Monday, February 28, 2005


This has been a very strange and interesting week - musically, that is.

It started last Wednesday, when I shared a first class cabin with the band Hanson on my way from Chicago back to Atlanta. Pleasant enough fellows, but I could not help but wonder what would have happened had the Mistress of Sarcasm been on the flight with me. For years, she had a sign in her room that read, “Hanson Sucks.” No way she could have kept a straight face if one of the boys had tried to have a conversation with her.

Friday night, we were at Goldfish, an Atlanta seafood eatery. The featured musical entertainment was a talented individual on the piano and keyboard, a veritable one-man band. He got my attention when he played “Baby Got Back.” The Richard Cheese version, that is: hip-hop as seen through the Las Vegas Lounge Lizard Lens. That was good for a $5 toke in the old tip jar.

But tonight, ah, that was the best.

The Mistress and I hooked up in Buckhead and headed into Midtown to Smith’s Olde Bar to hear Matisyahu.

For those of you who are not familiar with Matisyahu Miller, he is a reggae/hip-hop artist who is also a Hasidic Jew. He made an impressive appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night talk show back in December.

I am here to tell you, this boy is the Real Thing. He had the hall packed SRO, everybody moving to the reggae beat. Hey, I’ve seen Bob Marley, not to mention Toots and the fuckin’ Maytals, and as far as I’m concerned, Matisyahu can walk alongside Bob Marley in the pantheon of Reggae Greats...and he can kick Toots around the block and make his nose bleed.

Matisyahu. Josh Werner (bass) is in back.

If you get a chance to see Matisyahu, go. Now. It won’t be as much fun - or as intimate - if you wait until he’s packing stadiums. And besides, how often do you get to see a reggae artist who wears tzitzit?

Sunday, February 27, 2005


I was sixteen when I had my first drink in a restaurant.

It was in Miami, where I was visiting the Southern Branch of Family d’Elisson. My Uncle Phil took me out to lunch at a place called the Mousetrap. In retrospect, I have no idea how I remember the name.

The waitress came to take our order, and for some completely unknown reason, I asked for a martini. Not that I expected to get it...I just up and asked for it.

And the waitress fuckin’ brought it.

A double. On the rocks.

I gulped that sonofabitch down. No problem - that was easy. Finding my steak on the plate afterwards - now, that was the tricky part.

I’m sure Phil was quietly laughing his ass off the entire way home.


It’s not often a bottle of liquor will set me to reminiscing, but it can happen.

I spent last weekend in the North Georgia mountains at a religious retreat with a Buncha Guys. Evening activities at these affairs generally involve the consumption of large quantities of Adult Beverages, and Saturday night, once the Sabbath prohibition against kindling fire is over, the campfire gets fired up and the cigars come out.

The variety of said Adult Beverages is enormous, ranging from the sublime (Booker Noe’s bourbon, The Balvenie DoubleWood single malt Scotch) to the ridiculous (Smirnoff Orange Twist Vodka). No matter - it all finds a happy home in someone’s gullet. Things typically don’t get excessively rowdy, but everyone has a good time, in the process jacking up the BAC to the point where there’s little risk of freezing to death.

This year, someone brought an old bottle that must have been lurking in the back of the Old Lacquer Liquor Locker. A bottle of Peter Heering’s fine Danish cherry liqueur.

You can go to any reasonably well-provisioned Booze Shoppe and find Peter Heering, AKA Cherry Heering. It’s in the cordial section, right there amongst the Grand Marnier, the Drambuie, the Cointreau, the Amaretto di Saronno - all of those sweet desserty-type drinks. It’s a fine after-dinner drink, although there are many who find the taste disturbingly reminiscent of cough syrup. Good cough syrup.

This bottle, however, had to be upwards of twenty or thirty years old, which made me think back to the days when it was new...and before. The old men who drank it back then (well, they seemed old to us) used to call the stuff “Cherry Herring.” Whether they were trying to be funny, or whether it was a mispronunciation born out of the similarity between the words “Heering” and “Herring,” it’s the name I grew up hearing.

How nice to see it on an old bottle again, where it could bring back memories of Sunday afternoons visiting the grandparents. Sometimes, on those Sundays, my Dad and his father would enjoy a postprandial schnapps - Cherry Heering, like as not. And sometimes they would let me have a taste, in a thick-walled cordial glass that held a mere thimbleful. It was like being let in on the Great Secret of the Brotherhood of Men.

I’m not sure there really is a secret, aside from “pissing standing up is great, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” But I’ll toast those memories anyway, with a shot of “Cherry Herring.”


Mind of Mog hosts the Carnival of the Cats this week, leaving me to ponder just what kind of mind a Mog might have. No matter: it is evidently the kind of mind that appreciates the finest in Animal Companions, that quintessence of Intelligence and Body Hair, felis domesticus.

“Common house cat”? Pfaugh, I say. Cats are regal, even snooty. Cats do not hump your leg (actually, Matata might try, but we suspect she’s part dog) and do not pant slavishly after their masters. Cats, like the smartest among us, bury their shit.

Cats: they’re what’s for dinner gr-r-r-eat!


It is I, Mac from the currently ruined shambles of pesky’apostrophe. I have been given the keys to the House o’ Elisson. Silly monkey.

I am currently ready to go stark raving mad from the hijinks going on at the server on which I am hosted. Two-ish days of intermittent service followed by a day of no service followed by half a day of service followed by what I hope is a temporary period of no service at all. Bitches, I’m fragile, dammit! I’m sure by the way I’m perched at my office chair hyperventilating you can tell that I’m a delicate giver goddess whose tender feelings can only take so much jerking around.

Now, combined with the fact that we may or may not get eight inches of snow tomorrow...well...I’m done in. I’m two seconds from walking over to the local news station and choking the life out of our weather person. Amy Freeze. Sure, her name is really Amy Freeze. And my name is Mac Imaboutagonuts.


So now that that’s out of my system, who is watching the awards tonight? I’ll admit, I’m watching. I don’t give a rat’s ass about who wins. Mostly, Mr. Fish and I will be playing our usual awards game of ‘Spot the Botox’ed Forehead’ and I will be providing the snarky fashion police commentary.

I tried watching Star Jones and Kathy Whatsherface on the red carpet during the last awards show, but Star Jones makes me want to reach through the television and play ‘whack a big ass head’ and that Kathy chick is the least funny person I can think of. They were enough to make me miss Joan Rivers, and I hate Joan Rivers.

It occurs to me that it sounds like I hate everyone. Well...maybe today I do. Not everyone. Just people who are pissing me off. Which is a lot of people today.

What I’d really like to see for a red carpet commentary team is me, Sylvia Browne [you know, the psychic chick], and Carrot Top. While I admit that I have a slight crush on Carrot Top [dude, shut up! I have a thing for red heads and have you seen him without a shirt on? Damn!], I think he could provide commentary that’s at least as ludicrous as Kathy Whatsherhead and who wouldn’t love to hear Sylvia Browne shout out in her whiskey voice, “Nicole Kidman! Oh honey, your spirit guide tells me that you’re not going to win tonight, but I’m predicting that you and Tom will get back together in 2008. Oh, look out for large bodies of water.” Come on, comedy gold!

What will my role in all this be? I’ll be wearing a silver spangled dress and carrying a triangle. So anytime Sylvia or old Carrot Top let loose with a zing-ah, I’ll push to the front of the camera and ding the triangle to signify that something silly has been said. It’ll be a lot like the Gong Show. I think it would be a hit.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


Ten pounds of crap cat in a two-pound box.

It’s a favorite kitty pastime: “How small a space can I cram my Fat Kitty Ass into?” Here, Matata demonstrates that she can (sorta) fit into an Airheads box. Airheads? Why, that box fits in both the physical and metaphorical senses!

Sister, sister.

Here, the “goils” are acting downright sisterly. What better place to rest your head than your sister kitty’s warm, fuzzy flank?

Hmmm. Time for me to go rest my head against the warm, non-fuzzy flank of She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Friday, February 25, 2005


What’s this on the bottom of my shoe?

Why, it’s another blogmeme!

But since I’m a sucker for things literary, let’s just try this one, shall we? Here’s all you do:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence on your blog along with these instructions.

Use the book that’s closest to hand - don’t waste time searching around for the “coolest” book you can find. Use what’s actually next to you, even if it’s a textbook, one of your “guilty pleasure” romance novels, or...whatever.

Now, here’s mine:

From James L. Riggs, Engineering Economics (McGraw-Hill, ©1977):

“The promotion would cost $100,000.”

Thanx and a tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to Goose at Comments from Left Field.


Don’t forget to check out the Friday always, hosted by that most esteemed Modulator. If it crawls, walks, runs - hell, even if it just lays there waiting to get its belly rubbed, you’ll find it there.

’Scuse me while I go attend to my pet Slime Mold, Zsa-Zsa. She/he/it wants its belly rubbed.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


The Mistress. [Photo by Christian.]

when his little girl comes home.

