out of the can. I bet Lucas would be a fan.
Axel, you might have read that cats are lactose intolerant. Well, no one told me. I enjoy dairy products, and if I don't get my saucer of half-and-half in the morning, I am on the phone to my attorneys. Ice cream and I are friends (I enjoy chocolate as well as vanilla) and I would wrestle Paula Deen to the ground for a stick of butter. Everyone has their guilty pleasures, after all.
Do you, as a wire fox terrier, claim your Kitchen Cheese Tax? I'm no King George III, but I have put in place my own version of the Cheese Tax. Cheddar is the coin of my realm.
Does Lucas have access to rabbit? Yes, I like mine fresh from the garden, but maybe if Lucas sampled some fine canned rabbit from a pet health food store, his appetite would pick up. Let me go into the kitchen and see what's in my part of the pantry .... ah, yes. Have you heard of the Instinct line of canned cat food? There's rabbit, venison, duck, chicken, beef .... and lamb. Little lambs helping me sleep on my full stomach, if you get my drift.
You know what I particularly like? Wee Bits dog kibble by Solid Gold. I know, I know ... it's dog food. Good for an evening nibble, though.
Since I am confiding, I will admit to a fondness for sweets. Call it frosting, call it icing, I like it. I would dive into a bowl of the stuff, were I allowed on the kitchen counter (no comments from the dog gallery, please).
Axel, I hope some of these foods will tempt Lucas into better eating habits. There's a favorite quote in my home "Kitties do not live by canned food alone." I take that to mean I should enjoy myself whenever possible.
And I do.
Thank you for writing to me, Axel. Cats and dogs living together, as the Monty Pythons predicted. Solidarity, in all its animal forms, is the way to live.
-- Joe the Cat
'Clark Gable of A Fable', or:
'The Wire In Rabbit's Clothing'.
"Gimlet in Disguise", digital pen by Gimlet Rose, 2008.
Where have I been all this time?
Buried under mounds of fur, that's where.
I'm so furry that my paws slip off the keyboard. No blogging for me.
I finally resorted to dictation. Joe, are you getting all this?
You know what I've discovered? Things are different when your looks change; even if the change is for the furrier, or the better, things are different.
Am I a Shetland pony? A small, white buffalo or an Addams relation? No one recognizes me as a wire fox terrier these days.
But is this good, or bad? What's it like being a furry me?
Let me tell you a story...
I was out in the front yard, not yet garden, sitting in one of the old wrought iron chairs and reading "John Adams." Do I read like other dogs? Definitely not. I scan the indexes, on the looksee for characters and words that pique my interest. Only when I find enough of those, to fill me in on the book's skeleton, do I go back and read the narrative.
That's what works for me.
My book is open, my furry paws barely able to turn the pages, when our resident rabbit hops by. That's Marshall, the marsh rabbit, who lives in our ferns and azaleas. We'd never formally met, but I had seen him from a distance. He's skittish.
Marshall asked me what had happened to my ears. What did he mean by that, I wondered ... what had happened to my ears? I felt ...there were two of them.
Did I hear right? He thinks my ears are weird? Weird ears?
Marshall stopped in front of my chair and peered right through my black nose "What happened to your ears?"
Now I was worried. Not as worried as John Adams when the British were acting up in Massachusetts, but worried enough that I had to feel my ears. Only my paws were so furry I couldn't really make contact with them. At this point Marshall was looking at me I were E.T., the extra terrierestrial.
Or, Cousin Ittish.
The state of my condition was, and is, extreme furriness. My mind was blurred, too, by visions of rabbits with watches and John Adamses with horsehair wigs and Founding Fathers of whom we really don't know much about. So much gets past us ...
I worry. I worry that I am too furry now, to read, to pass as a wire... I cannot feel my ears. What's wrong with me? What is Marshall looking at so intently?
"Rabbit, whoever you are, reading that book on John Adams, whatever happened to your ears? They're very short. Not that I usually point such things out ... but, you are a very exceptional looking rabbit."
He thought I was a rabbit. My fur is so vast and fluffy he thinks I am a rabbit with very short ears. I've fooled a rabbit and pulled his leg ... and I've fooled my family into thinking this furry look is just fine. They really believe they're doing me a favor, not yanking my fur out. Of course, I do look much bigger this way ... I'm intimidating, is what I am. Only Marshall is unafraid of me. He thinks I'm a rabbit with very short ears.
John Adams often wore a horsehair wig. That was the fashion of the time, and of his class. He wore a wig when he wasn't wearing a tricorner hat or something very LaCroix. Our founding father followed fashion.
Is a hat next for me? A wig? No, not a wig. I may be able to go into wig manufacturing with all my fur. Lucille Ball and I share something in common: redheads!
Would I have fooled Lucy? No. She was from Jamestown, New York and probably would have appreciated my look. It's different. It's a little John Adams, a little Charles Addams...
I may not be a Cousin Itt, but I'm an 'It' just like Clara Bow.
Time to Dish, sez Fox Populi
Meet Fox Populi, resident lyricist and muckraker. He'll be vlogging, too, when our request is approved for his video equipment.
For those who think Fox is the natural enemy of the wire fox terrier, you may be surprised to learn that Fox is our resident baker. He does enjoy dabbling in chocolate, though. Dogs are not supposed to partake of vast amounts of chocolate, and some dogs can't handle any chocolate at all. Moderation in all things, we say, along with wisdom.
We are wise to have a Fox on the payroll who enjoys the art of baking, just as we are wise to be friendly with Chef Jeff at SideSalad. Of the human persuasion, Jeff is generous in sharing the cookbooks that come across his desk. He's a food writer and blogger, among other things.
So when Jeff loaned us "Chocolate Epiphany" we knew Fox Populi would find a chocolate delight to pique his interest.
Fox Populi makes his debut on Mr. Doodles Dog, not with a muckraking expose or vlog, but with his rendition of a sweetly simple snack, Charlie's Afternoon Chocolate Cake (in three acts)...
The chocolate and the butter melted (confession: I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips and melted both that and the butter in the microwave), I whisk the eggs and sugar.
It's messy, but it's the chocolate batter, all ready to pour into the pan.
Ah, warm chocolate cake, resting and cooling on the counter. The wonderful aroma of chocolate fudge ruffles my fur. What sweet wonders await me.
(from "Chocolate Epiphany" by Francois Payard with Anne E. McBride)
Charlie's Afternoon Chocolate Cake
Vegetable cooking spray, for the 9-inch pan
All-purpose flour for the pan
10 tablespoons (5 ounces; 150 grams) unsalted butter
8 ounces (250 grams) 60% chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (125 grams) sugar
3/4 cup (75 grams) all-purpose flour
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the sides and bottom of a round 9-inch cake pan with vegetable cooking spray. Dust it with flour, shaking off excess, and set aside.
Bring the butter to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir a couple of times to prevent it from burning. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate to the pan. Stir the mixture until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Add the flour and mix well. Add the chocolate to the batter and stir until the mixture is just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 300 degrees F and bake for an additional 8 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the pan. Unmold, and serve.
This is one gorgeous cookbook, chocolate baking on a high plane ... If you're devoted to chocolate and are willing to spend some time with your chocolate studies, then this may be a book for you. This cake is probably the most leisurely recipe in the book.
OBJECTS OF AFFECTION ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR
Sammy and Gimlet, as the appear on the cover of their latest book, "The Dog Completed My Homework, and I Finally Passed the Course."
Who knew? Who had a clue?
That I was pink, and Sam was blue?
Modern Art just does that to you.
Am I Modrian or Klee? Grant or Bell?
Who can tell?
I'm not square. Nor hip, or hop.
I'm a dog. Tri-color, too.
Except now I'm a swirl or two.
A pink box on a mass of lines.
If I look ... and squint ... just there.
Look at Sam. His head's a block.
I've told him that. He listens ... not.
What is Modern Art,
But a very old way
To look at life
And have your way.
Sam Turns Four. Sweeney travels to Three Dog Bakery to pick up some nosh for Sam's birthday. Photo by Joe the Cat Sammy reflects upon the great age of four. Sam, Sam, the Rascal Man, Could it be, that we will see, his tendency for treason? A walk in the park, canine sweets toot sweet, new toys and then some pizza. There will be joy, oh boy, for this wirey Mona Lisa. Sam, Sam, the Rascal Man, How does this young man grow? Puppy dog's tails, hold the snails, and then just watch him go. --from "Meditations on Sammy's Obtaining the Great Age of Four" by Gimlet Rose.
Ready For More.
Now enters the Age of Reason.
Sweeney travels to Three Dog Bakery to pick up some nosh for Sam's birthday. Photo by Joe the Cat
Sammy reflects upon the great age of four.
Sam, Sam, the Rascal Man,
Could it be, that we will see, his tendency for treason?
A walk in the park, canine sweets toot sweet, new toys and then some pizza.
There will be joy, oh boy, for this wirey Mona Lisa.
Sam, Sam, the Rascal Man,
How does this young man grow?
Puppy dog's tails, hold the snails, and then just watch him go.
--from "Meditations on Sammy's Obtaining the Great Age of Four" by Gimlet Rose.
Nigel Prescott of Dunedin, an exceptional dog and companion to Bill and Pat Prescott, cast off his mortal coil at 9:15 a.m. on April 28 of last year. He lived a long and happy life, including nine years with the Prescotts, who provided him a second home after his original people died. He was always grateful to Frank and Caroline Mouris of New York who rescued him and gave him a second chance at life.
Nigel also is survived by Gimlet Rose, JoeCat and Sammy Alabammy.
Nigel was a wire fox terrier, the fact of which he was extremely proud. He possessed the classic terrier traits of tenacity, intelligence and sociability. He rarely met a lap he didn’t like or try to climb into. And he was rarely refused, because he possessed a self confidence and poise immediately discernable to most people and a smile that charmed anyone favored with his company.
As with the best terriers, Nigel carried himself with a certain dignity that demanded respect. In just the right light, he resembled Gen. Robert E. Lee, another point of pride although Nigel was a New York City native. Much like other beings of an aristocratic bearing, Nigel would dismiss annoyances with a snort, then roll his eyes and leave the room.
Nigel enjoyed travel by car, fetching a ball as long as he could still see, going for walks, making aquaintance with people, annoying JoeCat, going to the beach and sleeping on sofas. In his later years his observations were recorded in a blog and he was considered something of a legal arbiter among his peers.
Nigel also took great joy in his dinner and in waiting for handouts while his people dined. Nigel never begged; he waited with the patience and optimistic expectation characteristic of his breed.
Nigel had a rich baritone bark that originated somewhere deep near the toes of his rear paws, rumbled through his broad chest and erupted out of his jaws to instill terror in whatever had drawn his anger. Unfortunately he decided to spend his last year or so in silence, and his neighborhood was the less for it.
It has been said that the only thing bad about dogs is that they don’t live so long. Nigel certainly bore this out. As mentioned, he was an exceptional example of his species, is greatly missed and will long live in the hearts and memories of his family and friends.
Here's to you, Old Soldier.
As wire fox terriers, may we relate that we, as a breed, are indebted (you'll note the irony of the word) to Thomas Jefferson (TJ and his debt, another story), for The Louisiana Purchase. He certainly brought home the idea of extending the national backyard.
Which brings us to our word:
the area close to where one lives, or the territory close to a particular country, regarded with proprietorial concern: anything was preferable to a nuclear dump in their own backyard.
Nuclear dumps and Thomas Jefferson? That's too much of a Kevin Bacon stretch, even for us.
We will define backyard on our own terms, in our own terms, and we begin, being Doodlecentric, in our own backyard.
Gimlet killed a rat yesterday in the backyard.
Mr. Rat was very old, very seasoned (not seasoned, Mal Carne) and should have known better than to mount a birdseed expedition in mid-afternoon. Short and sweet: Gimlet saw Mr. Rat and shall we say, he wound up buying The Louisiana Purchase.
Gimlet and the late Mr. Rat. Photo by Joe the Cat (who watched as Gimlet outcatted him).
Gimlet saw Mr. Rat atop a birdfeeder, rushed outside and made a mad dash around the backyard. Mr. Rat, seasoned veteran that he was, knew the backyard, with all its plants and trees, offered a ratamillion places to hide.
And hide he did, for a time.
But Gimlet, being a wire fox terrier, did not give up, and pursued him, as Khan and Kirk, single mindedly, with no intention of giving up. That's tenacity, and that word is owned by ratting terriers such as Gimlet and the legendary Dirty Bart.
That is a word and a story for another day.
Gimlet made the sounds of the backyard, never taking her eye off the prize. Eventually, Mr. Rat reappeared, and Gimlet took after him. He ran up a cherry laurel tree.
At its bottom was Gimlet. She began to jump.
The jumping alerted her assistant, who grabbed a hose and cooled Mr. Rat's jets. Down the cherry laurel ran Mr. Rat, and there Gimlet dispatched him.
Teamwork. But Mr. Rat was tough, and it took a few extra blows to the midsection before he was transported off to Rat Heaven or the McDonalds of his choice.
They say Mr. Rat was in the vicinity of 18 inches, in full rigor, and without his vigor. That's what they say, although no yardstick was brought forth. He was a very large rat, and wily, but on this particular day, in this backyard, with this wire fox terrier, he had met his match.
Gimlet and Mr. Rat's scuffle lacked the excitement of Jefferson and John Adams and their epic and contentious struggle in the Election of 1800. Gimlet does have her Jeffersonian ideals, though, and would not mind extending her backyard a la Mr. Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase. And like Mr. Adams, Gimlet does appreciate authority, especially when it is her own.
Which brings us wire fox terriers to another word, own:
Own up, Stephen Colbert. You are one of our favorites, but your "Word" segments? Clearly, they owe more than a nod and a wink and an adjustment of glasses to our Devil Dog's Dictionary. Being devils ourselves, we appreciate the flattery, and we won't tell anyone if you confess. Which of course, we know you won't. Just as we won't own up to more than a little influence from Ambrose Bierce, and his Devil's Dictionary.