Well, she’s not all that little any more, but to her Dad, the Mistress of Sarcasm will always be his little girl.

She’s here for a weekend visit, exhibiting one of her pieces in the Atlanta Jewelry Show. Some of her friends’ work also made it in; many others did not. But when she got the news that her Hitchcock-themed pendant had been selected, she was overjoyed. Sweet validation!

The Birds is coming...

Impressive work, no?


The Mistress and Mi Anam.

Yes, once upon a time, the Mistress had a horse. Mi Anam was her heart’s delight, an Arabian that she trained herself from yearling days, and showed in Hunter Pleasure classes, even unto the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

We miss Anam, but I’m here to tell ya, cats are a lot less expensive. Also, they shit in a box.

OK, horses shit in a box, too, but it doesn’t count if it’s big enough to walk around in, or if you have to use a shovel to muck it out.


Lair Simon, the twisted genius responsible for The IFOC Dead Pool, somehow manages to hold down a day job while posting reams of content, both on the Dead Pool site and on his main blog, This Blog Is Full Of Crap. Not to mention his catcams, and Carnival of the Cats, et cetera. I get carpal tunnel syndrome just from thinkin’ about it, I tell ya.

The Dead Pool is perhaps a tad morbid for those of my Esteemed Readers with delicate sensibilities, but, hey, even She Who Must Be Obeyed - who is famously unwilling to deal with Mortality-Related Matters - asks me, when someone famous keels over, whether anyone had that person on their Dead Pool Roster.

What with the recent demise of Hunter S. Thompson, Sandra Dee, John Raitt, among other notables - none of whom were on my Dead Pool Roster, by the way - I have been visiting that site regularly to drop the occasional tidbit. And this little Slice o’ Bloggerel. Enjoy.

* * *

O, don’t ask for whom the bell tolls,
Perhaps it tolls for thee.
And if you’re on my Dead Pool roll,
Oh, Boy! More points for me!

We have a finite time to spend
Upon this happy Earth.
And when that time comes to its end,
What score will you be worth?

Start with One Hundred Twenty Five,
And then subtract your years:
That is, your age when Not Alive.
(The age each of us fears.)

Take you the difference, then, to get
Your IFOC Dead Pool Score.
A solo shot? Good show, you bet!
Just add - yes! - thirty more.

So as the Reaper swings his scythe,
Collecting all them dead souls,
Sit back and watch your totals rise!
Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls!


Returned home yesterday evening after a productive (albeit brief) visit to Chicargo. I’m not sure how the travel office pulled this one off, but I ended up flying the entire round trip in First Class. Whoop-de-do.

American Airlines, like most others these days, is struggling, so First ain’t what it used to be. The seat was nice, big, and comfortable, with a built-in headrest that did a nice job of cradling the Noggin d’Elisson. Even better, the seat actually reclined, despite the fact that I was in the last row. This allowed me to lay back without the guilt I normally feel when I crush the kneecaps of the poor son of a bitch sitting behind me.

There was no meal. Continental will still serve a perfunctory meal in First, but American apparently does not, at least on such a relatively short flight. But they do give you a nice little dish of warm mixed nuts. Good ones, too: cashews, filberts, pistachios, and a smattering of pecans. None of them low-rent peanuts.

Much nicer than the ubiquitous “Scrotum Snack” most airlines hand you: a sack of nuts. Or even worse, that nasty packet of Snacky Substances (“with the Pong o’ Almost Real Cheese!”) No, this was good.

It’s ridiculous to gripe about the lack of meals on most airplane flights. One could make the case that the extinction of Airline Food is a Good Thing. For the most part, it sucks, no matter whether you’re in Coach, First, or the Johnny-come-lately Business Class. Even in the ancient days when Eastern Airlines (remember them?) would serve a filet mignon on toast, they would cook that bad boy until it was grey and lifeless. Feh. So if you want to eat on the plane, pack yer own damn meal.

It would be whiny to complain that the coffee was served in a plastic cup instead of heavy china. The comfy seat more than made up for that.

My seatmate was evidently a lawyer, and he pretty much kept to himself while he knocked out a lengthy document that contained the word “Whereas” about 157 times. Meanwhile, the mid-twentyish guy sitting in front of me was having an animated conversation with the woman sitting next to him, something about music. He and his brothers (they were in my row, across the aisle) apparently were in a band that had just released a new CD after a gap of several years. Unlike their earlier stuff, the new release was independently produced - it was charting well in the U.K. and was due to come out soon in the States.

When the plane landed and we started to get off, I asked the young man why the group had gone indie. Seems that their label had moved into hip-hop big time, and no longer fit with their needs. Besides, going independent made more sense today, given the seismic shifts in how music is distributed - downloads, etc.

What brought Isaac (for that was his name) and his two brothers to Atlanta, I asked. Performing? No, just taking a break for a few days.

Isaac is 24 now, and his brothers Taylor and Zac are 21 and 19. They don’t look at all like they did ten years ago when they released their first album. Hell, they were little kids then.

Their music? Not my cup of tea, but then again, I’m 52 years old. I’ve been playing Skankin’ Pickle lately, being in a ska-punk mood all week.

But I wish ’em well. MmmBop, dudes.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


This week’s Carnival is up at PunditGuy. Many good sure to pay a visit.


Yeah, I know there’s a blog out there with that name (or something like it), but I don’t give a rat’s ass. I’m appropriating it for the title of this post, mainly because that’s where I am as I write this.

Flight got in late - O’Hare, surprise! - but I was able to enjoy a late dinner with Jimmy P., our resident Sales Guy. Jambalaya, loaded up with plenty of Tabasco to give it that extra kick, washed down with lashings of Warsteiner and Himbeergeist. Ya gotta watch out for that Himbeergeist...raspberry firewater, served icy, syrupy cold. Yowzah.

And then a half hour soak in Jimmy’s hot tub, with the full moon above, fifteen degrees air temp, but who cared?

Now back in the hotel, running through my e-mails and posting this. I oughta be in bed...

The noteworthy part of the trip, though, was that when I showed up at the airport gate in Atlanta, who should be standing there but Dan P., my cousin Stephanie’s happy spouse! After the obligatory double take, I went over to say hello. It’s been four years since I last saw Dan, and we had a good time catching each other up on family stuff. Family reunions are difficult and all too rare, with everyone scattered to the four winds - Stef and Dan in Naperville, Illinois and us in Atlanta - so this was a special treat.

Thank Gawd I don’t pick my nose in public. You never know who you might run into, out of the blue.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


She Who Must Be Obeyed tells me that people don’t like to read about crap. And I guess she’s right...although the immense popularity of the Famously Constipated Dooce™ would seem to put the lie to that assertion.

So when I cooked up this particularly vile limerick, I figured it would be better not to post it in the open, where it would horrify my Esteemed Readers. Instead, you’ll have to hunt for looking in the Comments to this post or by clicking on this link.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Monday, February 21, 2005


Another SWMBO salad.

Our friends Steve and Sue - they of the formerly Excessive Luggage Quantities, who have been Saved by the Power of Blogging - sat down to a wonderful lunch Sunday, prepared by the hand of She Who Must Be Obeyed. It was a fine welcome-home treat for me and Steve after spending the weekend in the North Georgia mountains eating Camp Cuisine.

A salad, pictured above, with numerous Tasty Ingredients. Grilled salmon filets, perched atop a bed of pesto-enrobed spaghetti. Exquisite. Yep, don’t let all my self-centered foodblogging give you the wrong idea. I’m an OK cook, but the Missus swings a mean axe in the kitchen.

Hmm. Salad, spaghetti, salmon, Steve, Sue, SWMBO. Do I sense a theme?


Gravel, it ain’t.

It was about 6:30 this evening when the sirens started wailing and the northern sky became an eerie, inky black. Lightning - intense lightning - crackled in the distance, revealing enormous, multilayered storm clouds.

Normally, our cats are curious about that mysterious bottom-most level of the house, the Place Where They Dare Not Go, but their curiosity evaporates when we want them to go there. Perversely, they hid upstairs even as we tried to coax them to the safety of the basement. No point in chasing them. Chances are, they would instinctively find the safest spot in the house by themselves.

But She Who Must Be Obeyed and I went down. It’s a ground-level basement, complete with windows, so as a storm cellar it leaves much to be desired - but it beats being exposed on the second floor. And the windows allowed us to watch as the sheets of rain came down, accompanied by the escalating tick-tick-clack of the hailstones as they rattled out of the clouds.

Pea-size, dime-size, nickel-size, finally quarter-size. That’s plenty big enough for me. I’ve heard stories of softball- and grapefruit-size hail in Texas, and I’ve seen the aftermath: smashed windshields, “pebble finish” cars, airplane wings with huge dings. No, thank you.

Things settled down after a while, and I ran to grab a couple of the larger stones for souvenirs. Quarter-size, easily. The picture above shows the size distribution. Apparently, bigger stones fell just a few miles away, where my office is. Good thing I left when I did, or Mr. Chevy would’ve had a major migraine.

Last month, ice. This month, hail. What’s next?


To the Phishing, Spamming Asshole Who Sent Me The Offishul-Looking e-Mail Purportedly From eBay -

Dear Putz:

If you’re going to the trouble of sending out phishing e-mails that are supposedly being sent out by eBay to warn members that their registration is being suspended, please take the trouble to write your stupid-ass scammerama in proper English.

This simply will not do:
Dear eBay Member,
We regret to inform you that your eBay account has been suspended due to the violation of our site policy below:
False or missing contact information - Falsifying or ommiting your name, address, and/or telephone number (including use of fax machines pager numbers, modems or disconnected numbers).
Due to the suspension of this account, please be adviced you are prohibited from using eBay in any way. This prohibition includes the registering of new account. Please note that any seller fees due to eBay will immediatly become due and payable. eBay will charge any ammounts you have not previosly disputed to the billing method currently on file.

I’ve boldfaced the spelling errors. There is also at least one missing comma. Oh, wait - there’s more! At the bottom of the e-mail, you’ve got:
You are required to verify your eBay account by following link below:

Hmm, seems to be missing a “the” between “following” and “link.”
And the close:
Trust and safety Department
eBay Inc.

Whoopsie! Forgot to cap that “S.”

Honestly, Mr. Asshole. Do you really think you’re going to fool anyone with this amateurish piece of shit? I mean, you got the logotypes right, and you spoofed the headers and all that, and then you go and screw it up with your execrable language skills. Sad...sad.

Now you just go back and take a few more of those English classes. Ninth grade’s a bitch, but stick with it. And, oh yeah - fuck you to death.

Best regards,


I was saddened - nay, depressed - to hear the news that Hunter S. Thompson, the originator of “gonzo” journalism, was found dead Sunday night, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

HST was a true original. His drug- and borderline psychosis-fueled writing, especially his works from the 1970’s, were startlingly funny and incisive, different from just about anything else you would ever see on the printed page. His landmark novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was an inspiration to me and my friend Steve when we made our post-graduation cross-country trek thirty years ago, although there was no way a human being with normal body chemistry could even attempt to replicate most of the stunts Thompson chronicled in that book. His report on the 1972 election, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, was a new generation’s Making of the President, capturing perfectly the spirit of that desperate and twisted Presidential race. And when She Who Must Be Obeyed and I went to the big island of Hawai’i for the first time, my appreciation for the place was magnified by having seen it though the lens of HST’s mania in The Curse of Lono.

There are people who still refer to me as “Dr. Gonzo” on the basis of my affection for the good Doctor’s works (and possibly my similarly bizarre personality), and I consider myself honored.

How tragic that Thompson died by his own hand...but then again, he always did have a fondness for Very Large Guns. I - along with other HST devotees like Nino the Mindboggler - will mourn.

Requiescat in pace, Dr. Gonzo. Vaya con queso.


Not surprisingly, the Blogging World is turning out en masse to grieve at the passing of the Good Doctor. Be sure to read the fine obits by Roxanne, Pete, and Ricky - and let’s not forget the photographic tribute by Mark.


and other critters are available for your perusal at the latest Friday Ark (hosted, as always, by that most modular Modulator). If your preference is for matters feline, drop by the 48th Carnival of the Cats, hosted this week by The Flying Space Monkey Chronicles.

Ya gotta love a blog that calls itself The Flying Space Monkey Chronicles. I am actually old enough to remember a time when there really were Flying Space Monkeys, and it’s good to know that there are those of us in the Bloggy-Sphere that wish to keep that memory alive.

Friday, February 18, 2005


I’m off to a religious retreat this weekend, so there will be Zero Blogging for a couple of days. I have - in a burst of impetuousness - handed the keys to She Who Must Be Obeyed, so let’s see if she does anything with ’em, shall we?


This morning at Ye Local Bagel Emporium - that fine establishment to which the Minyan Boyz repair after the daily morning worship - something made me think about how we used to earn pin money as kids. I thought back upon some of my early jobs...and before.

There was one summer I earned my bread in what was perhaps the lowest-paying work I ever did: I drove an ice-cream truck. Yep, ol’ Elisson was the Good Humor Man. That job is worth a post or two by itself. But that was a real, grown-up type job, requiring a driver’s license and all. Let’s go back even farther, shall we? Back to pre-teen days, when a driver’s license wasn’t even a gleam in my eye.

Probably the first real earned money I made was shagging golf balls. We lived a block or so away from a nine-hole neighborhood golf course. It had been built when the neighborhood was first developed, back in the beginning of the 1950’s, and was a real drawing card for potential residents. It wasn’t a fancy-pants club like the ones you see today in golfy neighborhoods - no Country Club of the South - but it served, especially if you didn’t want to schlep the five miles to Bethpage State Park (yes, that Bethpage) and queue up for a ticket.

Our little golf course had a treacherous ninth hole, a par-five that ran parallel to the edge of the course. Any ball that had the slightest amount of fade on it would sail over the chain-link fence that marked the boundary, and would land somewhere on Cedar Drive, either in the street, on the median, or in one of the yards of the homes on the opposite side of the street.

Where a small army of kids was waiting for it.

We would snag those balls, and, being too young to play ourselves, we did the enterprising thing: we sold ’em back to the golfers who had just smacked ’em over the fence.

Let me tell you, we developed an eye for quality. The prize ball in those days was the Titleist, and it was especially nice to get a new one - one without any nicks, dents, or “smiles” on it. The balls in those days had wound cores with balata covers - the two-piece Spalding Executive had not been invented yet - and so they were very vulnerable to damage by the mostly inexpert players. A new Titleist was worth a dollar, maybe even $1.25 - and those were 1962 dollars which packed a much bigger wallop than our skeevy 2005-vintage bucks. You could make a handsome handful of dollars working Cedar Drive.

I wonder if the kids in the old neighborhood still shag golf balls. The course is still there, and the golfers aren’t any better than they were 40-plus years ago. Do kids hustle to earn those few bucks anymore?


Dutch Toilet. Photo by SWMBO, 1987.

This photograph graces the wall of our downstairs half-bath. She Who Must Be Obeyed took the picture in Amsterdam eighteen years ago. Having no vase, she improvised...and the resulting image was irresistible.


Today is Friday, and for once I am observing Bloggity Convention by posting my catpix on time. For Friday is Catblogging Day!

First up, we have Hakuna and Matata nestled amongst the folds of the bedclothes and the splayed limbs o’ SWMBO. Hakuna lurks discreetly in the background adjacent to She Who Must Be Obeyed: typically, she will avoid walking on the Great Bifurcated Gods but will cuddle up next to us on occasion. Matata, however, comports herself like a great, fuzzy Ho-Bag, and will lay anywhere, nuzzle anything. (Not that, ya filthy-minded bastids!)

Hakuna and Matata nestled amidst the Limbs o’ SWMBO.

In this next photo, Matata has climbed into this bag completely without human assistance. Her eyes have a devilish glow...but notice the halo reflected on the chest of drawers behind her.

Matata - in the bag again.

Finally, here's ’Ta in her favorite comfy chair. Yogis may have their “Lotus,” but Matata has the “Meatloaf” down pat. Ommmmmmmmm...

Matata in her "Meatloaf" pose.

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Behold the Power of Cheese? Bullshit. Cheese ain’t powerful...unless you’re talking about the stinky Camembert that was so vile, so pungent, that She Who Must Be Obeyed yanked it out of the fridge and threw it right into the back yard.

No: Behold the Power of Blogging.

Because Blogging is much, much more powerful than cheese.

Blogging got Dan Rather shoved out the door, credibility besmirched. Cheese did not.

And blogging got our friends Steve and Sue - they of the Famously Excessive Luggage - to change their behavior.

Yes, you heard right. Steve and Sue arrived this evening for a weekend visit with only four bags. Two huge wheeled duffels, yes - and two backpacks. But that was all of it.

Steve and Sue, sans luggage.

What occasioned this drastic change in behavior? For drastic it was. Last trip, Steve and Sue packed the equivalent of a fuckin’ U-Haul. For a weekend. What was different?

Why, they read my blog, in which I had Ripped Them a New One. And they felt mickle ashamed.

And so, today: Reasonable Quantities of Luggage. Halleluyah!


When Elisson runs a contest, he does not screw around.

The two people who snagged the screenshot of my 10,000th hit have each received rich, dazzling prizes, the sort that make me think of that whiny-assed Robin Leach (Champagne dreams and caviar schemes, or some such drivel).

One of our winners has received an iTunes gift certificate that will enable him to stuff his iPod with yet more thrashmetal, gangsta rap, and/or Yanni tracks. The other - Missus Barbecue General! - has scored a Triple-Threat Cheesecake, baked by the very hand o’ Elisson his ownself from the recipe of the Desserty Queen Bee-yotch her ownself, Maida Heatter.

Ahh, the Triple-Threat. The Cheesecake Factory would be proud to serve this bad boy. It's a dense vanilla cheesecake, sitting atop a graham cracker crumb crust (enhanced with a little cocoa powder, cinnamon, and powdered coffee).