Nothing like being among like-minded friends, sipping cocktails and eating devil dogs or TastyKakes, in your own backyard.
Oh, yes, we deliver!
Photo of Gimlet in the kitchen by Joe the Cat.
The other night we had an urge for pizza. Not a frozen, or Greek, or even a wonderful Jets pizza .. No, we wanted to make our own pizza.
No small task when you can't reach the counter, except by chair.
Joe the Cat put on one of his hats, ran up to the grocery store, walked right through the front doors and proceeded to cram his canvas tote bag (he's an eco-cat, is Joe) with our list. We were making the crust, so we needed yeast. He added pepperoni, provolone and a bag of grated Italian cheeses (we cheated a little), sliced mushrooms (we cheated a little more) and a jar of Mr. Paul Newman's Sockarooni sauce. Using anything made by Paul Newman is not cheating; it's a wise chef and pizza maker who knows to buy the right sauce.
You simply cannot do better than Paul Sauce, not for the price and the cause.
By the time Joe arrived home (he made good time. It's a two-mile round-trip) with his purchases, we were ready. We pushed a chair into the kitchen, got out the wooden rolling pin and the English mixing bowl and prepared to make pizza.
As you can see, the dough proved no problem. It's a recipe we've used for quite a long time, and it makes a sweet pizza dough. Was it fun to roll the dough on the counter? Yes. If you do nothing else, try walking on fresh pizza dough. It feels great on the paws and it stretches the dough just right.
Once we had the dough in the pan, we slathered on the Paul Sauce. Joe likes the sauce.
Then came the mushrooms and all the cheeses. Grated cheese and provolone slices went everywhere and then Joe volunteered to clean the floor. He's very accommodating that way. Bring out the pepperoni slices and we all go into a deep trance, but we resisted every impulse and not a bit of pepperoni was eaten. It all went on the pie.
Next, it was time for more cheese, just to gild the pepperoni. Oh, yes, you must gild, and gild properly. A trifle more gilding came by way of olive oil .. olive oil all around the crust.
We were finished with the building of the pie.
Was it a Colossus? No. It was a magnificent, sweet, pizza pie, and it was preparing to keep its appointment with destiny. Into the oven it went.
And forty minutes later, at 350 degrees (which warmed up the kitchen considerably) out it came:
It was a perfect mixture of sweet crust with peppery sauce and mellow cheeses. Not bad work for two little dogs and a cat. You can see Joe's orange Crocs in the photo. He fashions himself a Mario Batali.
Sam was the first one to line up for the pizza, and the first one to finish his slice. Joe had a small sample and then ran off to mix Mojitos. He's on another cocktail kick.
All in all, it was an excellent evening.
They do like to carry on ...
Sherpa graphic by Gimlet Rose. Digital, 2008.
You're seeing Sherpas.
As our food critic, Orson Owelles, wrote previously, Tampa has a fresh pair of food writers, The Culinary Sherpas. They're Greg and Michelle Baker, partners in cookery and personal chef service Cooks & Company in Tampa. They began writing a weekly column for a nearbylargemetropolitandaily in March, and naturally they blog. Well, it comes naturally to them, anyway. We enjoy their writing so much that we recently asked them if we could link to their blog.
They said yes! They not only wouldn't mind being linked to a dog blog (not everyone is so diverse in their outlook) but they offered to link to us. Incredible, amazing and altogether unexpected, is what it was.
Or maybe they like our red couch?
We are now linked like fresh Georgia sausages.
You will find The Culinary Sherpas on the left-hand side, under "Bloggers With Fingers." Doodlespeak for humans. We have some other fingery bloggers listed there, too ... there's Jeff the Chef at SideSalad, Dave of the Daily (or so he claims) and Sarah, who likes to say things.
We predict you'll enjoy the Sherpas. Think of them as TastyKakes, a little bit unpredictable, a lotta tart. Lemon Krimpets are all the rage, you know. Indulge. Enjoy. Take a walk with your dog, learn to love hand puppets.
Sherpas, when you read this, we have a request: can you come up with a tasty recipe to please us dogs? How's your dog cuisine IQ? There are some cookbooks listed under "Alton Brown Alley," lower left-hand side. No need for us to constantly beg at tableside, is there?
The Perils of Pauline
Eleanor had "My Day" and I have "My Desk." Always a lover of laps, I remain loyal to my little own lap topper, my ibook.
It's been far too long since I wrote one of these columns. But a recent event caught my interest.
There's a wire in Pennsylvania by the name of Precious. She's a Puppy Mill Survivor.
For the past several years, Precious has been living the life of a happy wire fox terrier. She has her own family and home, regular meals, toys and probably a front window so she can keep guard on the place. All wire fox terriers need that crucial front window.
Last week, however, a routine ride in the car turned into a nightmare for Precious and her family. Precious slipped away from her folks when she was getting out of the family car as it was being dropped off for repairs. She was a good ways from home when she jumped out of the car and headed for the nearby Interstate. It was bad enough that Precious, who has a lingering distrust and fear of people from her mill days, was loose, but she was not wearing a collar or leash.
Precious was found by her dad three days later. She was running loose in a field by a factory when he spied her. She was muddy and hungry, but she had survived on her own without too much trauma.
Her experience prompted memories of my own past adventure in my doggie dad's Chevy Bel Air.
Hey, it happens to the best of us ...
But, it shouldn't happen again to someone like Precious, not after her Puppy Mill days. So, an idea occurred to me. Why doesn't Fox Terrier Network send Precious a seatbelt or a crate for her car? They can open up their coffers and help ensure that Precious never again has such a car adventure. We all know that cars are intended for rides, not heartache.
I know there are FTN dogs and members who read my blog. How about persuading the Holders of the Purse Strings to let loose, guys? You have an address for Precious; you know she needs that special bit of equipment, and .. well, what else do you need to know? Start the ball rolling and get that seatbelt or crate to her. Why not throw in some toys, too? There have been quite a few messages of Thanksgiving and relief regarding Precious's return from wire folk recently. Giving a seatbelt or crate to her family for her use would be a concrete way of saying "We're glad you're home, Precious, but we never want you to get loose again."
How about it?
Will we become warped as we weave?
Gimlet Rose, "Gimlet in Black and White," fabric designed for Nigel Enterprises, 2008.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on.
And now, I am the stuff of fabric.
My revels now will never end. I will drift of to sleep on my own image.
Am I sheepish about this? No.
I view my iconic status ironically. Tintin's Milou has been there before me. When you are a wire fox terrier, you are resigned to influencing design.
We wire fox terriers are such stuff as dreams are made on.
We grace all manner of textiles, toys and doodads. A terrible independence swaddled in fluffs of white fur, we beg rendition. It's much easier to train an inert Steiff than it is a live wire.