“But what is this ‘Triple-Threat’?” you ask. And well you should, because a dense vanilla cheesecake, while good in its own way, would not carry such a Vaguely Dangerous Moniker without something in it to kick it up a notch.

Chocolate chips? Boo. Cookie dough? Feh. What makes this cheesecake interesting is that it is riddled with dense clots of asphalt-like congealed Hot Fudge. You betcha.

So, Janet...enjoy your cake. I only make cheesecakes for special occasions or special people (lest my ass become Prematurely Enhuged), but you qualify on both counts. Just be sure to give Wylie a taste...maybe when you open that restaurant, there’ll be a place on the menu for Maida’s (and Elisson’s) finest.


Some of my Faithful Readers may wonder about some of the links on my sidebar, specifically about the ones in the Miscellaneous Useless Crap section. So here’s the skinny.

When I was setting this blog up, I wanted to have a separate section for links to sites that weren’t blogs per se, but that might be of interest to a few readers. They’re certainly of interest to me, and I probably use a few of these links way more regularly than I do my browser’s ugly and unwieldy List o’ Bookmarks.

The first item on the list, Steve’s Monumental Exercise, is my old “traditional” website. I don’t monkey with it much these days (I really need to update the pictures!) but since it doesn’t have a whole lot of dynamic content, that doesn’t matter. Go there if you want to know way more about me than you really want to.

The second link takes you to the official website of Alamaailman Vasarat, a really strange (but excellent) Finnish band. Years ago, I somehow managed to stumble upon them in the course of a Google search - I forget what for - and once I heard their “Kosher-Kebab-Jazz” music (I’m not making this up), I was hooked. They have two albums out, and they’re both...different from pretty much anything you’ve ever listened to. The band’s name, incidentally, means something like “Hammers of the Underworld.”

Link Three is to the site of a random bunch of British golfers who (apparently) get together to play golf and drink. I liked their sense of humor.

Next up we have Chef Andy’s Jell-O Pages. Chef Andy seems to have an obsession with gelatinous desserts, and the ones he shows on this nutty little website range from the (sub) lime to the ridiculous. I recommend the Tang Pie - not a Jell-O recipe per se, but informed by the same twisted sensibility. It sounds horrendous, and it is, but at the same time it’s perversely tasty.

We’ll skip down a few lines to Hatrack River, the official website of Orson Scott Card, a SF author whose work I particularly enjoy. For the Web, Card writes some political material - typically farther right that I stand, but generally well thought out and always well-written - and random film, book, and restaurant critiques. Read his novels and short stories, though, if you want a taste of intelligent and thought-provoking science fiction.

Skip down a couple more lines to TexasArtChick, a truly demented painter whose artwork does not suggest “chick” in the least. (That’s called irony, folks.) I particularly love the one of the grinning clown slashing the teddy bear with a butcher knife. I actually have a tenuous six-degrees-of separation connection here by way of Sister-in-Law d’Elisson, at whose wedding the ArtChick was a guest.

McSweeney’s needs no introduction (I hope) - I am an occasional contributor.

The penultimate line is What’s Inside Jeremy’s Wallet a website of notable historical interest. It’s easily the oldest site on my List o’ Links, having been up since 1995 - ten years! It’s on the list not because it’s old, but because there’s something strange and compelling about a person who based an entire website around the contents of his wallet. Really. This goes back, I suspect, to a time when people were still trying to figure out what the Web was good for. Posting Random Stupid Shit™ was one early and all-too-obvious answer...and now, with blogging, we can all post our wallet contents...or whatever other Stupid Shit we care to lob out there.

Finishing off the list is Zippy the Pinhead. Ya gotta love a comic strip whose main character wears a polka-dotted shift, eats Ding-Dongs and taco sauce, and who speaks in elliptical (but strangely meaningful) epigrams. Are we having fun yet?

So that’s my Heap of Miscellaneous Useless Crap. Surf...and enjoy!


My ego, that is, ya filthy-minded poivoit.

Not that it will do this blog any good, but I was pleasantly surprised to see my actual honest-to-Gawd street name on World O’Crap a few days ago. Woo-Hoo!

WOC, for those of you new to the Bloggy-Sphere, is one o’ them “Big Dawg” bloggers, a left-of-center political/humor blog, with a collection of the most brilliant commenters I have ever seen. I have absolutely no idea what its author, S.Z., does by way of a day job, but I cannot imagine she has one, given the reams of quality stuff she pumps out on a daily basis.

Reading WOC convinced me that I would never be a serious big-time blogger - at least, not in the political arena. I simply can’t compete. No, I will needs be content to plumb the murkier depths of the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem with my peculiar mix of foodblogging, dadblogging, kitty photos, occasional Social/Political Diatribe and Commentary, and whatever other crap pops into my head.

But ain’t it nice when one of them Big Dawgs throws you a chunk of gristle off of that nice meaty bone?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


or whatever other fat-raddled crap you were about to eat. (You know you were.)

Drop whatever it is you’re doing right now and get your Bloggy Ass over to Wampum and vote for Anntichrist S. Coulter, a 2004 Koufax Awards finalist for Best Commenter.

You can catch Annti’s wit ’n’ wisdom in the various comment threads at World O’Crap and Sadly, No! Alas, she has no blog of her own, preferring (apparently) to let others serve up th Bloggity Content so that she may jab it repeatedly with her acidulated and extremely pointy pen.

Annti doesn’t know I exist, but I don’t give a shit. All I know is, she’s from Louisiana, which makes her left-of-center political bent and lack of webbed fingers and toes all the more amazing...and if she were to drop a comment on Blog d’Elisson, I’d probably soil myself with excitement. Now go vote, dammit!


If you’re searching, searching for your weekly Dose o’ Bloggy Goodness™, search no more - you may find it at Soccer Dad, who hosts the 126th edition of the Carnival of the Vanities.

As always, plenty of good reading. The Carnivals are a great opportunity for you to sample the work of many good bloggers that may have escaped your attention. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


On the road again...this time in Columbus, Ohio. I’m recuperating from a serious Customer Dinner at M, one of this town’s finer eateries.

A fine spinach salad, followed by Steak in a eight ounce plug of prime beef tenderloin, expertly grilled, served on a bed of veal jus and bleu cheese-stuffed fingerling potatoes, crowned with a chunk of foie gras. Dessert: Earl Grey Ice Cream. Boy Howdy.

We lucked out with the weather. I left a fogbound Atlanta and arrived to find a sunny day with temp in the mid-fifties. Lovely...and unusual for this time of year.

I’m blowing through my e-mails and getting ready to turn in. I must arise at what the Mistress of Sarcasm calls “the Butt-Crack of Dawn” in order to get to the airport in time for my 7 am flight. Wonderful.

Road food. It ain’t all Quarter Pounders with Cheese. Not for this boy.

Monday, February 14, 2005


Valentine, circa 1938, from collection of SWMBO’s late Dad.

By rights, I should look at St. Valentine’s Day with a jaundiced eye. Both it and Hallowe’en started out as pagan celebrations, later converted to Christian holidays by that fine process of assimilation and redefinition. As a Jew, I have no legitimate truck with either day.

But in America, the Great Leveling Ground, the religious aspects of both of these days have been ground off and worn smooth. They have become completely secular observances, steeped no longer in religion per se, but saturated in that greatest of American popular religions - the cult of merchandising. On Hallowe’en, it may be costumes, masks, and haunted houses, while on V-day it’s greeting cards, flowers, hotel rooms, and expensive dinners.

And chocolate. Let’s not forget the chocolate. Both Hallowe’en and St. Valentine’s Day are beloved of the chocolate industry, because on those two days doth their Annual Profit rise and fall.

And so, I have absolutely no qualms about Valentine’s Day observances. The “Saint” in St. Valentine’s Day almost seems archaic, so removed is the day from its former religious roots. No, it’s as good a day as any to remind our Significant Others that we love them...should the way we live our day-to-day lives not be sufficient to the task.

I have noticed, of late, a phenomenon I like to call “Valentine Bloat.” No, it’s not what you get when you eat that entire Whitman Sampler, or glom too much Godiva. It’s the growing tendency of people to send Valentine’s Day cards, gifts, et cetera, and what-not to all sorts of friends and relatives, not just “lovers.”

I’ll give you a fer-instance. She Who Must Be Obeyed got a couple of Valentine’s Day cards for us to send to Elder Daughter and the Mistress of Sarcasm. Now, I love my girls unto death, but to me it seems a little strange for a parent to be sending a Valentine to a child. To me, Valentine’s Day is all about romantic love, not parental or filial love or even friendship. Am I wrong, or is the Collective Valentine Products Industry succeeding at selling us on the notion that all loving relationships - of whatever stripe - should get a tip o’ the Valentinian Toque on V-Day? Am I just being a grump, or am I right to restrict my valentining to She Who Must Be Obeyed - because it is She With Whom I Share The Marital Bed?

To whom do you send your Valentine’s Day greetings and candy?

* * *

Now, about my Valentine.

She has stayed with me through thick and thin, through our peregrinations that have involved four states, five towns, and seven houses, through more than half a lifetime. She has given me two children, young women now, than whom there are no finer walking the planet in my completely disinterested, unbiased eyes. She is a model of common sense and good old-fashioned horse sense. She is the apple of my eye, the spring in my step, the lead in my pencil (oh, yeah). She comforts me when I feel afflicted, nurses me when I am ill, laughs at my lame-ass jokes and general Silly Shit. She smiles, and the room lights up. When I am with her, I am twenty-five again. She is my best friend, the one I can always count on.

She is my SWMBO, and I love her.


...that I didn’t make this list. Why not, I have no idea. Damn, another social cut!

Thanks to Lair Simon for the link.


Once again, it’s time for the regular roundup of fuzzy felines. This week, The Conservative Cat does the honors.

Having (somehow) missed the bus last week, Hakuna and/or Matata are featured in three - count ’em! - three kittilicious posts. It’s practically fur-gasmic!

Sunday, February 13, 2005


Blogging for Books

[Following is my entry in the Blogging for Books contest #8, hosted by The Zero Boss. This month, entrants must write a blog entry about a time when they took a risk in their lives. Was it a resounding success or a crashing failure...or something in between?]

You sit in the optometrist’s chair for your annual eye exam, head clamped to that Optical Monster Machine. You look at the chart projected on the wall, trying to decipher those tiny letters while the good doctor flips and rotates lenses...

“This way...or that way?

“A...or B?

“First one...or second one?

“One...or two?”

And on, and on.

But no matter how many lenses you look through, no matter how clear those tiny letters appear, you can’t see the future. And that’s what I need right now. I need the glasses that will let me see the future.

The phone sits in front of me, dark green handset on a warm cherry table. On the other end of that phone is a man with a job for me, a job that may be the first step in a lucrative new career.

I’ve been toiling away in the Great Corporate Salt Mine for, what is it, fourteen years now? I have had several assignments, starting in technology, moving through international operations management, most recently in field sales. Sales – who would have imagined? I, whose previous experience in selling had been peddling ice cream to neighborhood kids as one sweltering summer’s Good Humor man, am now selling 165 million pounds of plastic resin a year to industrial customers. Trainloads!

Those several assignments have come with a price. We’re now on our fourth house, and the prospect of moving back to Houston – Sweat City – fills us with dread. But that’s the inevitable, inexorable next step. A job in marketing, then some sort of management assignment, then…who knows? But all with a certain grim predictability...if I hold fast to the tree.

I look at the phone. How many days has it been since I spoke to the man? How long has it been since we sat in that restaurant and talked about business plans, of salary, of bonuses, of health plans? Just how much do I want this new job as an international chemicals trader? Trading is risky. You make ten deals, maybe seven of them are good ones - if you’re good. Disaster always lurks behind every twitch in the global market, every news bulletin. You buy a boatload of plastic pellets. If prices drop, you hemorrhage green money – for every thousand metric tons, a penny lower means you’re out $22 thousand. A dime, $220 thousand. You don’t get many chances to screw the pooch before you get the Bum’s Rush, but you can really stick it to the investors if you do. Those are the risks the shareholders take.

But what risk am I taking? I’ve got my track well mapped out at the Great Corporate Salt Mine. I have a good idea of where I’ll be ten, fifteen years from now. I have a good idea of how much I’ll be making.

And I’m bored.

Hugging the tree, ah, it has its comforts and rewards. It’s security, that tree. I feel safe under its branches, its sheltering leaves. The cold wind does not touch me and I do not hear the wolf’s howl.

But I’m thirty-five years old, almost thirty-six – and I am bored.

And maybe just a little scared.

Because I don’t have those glasses that will let me see the future.

“This way...or that way?” – Do we stay here or do we buy yet another house? How are the kids going to deal with yet another move?

“A...or B?” – Will this new company survive?

“First one...or second one?” – Will I succeed?

“One...or two?” – Will the investors hang tough, or bail if a few deals go south?

I can’t see without those glasses. But I know that I’m not yet forty, and if I don’t let go the tree today, I never will. I’m young enough to grab another tree if I have to, but in five or ten years, it’ll be hell to hook my fingers to strange bark.

The phone sits in front of me, dark green handset on a warm cherry table. I pick up the handset and punch the number. The number of the man.


Maybe not this soup, though.

On the other hand, it looks like just the thing on a cold, desperate night.

Recipe bloggers, look out. Emeril, step aside. This guy may just be the Next Great Thing.

A tip o’ the hat to the Big Hominid for th’ link.


Those of you who notice such trivia will observe that the ol’ Blogroll looks a little different today.

I finally got off my lazy ass and put my Bloglines roll up on the sidebar. At the same time, I chopped down my old Blogrolling roll to eliminate the duplicates. The only blogs remaining on Blogrolling are the ones without RSS or XML feeds.

I’ve also started categorizing the Roll. Right now you have “Blogroll Buddies” - those Esteemed Readers who have added me to their blogrolls - and then comes the regular Blogroll d’Elisson. [If you have me on your blogroll and I’ve somehow missed it, let me is (cue Martha Stewart voice) a good thing!]

I don’t play favorites (well, not too much) - if your blog is on either of the Blogrolls d’Elisson, then I am reading your new content every couple of days via my Bloglines subscriptions. I will probably be tweaking the categories over the next few days just to keep things nice and confusing.

Anyway, just thought you might like to know. If you don’t give a rat’s ass, that’s OK, too.

Saturday, February 12, 2005


...make lemon curd.

And what do you do when you have a bowl full of delectable Meyer Lemon Curd sitting in your refrigerator? [Recipe courtesy of the most redoubtable Bakerina, her ownself.]

Well, Option One is to just get yourself a tablespoon and eat the Whole Fuckin’ Thing. I seriously considered Option One, but, alas, I have a conscience.

So after leaving that beautiful bowl of sunny goodness to sit in the fridge for a few days while I cogitated upon what to do with it (occasionally grabbing off a spoonful), I finally had that Great Light Bulb That Floats Above Your Head, Signifying A Great Idea sensation. Ah, Option Two! I would make Meyer Lemon Curd Tartlets!

Simple process, really. Whip up some sweet crust pastry and bake it in little tartlet pans - or be a Lazy Turd and buy the pre-made ones, which are far superior to pre-made graham cracker crusts in any event. Into each tartlet crust, emplace a handsome dollop of Meyer lemon curd, and then garnish with fresh raspberries. Raspberries and lemons go well together, but blueberries - hell, blackberries - would have been perfectly serviceable.

Meyer Lemon Curd Tartlets.

Set ’em out...and stand back.

She Who Must Be Obeyed has enjoined me Never To Make This Stuff Again, after having tasted a spoonful of that glorious Curd. But I may, in this rare instance, disobey...


Hakuna sunbathes.

Sometimes, a kitty’s gotta do what a kitty’s gotta do. Namely, lie in the sun as it peeks through the blinds in Elder Daughter’s room.


So I’m getting my hair cut, and it comes time for Tucker to trim my eyebrows. And she says, “Those eyebrows – those eyebrows are sayin’ Einstein.”

I said, “Yeah. I have the eyebrows of Einstein, and right behind ’em is the brain of a Pauly Shore.”


Daddies, if you haven’t figured this out already, hear me now: No matter how old your girl-children get, you will always be Daddy – and they will always be your little girls.

This past week, the Mistress of Sarcasm was going through all kinds of minor trials and tribulations. “Minor” to me, that is, from my vantage point 265 miles away. To the Mistress, 22 years old and in the home stretch of her college career, these issues loomed large and immediate.

When I get phone calls from the Mistress, I always say a silent prayer that they fall into the “just wanted to see how you were doing” category, rather than the less desirable “I need some money” category. Or the even less desirable “ my car broke down category” – really the same as the previous category, only more expensive. There are other phone calls that we parents dread even more – there’s a whole list of ’em – but I will not name them here. Last week, however, I got several calls – and they all turned out to be in yet a tricky new category: “I have a technical problem, can you help me?”

One day, it was “Dad, I’m trying to print an image in Photoshop and I keep getting a border. I don’t want a border. What do I do?” I offered whatever lame-ass suggestions I could, but this was the kind of problem that I’m ill equipped to solve from a distance. Niggling issues: 1 - Dad: 0.

Two days later, it was “I just installed a new ink cartridge in my printer, and it still won’t print. What do I do?” Again, I proffered a few useless, unhelpful ideas, the last one being to take her document over to Kinko’s on a memory stick. The Mistress was frustrated; I felt impotent. But what could I tell her about dealing with those days when nothing seems to go right? Suck it up? This too, shall pass? Niggling issues: 2 – Mr. Helpful: 0.

After a few of these calls, I was feeling put-upon and incompetent…but She Who Must Be Obeyed helped me find my perspective.