Therein is our problem. We look as though we are for everyone, but we can only live with a few. Spirit and defiance are in our very fabric. Some buy the notion that we are cute little pups ... wholecloth. We wires are cute, but the stuffing underneath ... not for everyone.
Just a few.
So how do I translate into fabric? What are my designs on the textile world? Am I delicate wash or can I take a heavy load? Will I wrinkle more than my nose? Do I shrink from daily use? Will I, like an insubstantial pageant, fade?
Most importantly, will I survive a tempest?
Yes. I think so.
I like this fabric. It is not faceless, nor baseless. It is a design I can live with, after all.
Now, what about some new draperies for the living room? I'm only $9.99 a yard!
Alas, poor Yorrick ...
we drew him well.
Gimlet digging herself in deeper. Digital work, circa 2000.
Before we lose our heads, let us remember ...
Marie Antoinette did not utter the immortal and royal words "Let them eat cake." Joe the Cat mentions that the French word for cake is gateau and Marie didn't use the phrase, anyway. Joe the Cat does acknowledge that gateau is very close to cat's toe, but he has no proof that the French Revolution is based on cat's toes.
This is one of GImlet's favorite logos, and yet she stored it away for a dirt-filled day. With the annexation of the side yard, our last little bit of land has now been made available by the new (yet old, coming from a salvage yard) gate. We now have freedom to roam in all but the front yard. When can we convince DoggieDad to put up some form of fencing in the front? The Barkalotboyz, Jake and JH, have their front yard now accessible to their every whim, but we're still waiting. It's time to begin our campaign to "Free the Front Lines."
Talk about No Man's Land. Without fencing, the entire front yard is No Terrier's Land. We can't stand for that.
What do you think of Gimlet's logo? Should we turn our paws to merchandise? Drop us a line or leave a comment and let us know.
As for cake, we're ready for some. It's been one of those days.
-- The Doodles
Another Day In Paradise
Smitty Grant taking in the view at Springwood, the Hyde Park, New York, home of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Oct. 2007 Photo by Joe the Cat
Today is one of those days.
Spring. The middle of April. Lovely weather, flowers in bloom, at least in Florida.
FDR died in Warm Springs, Georgia on this date in 1945. Fala howled in protest. There was much sadness and despair.
We suspect that FDR has since been tooling around the roads of the still-vast Roosevelt land holdings in Hyde Park in his Ford Phaeton. Why not? If you've ever been to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, you know it's paradise.
More of the view of the Hudson River, from the back of FDR's Hyde Park home, Springwood.
Sure, FDR is still up there, riding around with Fala at his side. There are picnics with lots of hot dogs, martinis (we've read FDR's were an acquired taste) and just lots of grand times.
The rear view of Top Cottage, FDR's idea of the perfect place to live.
So, a toast to FDR, one of the country's greatest presidents and people, a man who was there with ideas when his country sorely needed him. He's certainly entitled to his Hudson Valley bliss.
Here's to you, FDR, and your little dog, too.
Time to break out Fala's crystal ball, or get out the stripping knives?
Wherefore art thou, Gimlet?
Parting with your fur is such sweet sorrow, so let it be done on the morrow.
Ah, but tomorrow is another day.
Less is more, but more makes me appear less. At least, that's what I've found.
Fur, fur, wonderful fur is what I have and what I am. You can tell me by my custard tail that rivals the sail on Errol Flynn's Zaca.
I am a white bit of wild fluff that rivals the cream in all the world's French pastries.
I am a wee, white ghost with bellows of billowing fur.
I am a wiry bit of Neanderthal at the moment. There is talk of baths and stripping knives ... things of which I am not the least bit fond.
When I am this furry and wild all the creatures in the yard pause to take a second look ... and then I have them.
Now I am beyond a wire fox terrier. I am a wild thing.
I am Gimlet.
Watch me disappear.
Things we don't do often enough
Dash, doing no dashing on the Van Gogh Table in the Florida Room. Photo by Joe the Cat.
Nothing to it.
That was my day.
Sure, I took a walk in the park and noticed the clover was in bloom. Magnificent. You stumble onto clover. If you go looking for it, it hides from view. Clover's like that. Cagey.
And who can blame it? Clover knows something a lot of the rest of us don't: delight can be sudden, but it can't be hurried or mandated. No one tells clover what to do. Or an artist, or a mystery writer.
I return home from an unhurried rendezvous with clover and plop myself on the Van Gogh Table. I don't know what stray thoughts prompted my urge. I just felt like doing it. It felt great.
The Van Gogh Table. I heard it took forever to paint, which is funny, since it took its wink and nod from Starry Night. Van Gogh wasn't one to labor over inspiration. He just painted and poured out his soul onto canvas until the canvas couldn't take it any more.
And then he ran to the next painting. I think he may have been possessed.
But the table? It's an ordinary pine table, or was. Now it's a pleasure to plop my weary hand puppet self upon. Like I said, it took forever to paint, and then the table fairly shouted "Enough! You've painted every cranny. I ooze paint. My blemishes are hidden from view, never to be found again. Thanks for the makeover, but stop. Stop now!"
I like this table. It has wings that fold, and it becomes very tiny. But when it's at its fully glory and the wings are open ... it's round, and there's a sun in the middle of the Starry Night. That's funny. It appeals to my foxy sense of humor.
After the table, I went out to the bookstore, just to meander. Meander is what I did. Love that word. You appreciate words when you're walking in a bookstore with nothing much on your mind.
Then I saw it. A book. A Georges Simenon mystery: "Maigret and the Wine Merchant."
There went my money.
A Maigret mystery is very much like clover. It's a delight. This delight may contain Paris, and bistros, food, food and more food, murder, corruption and despair. I stumbled onto the Maigret today, but I've read many of them. Still, what a surprise, and delight.
Maigret and I sat on the big red couch together. The one up there in the banner. It's even softer than it looks. Gimlet joined us. Sam? He grabbed a rawhide bone and plopped himself down on his nearby pillow and took delight in chewing.
Gimlet and I read a bit, and then we took delight in a snooze.
Nothing to it. That was my day.
And it was great.
I'd like another one of these, and soon.
Fala exhibit at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, NY.
Gimlet: Hot dogs! Come and get yer New York hot dogs!
Nigel: I love hot dogs. What better day to enjoy a hot dog, too? It's practically a National Dog Holiday. It's the anniversary of Fala Roosevelt's birth, after all.
Gimlet: And we get to chat with Fala again. The last time we spoke with him was in 2003, and we'd just begun Mr. Doodles Dog. He was very obliging with the séance.
Nigel: Now that I've actually met Fala and we've become friends, he's joined our staff. He's part of our, shall we say, "celestial bureau."
Fala: Nigel, I'm officially in the Department Of Growls and act as a "human communicator." I'm sure that's someone's idea of a bureaucratic joke, but I happen to think it's funny. Love those acronyms.
Gimlet: Happy Birthday, Fala. It's number 68, right?