“She’s asking you for help on all these things because you are the All-Knowing, All-Wise Daddy. She thinks you know everything because you’re the Dad. To her, you’re the Ultimate Authority. So do the best you can.”

The next call from the Mistress came the following afternoon as I was leaving the Great Corporate Salt Mine. She was calling to say things were getting better, and that she was sorry for bending my ear about all her problems earlier that week.

And I told her, “Sweetie, don’t ever be sorry about asking your Dad for help. You can always tell your ol’ Dad about your problems. Whether I’m able to help you solve ’em or not, I will always listen…because I will always be your Daddy.”

The Mistress: still my little girl.

And for that, Dear Readers, I am thankful - every single day.

Friday, February 11, 2005


just what about our everyday lives in the year 2005 would be the most jaw-droppingly strange to a time traveler from, say, the year 1955.

After getting over the disappointment over the lack of 24-lane superhighways and domed cities everywhere, or there being no Gyrocopter in Every Garage! as pictured in Popular Science - what would be the biggest single observation that would convince our friend that, yes, it is now the year 2005?

Would it be the wide-screen high-definition color TV’s? Jumbo jets? Digital cameras? Computers? Calculators the size of credit cards? Credit cards, for that matter?

No, I think it’d be those Bluetooth-enabled schmitchiks that people hang from their ears, letting them talk hands- and wire-free on their cellphones.

Because our time-traveling friend would take one look at all of the people walking around, seemingly carrying on a conversation with Harvey the Six-Foot Invisible Rabbit, and he would immediately know that he is in a strange World o’ the Future where fallout from H-bomb tests has turned everyone into Lunatic Zombies.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


“What animal is it that has four legs in the morning, two legs in mid-day, and three legs in the evening?

“Give up?

“Give up?

“Give up?

“No, it’s not a metaphor for humanity, ya dumb twit. You humans are such egocentric turds.

“It’’s...a cockroach amputee with a prosthesis...on a bad day! Yeah, dat’s it!”


Just when I was looking for something weighty to blog about, along comes an interesting discussion (via Charone) on an important ethical and philosophical question: Would you first save the dog you love or a (human) stranger if both were drowning?

According to Townhall wingnut Dennis Prager (as quoted by the Zebra Report),
The answer depends on your value system. One of the most obvious and significant differences between secular and Judeo-Christian values concerns human worth.

One of the great ironies of secular humanism is that it devalues the worth of human beings. As ironic as it may sound, the God-based Judeo-Christian value system renders man infinitely more valuable and significant than any humanistic value system. The reason is simple: Only if there is a God who created man is man worth anything beyond the chemicals of which he is composed.

So what Dennis Prager is saying is, if you’re a secular humanist, you would likely save the dog first. And he goes on to rant that “That is why people estranged from Judeo-Christian values (including some Christians) support programs such as ‘Holocaust on Your Plate,’ the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaign that teaches that there is no difference between the slaughtering of chickens and the slaughtering of the Jews in the Holocaust. A human and a chicken are of equal worth.”

Well, I’m not sure I’d take Prager’s approach of blaming all this on Evil Secular Humanism. I think it’s just plain stupidity, but more about that later.

Just to let you know where Yours Truly stands on this issue, I’ll tell you:

If I have to choose between saving an animal I love and an unknown stranger, I will choose the human every time. I mean, I love my cats - really, I do - but a human is worth more than a cat.

I don’t even have to play the religion card. Sure, I can invoke the “we are made in God’s image” mantra - hell, I say it every day as part of my morning prayers: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has created me in His image. But absent any religious justification, humans trump animals every time on the Sentience and Intelligence Scale.

Anyone - secular, religious, whatever - anyone who would save an animal before a human (unless we’re talking Wilbur the Pig versus Scott Peterson) is a fucking moron has a system of values and ethics that differs radically from mine. Really.

Let me say it again. Humans are worth more than animals. Every time.

We are at the top of the food chain - usually. We’re capable of abstract reasoning. We communicate. We invent. Animals can be or do some of these things, but they cannot do them all.

This is not to say that we should go out of our way to inflict suffering upon animals. Cruelty is cruelty. That’s why I admire the Jewish laws of kashrut, even if I practice them mostly in the breach. Animal slaughter that is in accordance with Jewish food laws is as humane and painless as that process can possibly be.

But I will eat beef. And chicken. And fish. And eggs, milk, and cheese. And that brings us to PETA, the perpetrators of the “Holocaust on a Plate” ad campaign, a campaign I find disgusting in the extreme. I really don’t want to sound like I’m agreeing with ol’ Dennis, but he’s right on that one score: equating the slaughter of chickens for food to the deliberate genocide of humans for the purposes of “racial purification” is utter bullshit. I’d like to believe that the PETA people used this inflammatory and misguided comparison because they knew it would generate attention-getting controversy, but I fear that it’s really because these people have a warped sense of values. And, no, Dennis, it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with Secular’s just plain dumbassedness. As a Jew, I find it particularly insulting.

I eat animals. I believe humans evolved as omnivores: we eat anything that’s not nailed down. Just go to China if you don’t believe me. I believe animal protein is a necessary component of a human diet - although we in Western countries tend to eat way too much of it owing to the fact that we have made it cheaply available.

And I loves me my kitties, too. They share a loving home with us - food, veterinary care, a warm place to sleep and upon which to shed Massive Amounts of Hair. We’ve had other Companion Animals in our lives, too. I ain’t hatin’ on animals, people. I’m just saying that, as a human, I outrank them. I am a rotten speciesist, I admit it.

To any PETA member who takes the “Drowning Dog” test: If you elect to save the dog, you are an idiot. What would you do if you had to choose between a drowning chicken and your drowning baby? The question is the same; the details have been tweaked. What would you do?

If you don’t agree with me, kindly let me know, so that if you are drowning next to that one-in-a-million dog that can’t swim, I’ll save him first. As a human, you are entitled to your opinions - opinions which may not be the same as mine.

Ah - opinions! Animals don’t have those.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


A couple of posts ago, I announced that I would be giving a prize to the Good and Faithful Reader that sent me a screenshot of my Sitemeter when it hit 10,000.

Real bloggers write for the sheer pleasure and/or catharsis of it. They don’t give a crap about hits, right? Unlike us egocentric, self-aggrandizing, link-whoring amateurs. But, after all, 10,000 is a nice, round number. Even if it is small potatoes to all y’all serious bloggers.

Well, as of this afternoon, WE HAVE A WINNAH!

Even more fun, it’s someone we know and love - our own Janet McC., AKA Mrs. Barbecue General! Hah!

Of course, now I gotta come up with a really good prize. And seeing as how shipping will not be a problem, options that would have been unworkable with some of my more distant Esteemed Readers can come into play.

So, what’s a good prize? Normally, I’d say something involving meat and/or pie, but that’s so Four Days Ago. And besides, handing out meat to Janet is like schlepping coals to Newcastle.

Hmm. I’ll have to think on this...and enlist the formidable resources of She Who Not Only Must Be Obeyed, But Who Must Work With The Prizewinner In Her Place Of Employment. Hoo-hah.


I’ve stopped off to grab a cup of coffee during my pilgrimage to the Great Corporate Salt Mine, and I’m standing behind my rental car, rearranging the crap in the trunk...and suddenly, the tail end of some lady’s Camry is half an inch from the rear end of my car. She was backing up, trying to turn around in a tight space to get past a delivery van, and came that close to nailing me. Shit!

Nailing me is exactly correct. Never mind the car - one foot to the right, and I would have been pinned between the cars. Bye-bye legs.

“Lady! Do NOT back up any more! Pull straight forward...and get the hell away from me, please! THANK you!”

Man, did I need that cup of coffee...

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Edition 125 of the Carnival of the Vanities is hosted this week at Coyote Blog.

What better time to have a Carnival than in the waning minutes of Fat Tuesday? Celebrate Mardi Gras by reading some of the fine work by my fellow bloggers. And, hey - I have a category all to myself!

Monday, February 07, 2005


The Barbecue General takes no prisoners.

Those of my Esteemed Readers who have been enjoying the stories of our recent Meaty Adventures will be pleased to meet Wylie and Janet, that fine couple whose idea of a “modest appetizer” is a couple of slabs of smoked barbecued ribs.

Wylie, AKA the Barbecue General, takes his meaty business seriously, and if it is not already abundantly clear from my earlier post, let me restate it: his smoked ribs are as good as any I have ever eaten.

While I have not had one of Wylie’s smoked briskets, I suspect that his only serious competition is located in the World to Come, where SWMBO’s father Bill has been smoking briskets with Moshe Rabbenu for the past nineteen years. Bill introduced me to real Texas barbecue 28 years ago, back when I was a newly-arrived Yankee boy who thought to “barbecue” meant to throw a piece of meat on a charcoal grill.

I would give my left nut to see a cookoff between Wylie and Bill today. Alas.

As you can see from the picture, Wylie and Janet are not your average backyard Weber grill people. They compete - and win - at the national level, and they’ve even made a brief appearance on the Food Network.