Fala: It is. It's also the date of my burial. I'm buried behind Franklin at his home in Hyde Park. It's his presidential library and museum now. Wish you could see my grave in that photo ... I'm near a sundial. That's the opposite of my place in life, though. I usually ran ahead of him and let people know the President was coming through. The Secret Service had a special name for me because of that: The Informer.
Fala's grave, near the sundial in front of FDR's and Eleanor's memorial in The Rose Garden at Springwood, Hyde Park, NY. Photo used by the kind permission of Grant & Kilgallen Photography.
Nigel: Your obituary ran in the New York Times. That's heady stuff for any dog. The headline for April 6, 1952 read: "Fala 'Sleeps' Away; Was Roosevelt's Pet."
Fala: Well, he was my pet, too. I missed him terribly. I mourned him the rest of my earthly life. Dogs mourn, as you know.
Gimlet: We know.
Fala: Of course, now we tool around in his Ford convertible all the time. We're always driving around the Roosevelt land in Hyde Park, from Springwood to Top Cottage and just everywhere. A lot of people think he's a terrible driver and I am one of the few who love to get in the car with him. We picnic a lot, too. It's always hot dogs for him, and cocktails, cocktails... what a guy.
Nigel: Remind me to show you around my liquor cabinet, Fala. I have a private gin collection, you know.
Fala: I heard. The President liked to tell people that I had "scotch" in my veins. What a guy. Go here to see a short movie of the President and me at play.
Gimlet: Oh, what a grand life you had for a Scottish Terrier. And you're still having it.
Fala: The President laughed and laughed when I told him I was working for Mr. Doodles Dog. He's a fan. He says he wishes he could have used you to help him boost morale during The Great Depression and World War II. He's always been one for trying out new things. He loves the Internet.
FDR and Fala taking a spin in FDR's 1936 Ford Phaeton, equipped with special hand controls. Hyde Park, NY., October, 1944.
Nigel: What do you want for your birthday, Fala?
Fala: I'd like to be remembered. Would someone put flowers on my grave in the Rose Garden at Hyde Park? You know what else? I'd love it if the folks at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum would institute a special celebration of my birthday. They have one for The President every January 30 and for Eleanor on October 11. How about one for me every April 7? FDR would be very pleased if Cynthia and Lynn, as well as Cliff and the crew arranged an annual celebration for children to come to the Library and learn more about me and my place in The President's life. There could be dog-related events and some Scottie-shaped cakes ... dog treats, too. I would love for people to realize that The President did a great deal to help people understand that dogs have a contribution to make to our country. I was the inspiration for one of his most famous speeches, you know. You can read a bit about that on my official biography.
Gimlet: Fala, we can't make it to Hyde Park for your birthday. We're in Florida. But .. we're having hot dogs and cocktails in your honor. We've also set up a small shrine to you in our editorial offices. We have the photo of you and FDR driving, a copy of "The True Story of Fala" by Margaret Suckley and Alice Dalgleish and of course "Closest Companion" by Margaret Suckley and "No Ordinary Time" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Not to mention one of Nigel's gin bottles...
Fala: Thanks for helping me celebrate my birthday. I'll take the day off, but then I'll be back researching a post for Mr. Doodles Dog. The President says he'll help me. He threw back his head and roared with laughter when I told him we'd be exposing nuts and charlatans through a series of posts on a dog blog.
Nigel: Happy Birthday, Fala. Here's a photo Joe the Cat took on a visit to FDR's Top Cottage in Hyde Park last October. This is a view from the front porch. It was a gorgeous day, and aren't you lucky to have had so many of them.
Editor's note: Extentive research on this post was contributed by Smitty Grant, a wire fox terrier, and Jessie Kilgallen, a cocker spaniel. The pair are frequent visitors to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY. Our thanks to Mr. Grant and Miss Kilgallen.
These wires were made for walkin' Wirestock logo by Gimlet Rose. 2008
And that's just what they'll do.
One of these days these wires...
Are gonna walk all over you.
Do do do do do do do ...
Wirestock logo by Gimlet Rose. 2008Nobody walks or pulls like a wire fox terrier.
Sometimes, wires pull together.
Several wires and their peeps are motoring over to Bear Mountain, New York on May 4. They'll combine paw pads and shoe leather to walk all over cancer in the annual Dogswalk Against Cancer.
You know it. When these guys hit the pavement, cancer is kicked to the curb. Finally.
What? You say you're going and your person would like a T-shirt (or hat or tote bag) with this logo? Or perhaps you're a dog who loves to dress up (we won't tell), and you'd like a dog T-shirt with logo? Well, go here and order. All profits from the merchandise go to ... you guessed it ... the Dogswalk Against Cancer. It's a win-win thing.
Digital gouache by Gimlet Rose. 2008
A young wire fox terrier with the name of Sammy was walking in the woods one fine day and came upon a red tie.
It was attached to a large boor.
Now, Sammy had heard of this large boor. It had attained mythic proportions in the Fox Terrier World of which Sammy was a part. It stood guard at one corner of the Fox Terrier World, and charged a toll for all who would enter. But, coming upon the boor in the woods, it did not look so mythic. The boor looked isolated, bloated and greedy. A grim package indeed, with a bright red tie wrapped around its blotchy neck.
The boor peered at Sammy with a jaundiced eye, not liking what it saw, and determined right then, that Sammy's mere presence was a threat. The boor could tell that Sammy was curious, you see. Curiosity is a wonderful and expected trait in a wire fox terrier, but the suspicious boor saw it as a threat.
"If you want to come into this part of the Fox Terrier World, you must pay my toll," grunted the boor with the red tie.
"What is the toll and why must I pay you?" Sam evenly inquired. "This part of the Fox Terrier World is the same as every other part I have traveled. Fox terriers have famously free countries. Why does it cost to enter this part, and why are you the one collecting the money?"
"I'm too busy to answer your questions," snorted the boor. "But, this is my part of the Fox Terrier World, because I said so, and you must pay me for one year's admittance."
What do you do with the money?" Sam asked.
"Haven't I told you I'm much too busy for your questions? I am under no obligation to answer you. The money in my hoof. Now."
Now, Sam did not cotton to the boor's toll, or tone, but recall that Sam was the curious sort. And he had the money for the toll.
"Here is my money for a year's admission into the part of the Fox Terrier World you so jealously guard," said Sammy.
The boor snatched the money from Sammy's paw and then took a red tie out of a side pocket. "Here is your red tie, Dog," said the boor. "This is your ticket into this part of my Fox Terrier World. And don't forget that it is my world. In addition to the tie, you will be glad to know you are helping me educate others about fox terriers. And you are helping terriers in need, too.
"Although you have paid me, I will now set conditions on your travels here. I will not allow you contact with the other fox terriers you meet here, unless I have advance notice of what you plan to say to them."
"What?" Sam asked in surprise. "You take my money then you censor me. And just how do you educate others about fox terriers? You certainly don't appear to know very much about them, and you don't appreciate our innate curiosity. Not at all."