But I’ll put my Jewish-style braised brisket up against anything Wylie and Janet can throw at me. Sure, it’s like comparing apples and oranges (now, there’s an original turn of phrase!), but who gives a crap?

Because when my brisket goes up against Wylie’s, who wins? We both do.



Want a good, all-purpose insult left-handed compliment?

This one’s a bit musty - it’s from the writings of one Nicholas Poussin, a seventeenth-century Frenchman, here describing a “ridiculous book” by one M. Scarron. But it’s a good one...

“Il fait des merveilles, car il a le cul rond et fait des étrons carrés.”

Which is to say:

“He’s a miracle worker: has a round ass and shits square turds.”



Not that this is any Big Fat Hairy Deal, but I just noticed that my hit counter is approaching 10,000. Anything with a lotta zeroes gots ta be Meaningful, right?

Geez, 10,000 hits in, what, seven months of Hot Blogging Action? For something that started out as a place for me to deposit my Random Written Detritus, I guess that’s not too bad.

So, not to get obsesively self-promotional or anything, whoever ends up sending me a screenshot .jpg of Hit 10,000 will get some sort of prize. I have no idea what, but I promise it won’t be too extremely chickenshit. Hey, if Jay Allen can do it, why the hell not me?

The proverbial Fit will likely Hit The Shan during my impending Bidnis (that’s Texan for “Business,” y’all) Trip to Sweat City. Yes, my sleepy ass will be on the Great Silver Bus at 7:15 tomorrow if you e-mail that .jpg and you don’t hear from me in the next ten minutes, don’t panic, OK? Give it a couple of days before sending me the inevitable Pissy Follow-Up Notes.

Ten. Frickin’. Thousand. P. T. Barnum was right!


Here’s the latest Official Act of Stupidity that is racing down the pike toward us poor Georgians...
Under a bill filed Thursday by freshman Sen. Jim Whitehead (R-Evans), pharmacists who oppose abortion on “moral or religious” grounds and who refuse to dispense emergency contraceptive drugs would be immune from lawsuits or disciplinary action by employers.

In other words, if you have a prescription for Plan B, an emergency contraceptive drug, and your pharmacist has personal issues about dispensing what he or she believes to be an abortifacient (and therefore Evil), under this legislation, your pharmacist can tell you to take a hike, and neither you nor the pharmacist’s employer can say “Boo.”

According to the article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from which the above was snipped, an Eckerd drugstore in Texas last year dared to fire a pharmacist who did exactly that. The pharmacist refused to sell Plan B to a rape victim and was dismissed. But if Jim Whitehead has his way, that won’t be happening in Georgia.

And now my two cents - that’s what you were waiting for, wasn’t it?

Bull. Shit.

I think a pharmacist who refuses to sell a legally-prescribed medication for any reason should be subject to strong and immediate disciplinary action by his or her employer, and, furthermore, should be subject to legal action in the civil courts should the customer suffer damage as a result of such refusal.

You have a problem doing your job? Get another job.

I would stop short of criminalizing the pharmacist’s conduct. Hey, if you don’t want to do what your employer pays you to do, that’s a matter between you and your employer. You’re not a slave. But you have a job to do, and if you don’t like certain aspects of it, you are free to seek employment in another field that will perhaps be less traumatic on your conscience.

It’s all about choices and decisions. If you have sex, you may become pregnant. If you use contraception, you reduce the chances of becoming pregnant. If you become pregnant, you either carry the baby to term, you terminate the pregnancy artificially, or the pregnancy self-terminates. Those are the choices, and circumstances dictate those over which you have a measure of control.

But I tell you what: if I were a rape or incest victim, I would at least want the option to terminate any resulting pregnancy. And if I could prevent such a pregnancy from happening, so much the better. But you, O High And Mighty Drugstore Person, you are going to make that decision for me? I don’t think so.

The religious right wing wants to prevent abortions, but then they take measures that inevitably result in more abortions. Have I mentioned abstinence-based sex education?

Of course, the issue that lurks just in back of this one is the whole “Effect of Abortion Politics on What Medications are Granted Legal Status.” That’s a whole ’nuther bag of wind, friends, but for the sake of argument, let’s not even get into the discussion on why or why not RU486 (which can reasonably be called a pharmaceutical abortifacient) or Plan B (an emergency contraceptive) should be available under a doctor’s prescription. Medicines need to be safe and effective for their intended uses, but the FDA is not above the grasp of politics in today’s increasingly religious right-influenced administration. Which is why RU486 has “pariah status” in this country.

But we’re talking about Plan B, which is - in theory - legally available. Unless Mr. Druggist has other ideas.

Oh, brother. Time for a new license plate slogan, Georgia. Instead of the old standby “The Peach State,” how about “Now Increasingly Moronic!”?


As I was writing last night’s post about our Excessively Meaty Dinner, it occurred to me that Tuesday, February 8 (tomorrow, as I write this) is Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday.

For Christians, Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of Lent, a period of penitence, introspection, and privation (the degree of which depends on your specific religious beliefs and practices. I guess.) Back in the day, it was traditional to eschew certain elements of a rich diet during Lent, things such as meat and butter. Lent was a fairly ascetic time of year. [Now, at least among certain segments of the population, giving up Sony Playstation is about as rough as it gets, am I right?]

And since you would be giving up meat for Lent, the day before Lent started - Fat Tuesday - would be an all-out blowout. Party, party, party. Eat, eat, eat. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow, you diet.

Which is pretty much why it’s called Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. Get your fat in, quick!

In Brazil, the Fat Tuesday festivities are marked by the Carnaval celebrations. Carnival / Carnaval - the word is the same, coming from the Latin carne vale - literally means, “Goodbye, Meat.”

Well, it struck me that our dinner Saturday night was more in the way of “Hello, Meat.” We sure did say “hello” to a lot of meat, we did. Said “goodbye” to it, too, as we wolfed it down.

And tonight, leftovers! The best thing about leftover brisket - when it’s braised, anyway - is that it gets better when it sits for a day or two. So we’ll be saying “Hello, Meat” again tonight.

[Now, all y’all nice Christian people out there, if I’ve got any of my facts wrong concerning Lent, etc., wrong, feel free to drop a comment. I’m writing from the perspective of someone who is on the outside looking in when it comes to all that Lent stuff...kinda like you would be with respect to Counting the Omer. But I’m never too shy to act like Mr. Know-It-All.]

Sunday, February 06, 2005


Salad by SWMBO.

Sometimes, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I amaze even ourselves with how much Sheer Meaty Food Goodness we can pack in over the course of a dinner.

Well, I’ll amend that statement somewhat. SWMBO actually does not make a pig of herself. The Missus has remarkable self-control, yes she does. And no, she is not standing over me, rolling pin in hand, as I write this.

I, on the other hand, enjoy my food all too much. Sheer survival requires that I keep a reasonably good leash on myself most of the time. But, to continue on the “leash” analogy, once in a while, I let the dawgs out. That’s what I did last night.

Bad enough that I cooked up a Lil Pachter-style Braised Beef Brisket. And, having made one Shaker Meyer Lemon Pie last week and being extremely pleased with the result, I couldn’t resist the burning urge to make another one. Because, after all, nothing exceeds like excess.

She Who Must Be Obeyed was in on the act, too. She contributed some multi-hued creamer potatoes, roasted in olive oil with herbs and an astounding number of whole garlic cloves. Even better, she assembled a gorgeous salad (pictured above) with mâche and arugula, artichoke hearts, avocado, and shaved Pecorino Romano.

And that’s where all semblance of moderation ended. Because the friends with whom we shared this fine repast had their own unique ideas as to what constitutes an “appetizer.”

No, not for them the little smoked oysters. Not for them the little bits of Brie and smoked salmon perched on delicate water crackers. No crab dip. None of that frou-frou crap.

When Wylie and Janet come to dinner, their idea of an “appetizer” is a couple of slabs of Wylie’s own smoked ribs. Holy. Freakin’. Crap.

We are not talking amateur ribs here either, folks. Wylie is an honest-to-Gawd room-fulla-trophies-winning competitive barbecue guy. The man is serious...and so are them ribs. The racks he brought over were just two out of 36 racks he had smoked that day. Yow!

So: ribs, braised brisket - a very different version of brisket than the one Wylie usually makes! - plus his patented Killer Smoked ’n’ Baked Beans (with chunks of brisket thrown in), Salade à la Mode de SWMBO, and those fine garlicky potatoes, all washed down with a couple of fine bottles of California Red. And let’s not forget that damned Shakerina Pie, definitely better-looking than the first shot out of the barrel two weeks ago:

Shakerina Pie - Take Bake 2.

It’s purely a miracle that we could get any sleep after that meal. No Brazilian Meathouse could compete. All I will tell you is, I had exceptionally vivid dreams which, by rights, should have featured fields of fragrant lemon trees.


What’s cookin’, Doc?

Matata watches the proceedings in the kitchen with feline fascination.