"I have an information booklet which I do not give out," drawled the boor. "And I do not have to tell you anything about the fox terriers in need who may or may not have received help years ago. Although ... that was so long ago, I can barely recall their names, imaginary or not.... Nonsense, Dog! I have your money. You have a tie. Now go."
Sammy placed the red tie around his neck and walked into the boor's terrier territory.
As Sammy ventured further, the tie chafed. It seemed to scour the skin on his neck. Loose threads appeared on the tie's hem and the fabric felt very coarse. Sammy took a moment to take a closer look at the tie's label.
"Made in China," read Sam. 'Wouldn't you know it. That jingoistic boor wanted top dollar for admittance into a world that does not belong to it, wanted money for an information booklet that it does not give out, and even wanted money for dogs it does not help ... it makes perfect sense that its tie was made in China."
Sammy continued on his way into the boor's part of the Fox Terrier World. He met other wire fox terriers wearing cheap Chinese ties, and many of them were very pleasant. Sammy thought it odd that all the fox terriers, although very chatty, never acknowledged each other's cheap and fraying ties. In fact, it was common for the ties to occasionally cause the wearer to trip, since they would not remain tied for very long and slide along a wearer's legs. Sammy came to resent what he termed his "Faustian Red Tie."
"What has that boor's toll done for me?" bemoaned Sammy. "I have entry into a world that is roped off, and shouldn't be; that has a toll attached to it, when it should be free; censured contact with other fox terriers, when the contact has been paid for; an information booklet that is not sent out and needy fox terriers who are not helped. All that for good money that might have actually gone to help dogs in need."
"What a rook. And what a boor."
"I see exactly what that boor is up to, and I want no part of it."
As soon as Sammy's words came out of his mouth, he stopped and pawed the cheap, red, Chinese tie that was chafing his neck. He unknotted the tie and unwrapped its hold on him. It wasn't difficult to do, since the tie was already in tatters.
"I look at this tie that represents all the false stories the boor sold me, and other fox terriers, and realize the boor took us all to the cleaners," Sammy said with deliberation. "It's one thing to cheat a dog out of some money when he has a disposable income, but when it comes to the false claim of helping needy dogs ... that is too much. Let me walk a bit more and consider what actions to take."
"I realize," Sammy spoke to himself, "that the other fox terriers who gave money to the boor did so because they thought they were helping other fox terriers. And they may be very upset and disillusioned to learn that their boor actually despises them while it takes their money. It would be better if I cut my ties with this boor and walked in other territories of the Fox Terrier World where curiosity and candor are valued. I think I'll stop by the FTC and the IRS dog inns on my way and let them know what is going on. Yes, I feel much better already, now that I will not be paying that boor again and adding to its coffers. What a weight has been removed from my shoulders.
"Not to mention that I dislike cheap Chinese ties."
Thoughts were tumbling and falling all over themselves today.
There are times when we find expression onerous. How many dog-hours must we spend in front of the computer until we are swallowed whole?
The rats outside taunt us with shrill cries of "Enjoy your blogging!"
We will. We do. But we need to paint.
Sam finds paint delicious, especially lime green. I live for color and surprise. It is sweet irony that we are white and black and buff dogs, after all, when we might enjoy being pink, orange and purple.
At least I would enjoy those colors. I've worn cobalt blue before.
We need to paint. We need to return to our easel and to our colors and gouache. There are several dogs waiting for their portraits to be painted. Only dogs have the patience we require. No cat would wait for us, not even the understanding Joe.
There is one more digital image we're working on, and that is just waiting for second thoughts. Then, off it goes and we're free to paint.
The cobalt moments can't return soon enough.
Food critic Orson Owelles on Sherpas and why you clean your plate: 'Because it's there.' Photo of Orson Owelles and risotto by Joe the Cat. Editors note: We're thick with owls and vowels this year. It was one of our resolutions for 2008: get a food critic, and make it an owl. Not only do they know their grub, they can usually be relied upon to try something different. Orson Owelles is of the Screech persuasion and lives in the vicinity of our Druid Tree. "Owl, wise and old, seeks good food." That's my credo. I'm a raptor and I know good grub. The freshness, taste, value and communal nature of a dish or a meal are on my radar. Alton Brown? We've met. Bright guy. Brownies? Cakey, please. Small Vermin? Over here! Catchy food writing plus good risotto? I've found some of that in Tampa. The Culinary Sherpas, Greg and Michelle Baker, write a food column for a nearbylargemetropolitandaily and they also run a personal chef service. They're Sherpas who blog and carry tales. Is that a Tibetan thing? Last week I flew over to that nearbylargemetropolitandaily and sampled some of their work. The Sherpas were nice enough to invite a few Flavorites to lunch, their treat, and I tagged along.
Photo of Orson Owelles and risotto by Joe the Cat.
Editors note: We're thick with owls and vowels this year. It was one of our resolutions for 2008: get a food critic, and make it an owl. Not only do they know their grub, they can usually be relied upon to try something different. Orson Owelles is of the Screech persuasion and lives in the vicinity of our Druid Tree.
"Owl, wise and old, seeks good food."
That's my credo. I'm a raptor and I know good grub. The freshness, taste, value and communal nature of a dish or a meal are on my radar.
Alton Brown? We've met. Bright guy. Brownies? Cakey, please. Small Vermin? Over here! Catchy food writing plus good risotto?
I've found some of that in Tampa.
The Culinary Sherpas, Greg and Michelle Baker, write a food column for a nearbylargemetropolitandaily and they also run a personal chef service. They're Sherpas who blog and carry tales. Is that a Tibetan thing?
Last week I flew over to that nearbylargemetropolitandaily and sampled some of their work. The Sherpas were nice enough to invite a few Flavorites to lunch, their treat, and I tagged along.Those Sherpas are passionate about their food and their work, or I can't see straight.
They served up risotto with mascarpone, peas and cracklin' with lavender-infused salt. My wings spread in silent applause. And then, and then ... the killer: braised chicken with carrots, onions, celery, porcini mushrooms, fennel, white wine and fresh thyme. The sauce was a reduction of the braising liquid and just a tad wicked.
That chicken was falling-off-the-bone tender. And you have to know, I love things that fall off bones.
I liked the Sherpas. They didn't bat an eye when I popped up. Not everyone is so understanding of owls at lunchtime. They expect us to appear at night, for some reason. Owls eat lunch, too.
You can find the Sherpas at their web site, Culinarysherpas.com . Note that they have a dog and a cat.
I like them even more for that.
--Orson Owelles, wise old food critic, Mr. Doodles Dog
Beg to differ, not defer. "Gimlet in the Pink," digital collage. (2008) Gimlet Rose Murphzha innerruuph ahmoomantt? Ack. That's better. We had something in our mouths. As we sometimes do, we were chewing mercilessly on rawhides. May we interrupt a moment and talk about mouths? Ours have teeth. Plenty of them. About 42 pointed pearly whites for the average dog. The average human usually has a set of 32, and they're fairly blunt. You're sharp enough to see that we outnumber you. Let's leave it at that. The question has been raised: how do you pry open a dog's jaws? The answer is simple: if you want to live long enough to be considered long in the tooth, you let the dog's jaws do the talking.
"Gimlet in the Pink," digital collage. (2008) Gimlet Rose
Murphzha innerruuph ahmoomantt?
Ack. That's better. We had something in our mouths. As we sometimes do, we were chewing mercilessly on rawhides. May we interrupt a moment and talk about mouths?
Ours have teeth. Plenty of them. About 42 pointed pearly whites for the average dog. The average human usually has a set of 32, and they're fairly blunt. You're sharp enough to see that we outnumber you.
Let's leave it at that.
The question has been raised: how do you pry open a dog's jaws? The answer is simple: if you want to live long enough to be considered long in the tooth, you let the dog's jaws do the talking.Would we be prying if we asked what possessed you to ask such a question? Did the dog take something that did not belong to him or her? Certainly that's a matter for mediation. Is the dog in danger of swallowing something horrid? A chicken bone, you say? Ah, well, then ... do a Janet Leigh and scream.
There is nothing quite as hair-raising to a dog, or as jaw-dropping, as a good human scream. Let it out. Bellow. Yowl. Bay at the moon. The higher the pitch of the scream, the quicker your remedy. No dog can tolerate a human pack member in distress. At the very least, we're annoyed at the tiptoeing upon our audial territory.
Let's not delve into the subject of toes and paws, though. Not now.
Back to the bones and the jaws and the mouth: a dog considers the mouth to be sacred. We smile, we bark, we bare our fangs in great shows of theater ... you do not want to enter that realm.
Surprise us. Startle us. Perhaps you can persuade us ... but do not pry.
A yelp helps, and that's the better bite.
Doodle staffers Jack Bunny and Dash, on why it's better to give to legitimate nonprofits and why the IRS wants you to dig into their information basket.
Photo of Jack Bunny and Dash by Joe the Cat.
Editor's note: Jack Bunny is a carrot wrangler and dangler who claims a familiar connection to legendary anarchist Bugs Bunny. Dash is a former detective and print journalist who turned to Doodling just to get a crack at Nigel's gin cabinet.
JACK BUNNY: Nothing quite like a surprise in the basket.
DASH: Nothing like an anarchist rabbit to spring something on an unsuspecting public on Easter.
JACK BUNNY: Hey, when I promise a basket of goods and the return of warm weather, you can rely on it. I'm not one for empty baskets ... or empty promises.
DASH: My reporter's nose detects some rabbit's foot trickery here. So, tell us, Jack, how do you fill an Easter basket and what should a body look for? How do we sort the good eggs from the rotten ones?
JACK BUNNY: Here's the deal. Easter baskets: sure, everything looks great. You have your nice woven basket full of hard-boiled eggs and candy, or maybe presents or a combo. Maybe you have a chocolate rabbit with a good set of ears. All of it is brought to you by an Easter Bunny representative and all of it is a surprise, meant to herald the arrival of Spring. It's all good stuff.
DASH: Where's the downside?
JACK BUNNY: You've been given this gift, and maybe you've given one or two. You're in a good mood. You're eating chocolate and sugar after all. Eggs are a source of protein. You have it all in that basket. Things seem good, at least on the surface.
DASH: But ... they're not?
JACK BUNNY: There's always someone out there, some miscreant soul, who shoves that rotten egg into the basket, or some bogus treat. It really puts my ears in a twist. Because, remember, all of this Easter basket stuff is a public service of us Easter Bunnies. We're a nonprofit organization of long-standing, recognized by the IRS.
DASH: You're performing a public service, and you do receive donations from people who help you fill and deliver baskets....
JACK BUNNY: Oh, yes. In fact, we rely upon goodwill and volunteers and cold, hard, cash. You know how much the price of sugar has gone up?
DASH: What's the crux of the problem?
JACK BUNNY: Believe it or not, and who wouldn't believe an Easter Bunny, there are bogus "charities" out there. Yessir. There are rotten eggs in this nonprofit basket, and a coupla rotten chicks who think it's better to take than it is to give.
DASH: Spill the beans, Jack. Give us the straight dope. Who are these rotten eggs?
JACK BUNNY:Chicks. Rotten chicks. Bogus nonprofits, stealing from people and Easter Bunnies. Dogs, too.
DASH: Chicks pretending to be goody-goodies and stealing from dogs, huh? Oh, I don't like the sound of that. Who are these chicks? What's their game? Are they into nonprofits that are NOT nonprofits? Jeepers. What a story. What a scam.
JACK BUNNY: Scam, it is. Even in these worsening economic times, there are still lots of generous folks who want to give and help others...
DASH: Sure. Sure, there are. But when these folks give to bogus nonprofits, they think they're already helped someone, and they may not be inclined to give to legitimate nonprofits. So, you could say ...
JACK BUNNY: Let's not dangle carrots. Call it what it is ... they're stealing from bunnies and dogs.
DASH: What's a body to do?
JACK BUNNY: Leave it to your anarchist Easter Bunny representative to tell you. You're a taxpayer, right? Well, the IRS has a wonderful search engine for nonprofits that YOU'VE paid for. Why not use it and check out these organizations? And, if you're still confused with the results, just call the IRS at their toll-free number.
DASH: Where is this IRS search engine? Is it in your basket?
JACK BUNNY: Yep. And you don't have to dig deep: go to IRS Publication 78, online search for charities. There's also a number on that site that you can call to talk to a friendly IRS representative. And, believe me, I've spoken to a few and they are friendly.
DASH: This is swell.
JACK BUNNY: There's more! If you want to do more, you can make a request of the nonprofit (or alleged nonprofit) you're interested in and request their IRS exemption particulars. They're required, by law, to have it ready for public disclosure.
DASH: The organization doesn't have a choice, does it? Those chicks can't give you the runaround?
JACK BUNNY: Dash, in my experience, rotten chicks will always try and give you the runaround. You just have to report them to the authorities when they do. Those chicks have to come clean with that IRS stuff. You can read about it at at the IRS site, here.
DASH: Jack, this has been one heckuva Easter surprise.
JACK BUNNY: You're telling me. I thought everybody knew this stuff. Oh, well, Spring, as they say, has sprung!
And all of them Tiina.
Illustration of Tiina from Finland by her elf buddy, Gimlet Rose
Today, Tiina turns 16.
Now, what does that mean?
It means we've all had the pleasure
of watching her leisure
on her pillows, bright and gay.
We've seen her in lupines, and in chilly moss forests.
Watched her pick berries and sit among flowers.
Tiina and Ville the cat have danced their elfin dances before our eyes.
She is the wire with the magical existence,
the one of whom we all wish "could we please be Tiina, even for a day?"
"May we sit with Anne and watch the world go by, and see with Tiina's eyes?"
Today, Tiina turns 16.
Oh, that number is putty in Tiina's paw. She adds a dash of spirit and joie de vivre to everything in her path
Oh, that wire.
Today, Tiina from Finland turns 16.
Editor's note: To see previous Doodle paeans to Tiina, visit her here.