“Hey, maybe The Great Bifurcated Gods will drop something on the floor, that I may, in my humble kittitude, snarf up! O, Great Bifurcated Gods, pray be clumsy in Thy comings and goings in the kitchen, that Thou mayest inadvertently give unto me a treat!”

I vant to be alone.

Meanwhile, back upstairs, Hakuna prefers to take her solitary rest under the antique chair. “While my sister deals with The Bifurcated Ones, she is not trying to chew my ass. O happy day!”


It’s true. I admit it.

I don’t give a rat’s ass about the Super Bowl.

Patriots? Eagles? Who gives a shit?
I cared not a whit about Janet’s bare tit.
And if Sir Paul McCartney takes it right out
And waves it about, I won’t wail and shout.

Yeah, I’ll TiVo it. That way, I can watch the commercials at my convenience, without any useless football interruption.

But as for the game itself? Bread and circuses, friends. Bread and circuses. And me, I’d rather pay attention to the bread.

Friday, February 04, 2005


Ahh, Friday. I love Friday. Especially the part that starts when I clear out of the Great Corporate Salt Mine.

My first stop on the way home tonight was Harry’s Farmers Market, a subsidiary of Whole Paycheck Foods Market. My main objective was to pick up a pile of Meyer lemons, advance prep for a Shakerina pie that I wanted to make for tomorrow’s dinner. Gotta get them lemon slices macerating early, so a Friday Harry’s run was necessary.

Of course, there’s a shitload of other little items that will inevitably find their way into my cart at Harry’s, especially if I’m shopping on an empty stomach. A jar of bright green Ba-Tampte half-sour pickles. Dried blueberries – really tasty sprinkled on my favorite Colon Blow. A nice chunk of Manchego. Well and good, but do I really need the Lake Champlain hot chocolate mix? In two different flavors, yet?

Yes, I do.

And I can’t forget black peppercorns. Gotta get black peppercorns for that empty grinder.

I load up the car with my swag, then head home. I unpack, and now it’s time to recharge the old pepper mill. I open the plastic clamshell container of peppercorns and start loading the pepper mill, pinch by painstaking pinch. Whereupon She Who Must Be Obeyed throws her two cents in:

“Why don’t you use a spoon, ya dumbass honey?”

Which I proceeded to do. Yep, that sure sped up the process. Duh. What else could I do but roll my eyes at my own slack-jawed genius and say:

“Mr. Smart-Brains, with the engineering degree from Princeton.”


This is not really a blogmeme, but it might as well be one. I snagged it from Sharon, who got it from an e-mail. Anyway, here are my answers. Feel free to come up with your own!

1. What time do you get up? Weekdays, about 6:00. Weekends, maybe as late as 7:00. Miss Matata’s hairy ass ensures that we humans shall not sleep any longer than is necessary.
2. If you could eat lunch with one person, who would it be? If I couldn’t talk about growing up in the ’hood with Jerry Seinfeld, I’d love to take lunch with The Famously Constipated Dooce™, if only to watch her eat plenty of fiber and then be unable to turn it to account.
3. Gold or silver? I like both. But gold is nice and heavy, and doesn’t tarnish.
4. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie. Really. And with no little kid(s) in tow. Come to think of it, words like “film” and “cinema” really are a bit overreaching when it comes to the ’Bobster.
5. What is/are your favorite TV show(s)? I don’t spend a lot of time watching TV, but I love Scrubs, Cold Case, Medium, and The Venture Brothers. Of course, the Simpsons are in a class by themselves, but I rarely catch ’em on the first run.
6. What did you have for breakfast? Baked (i.e., kippered) salmon, wrapped up with raw onion in Romaine lettuce leaves. Mini “everything” bagel, innards scooped out and toasted, lightly buttered. Coffee.
7. Who would you hate to be stuck in a room with? Anyone who takes this “meme” shit too seriously.
8. What inspires you? Reading great books. Listening to great music.
9. What is your middle name? Barry. Now that I’ve told you, I’ll have to kill you.
10. Beach, City, or Country? To live or to vacation? Vacation: Beach. City. Country. Live: City. Beach. Country. Wait - do the ’burbs count as “City” or Country”?
11. Favorite ice cream? In no particular order: My homemade Blackberry Sage Tea Ice Cream. Green Tea. Ben & Jerry’s Wavy Gravy. Coffee. Fuck - pretty much any ice cream, as long as it doesn’t have strawberries or nuts.
12. Butter, plain, or salted popcorn? Gawd forgive me, real butter and salt.
13. What color is your bathroom? Well I know there’s white, blue, green and red. Some stripes are involved. I just wash up and crap there; don’t ask me to be the decorator, too.
14. Favorite color? No such thing. My favorite color for a sports car will be different than my favorite color for a kitchen appliance. But you can pretty much rule out avocado.
15. What kind of car do you drive? Chevy Impala. Not that I love the make/model so much, but it’s a company car, so my cost to operate it is minimal.
16. Favorite sandwich? Pastrami and tongue with chopped liver, on rye. Seriously. I just had one last Sunday, except that Ye Local Bagel Emporium was out of tongue, dammit. She Who Must Be Obeyed is horrified by this sandwich, as two of the three components are Meats That Will Not Pass Her Lips.
17. What characteristic do you despise? The ability to despise characteristics.
18. Favorite flower? If you insist, roses. Although that Rafflesia thing - the three-foot-wide Indonesian blossom that smells like rotting meat - might be interesting.
19. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be? Depends on who’s paying. Bali, Maui, London, Brussels, Jerusalem - who can say no to any of ’em?
20. Favorite brand of clothing? For shoes, Cole-Haan. For gotkis, Hanes. For shirts, Perry Ellis. For jeans, Levi’s. For suits, Jhane Barnes or whatever the hell strikes my fancy, since there’s no point in pretending I can ever afford a Brioni.
21. Where would you like to retire to? Hawai’i would be nice, but impractical and expensive. How ’bout right here in Atlanta?
22. Favorite day of the week? Saturday, of course. Shabbos!
23. What did you do for your last birthday? Went out and ate too much good food with friends. Probably at one of those Brazilian Meat Factories. Meat - it’s what’s for dinner!
24. Where were you born? Brooklyn, New York. Soitenly!
25. Favorite sport to watch? Golf. Yeah, I know, it’s a little like watching paint dry. But I don’t give a rat’s ass about 99.9% of televised sports.
26. What fabric detergent do you use? Unscented Tide. Gets those bloodstains and that pesky gunshot residue out - and with cold water, too!

[Honestly, do you really give a crap about all this?]


It’s Friday, and you know what that means. Time for a little Muskrat Love over at The Modulator, host of the Friday Ark.

Well, actually, there are no muskrats this week. But there is a raccoon. Hell, there’s even a sponge...and Sponge Love, as many of us know, has been in the news lately.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


Estes Park, Colorado, 1974.

This picture was taken a little over 30 years ago, during the Great Post-Graduation Road Trip that my friend Steve and I embarked upon shortly after collecting our college diplomas.

Think of it: a one-month, 10,000 mile trek across the great American continent, spanning almost the entire east-west and north-south dimensions of the Lower 48. The West Coast, all the way from Tijuana to the Puget Sound. San Francisco. Los Angeles. Denver. Yellowstone. The Grand Canyon. Las Vegas. All impossibly remote and exotic to us young East Coast boys.

And all on a budget of about $600 apiece. Man, those were the days. Cheap motels when we wanted to splurge - otherwise, racking out in the car, a thoroughly utilitarian 1970 Ford station wagon. If we had thought to name it, we could have called it “The Babe Repellent.”

But it’s a few years down the road, now. Next time I go to California, my ass will get there on an airplane. And not some Dinky-Ass Jet, either. A Big Ol’ Widebody, thankyewverymuch.

Now, what’s the number for room service?


Yesterday, as I was getting up to leave the table at the Local Bagel Emporium, one of our newer Minyan Boyz paid me what may be the finest compliment I have heard in years.

He said, “Steve, do you ever not have a smile on your face?”

I consider that praise of the highest order.

Let’s face it. None of us is happy all the time, and there’s plenty that goes on in the course of a routine day that will wipe a smile right off your face. But if that smile ain’t there to begin with, you’re at a disadvantage right off the bat. Besides, what would you rather look at on someone else’s pan - a pleasant smile, or a ferkrimpteh punim?

That’s me - Elisson, Grinning Like a Complete Jackanapes Since 1952!™


I found this nifty website that allows you to create maps showing the countries you’ve visited - and even the states within the U.S. that you’ve visited.

Here are mine:

Visited Countries

Create your own Visited Countries map

Visited States

Create your own Visited States map

I’m not the most well-traveled guy, but I have been to most of the states in the U.S. And one of these days, I’ll get around to visiting North Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. Really!

As for the rest of the world, there are many places I’ve been but - as is obvious from the map - many more places I have yet to see. [And plenty I don’t particularly care to see.]

But at least I can say I’ve had a Manhattan in Manhattan, and a Singapore Sling in Singapore.

[Thanks to UnDivine Comedy for the link.]