How very Post-Impressionable Gimlet Gets Cushy; Gimlet, the Fauve Devil; Gimlet, etc. Painting by Gimlet. Acrylic on canvas. We use colorful and visual language today. How better to get our points across? We see red, go green, are pea green, avoid turning yellow and sometimes fall into feeling blue. Today, however, we are in the pink. Best of all, don't forget, there's Gimlet. Is her silence golden ... or unusual? Unusual, since her bark can peel paint. So much volume from such a small, white, whirlwind. Gimlet, purple prose will not do. You are a Dashiell Hammett kind of dog. --Nigel
("Gimlet Gets Cushy")
Gimlet Gets Cushy; Gimlet, the Fauve Devil; Gimlet, etc. Painting by Gimlet. Acrylic on canvas.
We use colorful and visual language today.
How better to get our points across?
We see red, go green, are pea green, avoid turning yellow and sometimes fall into feeling blue. Today, however, we are in the pink.
Best of all, don't forget, there's Gimlet.
Is her silence golden ... or unusual?
Unusual, since her bark can peel paint. So much volume from such a small, white, whirlwind.
Gimlet, purple prose will not do. You are a Dashiell Hammett kind of dog.
Dogs eat homework all the time, but they draw the line at paintings. "SAMMY IN MY FACE," digital art by Gimlet Rose, 2008. Tillamook Cheddar. We write this with straight and furry faces. There is a famous dog painter, not blue, who goes by the name "Tillamook Cheddar." Perhaps you've heard of her, been to some of her exhibitions, or have read her book, "Portrait of the Dog as a Young Artist" (a twist of James Joyce). Cheddar is into the"Scratch" school. Meaning, she is a subtractive artiste, scrounging positive space from negative. She's not into Old Scratch or devil worship, to our knowledge. Is she into Old Spice? You have to wonder ... Yes, well, we are no Cheddars, although we do like our New York sharp, pal, or not at all. It caught our fancy, this cheesy form of painting. Could we paint something with our new Painter software? Gimlet took the challenge and Sam took it upon himself to stand still for a while. This doesn't resemble Sam's current curly form, but it could be him someday, in his tricolor best. It's possible Gimlet has proved a whiz, then, and become not only painter and pet but psychic. Those are three "p" words, added to the fourth "p" as in "pop" artist, which could be another post on dog artists named after sodas. Gimlet, named after a drink, demurs.
"SAMMY IN MY FACE," digital art by Gimlet Rose, 2008.
We write this with straight and furry faces.
There is a famous dog painter, not blue, who goes by the name "Tillamook Cheddar." Perhaps you've heard of her, been to some of her exhibitions, or have read her book, "Portrait of the Dog as a Young Artist" (a twist of James Joyce).
Cheddar is into the"Scratch" school. Meaning, she is a subtractive artiste, scrounging positive space from negative. She's not into Old Scratch or devil worship, to our knowledge. Is she into Old Spice? You have to wonder ...
Yes, well, we are no Cheddars, although we do like our New York sharp, pal, or not at all.
It caught our fancy, this cheesy form of painting. Could we paint something with our new Painter software? Gimlet took the challenge and Sam took it upon himself to stand still for a while.
This doesn't resemble Sam's current curly form, but it could be him someday, in his tricolor best. It's possible Gimlet has proved a whiz, then, and become not only painter and pet but psychic. Those are three "p" words, added to the fourth "p" as in "pop" artist, which could be another post on dog artists named after sodas.
Gimlet, named after a drink, demurs.
Geordie the Scaly Scot left Saskatchewan yesterday on his longed-for move to perpetual warmth and leisure.
Will he be happy? Of course. Indolent? Naturally. Wry? Need you ask?
Everything about Geordie remains bemused. He will always be the Scottie Who Couldn't Help But Shoot Straight, The Dog Who Had Everything and The Dog Who Put Up With Nothing Less Than What He Wanted.
What a life. What a Scottie. What a dog.
What stories and what a fabled existence: The Geordie Myth, the recalcitrant, leisurely, gourmand Scottie who captivated and captured his "owner" Linda, and legions of Terrier-L readers. He cut a fine figure of a dog, walking a little ways, and then sitting down as if he were made of poured concrete. "No! I won't budge. We'll rest here a while and then we're turning around and going home. It's time for a snack or time for dinner. It doesn't matter, it's time to eat something. Let's go!"
From a wily puppy who indulged in cover-ups of his "mistakes" to the boisterous young dog who commanded Westies Fiona and McTavish, and then matured into the patriarchal dog who adored a charming Flossie, Geordie was synonymous with "character." His main trait was charm, liberally dashed with guile and determination.
Were "The Geordie Stories" all true? Did he slay many a giant meat loaf and write the Great American/Canadian Novel? (Geordie was American by birth, Canadian by Golly.) Of course they are, and he did, he did. Geordie was a little bit of everything we love most about dogs, and life itself.
Enjoy your sandy beach, Geordie, and send us a card sometime.
--Nigel, Gimlet, Sammy and Joe the Cat
--In 2004, Geordie was gracious enough to give us his recipe for his very own Savoury Cheese Biscuits. Treat yourself to Geordie and his unispecies biscuits here.
--Also in 2004, Geordie graciously consented to an interview: not of himself, but of his little Flossie. Read Linda Winkler's take on what it's like to watch a young Scottie lass grow here.
Gimlet and Sam prepare for new literary adventures in their "Doodle Express," otherwise known as their Superdoodlenova. Photo by Joe the Cat
Gimlet: It's a little anxiety-provoking, Sam.
Sam: Learning to drive the new car, or learning to drive a car? I think we're doing both.
Gimlet: Not the dogs, or the driving ... wire fox terriers were born to drive. No, I mean it's giving me pause to use new blogging software.
Sam: We're not in Mr. Doodles Dogland anymore?
Gimlet: Oh, we're still at Mr. Doodles Dog, and we're still The Doodles and wire fox terriers and all that entails ... we just have a new computer and have made some changes in the way we do things.
Sam: When did we get such a big payroll? Sweeney, Dash, Tom Cat-Jones ... Fala? Do you see the talent on the right-hand side? And look, there's a left-hand side. That's new.
Gimlet: New is what it's all about.
Nigel: We're not new. I'm sitting on the back seat and you can't see me, but I'm still here. Joe's on the hood. We're all here, and so is the world that surrounds us. That's not new. We still have our blogging material, and as long as we have that, we'll be fine.
Joe the Cat: New camera, though, and I heard there's a camcorder in the offing ....?
Nigel: Teach a cat new tricks, Joe?
Joe the Cat: Why not?
Gimlet: We have our methods, and we have our madness. That's all we've ever had, and all we'll ever need.
Nigel: Off we go, and let's try not to run over our muse.
Gimlet is the color.
A shade of green,
A state of mind.
A little white dog. A big black nose.
A resounding ... bark!
in the park.
House is in shambles.
But Gimlet ... the color of joy,
A springlike treat.
So tiny, so sweet...
Gimlet, our delightful wire girl.