Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Hoodlumman, the resident File Clerk at File it Under, serves up the 167th Carnival of the possibly the most unusual style I’ve seen.

Stop by and visit to get your weekly dose of Bloggity Goodness.

[Update: The unusual style is because the page is rendering most of the text in the same color as the it’s invisible. Only thing I can read is the link text. Is it just me?]

[Update Two: Whatever the problem was, it’s gone now. The site displays perfectly...and the style is a bit less “unusual” (which is a polite way of saying “FUBAR.”)]

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


City of tiny lights
Don’t you wanna go
Hear the tiny auto horns
When they tiny blow
Tiny lightnin’
In the storm
Tiny blankets
Keep you warm
Tiny pillows
Tiny tiny tiny tiny sheets
Talkin’ bout them tiny cookies
That the peoples eat...

- from “City of Tiny Lights” (Frank Zappa)

The Mistress’s Hutch

The Mistress of Sarcasm decided she needed some furniture. You know...something in which she could store a few little tchotchkes.

Little, indeed.

The Mistress’s Hutch

She needs to start looking for a bigger place.


Now that Thanksgiving is (mercifully) past us, it’s time to think about food yet again. Namely, what can we do to avoid it?

This little questionnaire won’t help. I’ve shown my preferences in boldface, with commentary as appropriate.
  1. CHEESE or CHOCOLATE? Impossible. They’re both favorites...but cheese, absent other nourishment, would keep me alive longer.
  2. BLUEBERRIES or STRAWBERRIES? No contest, for me.
  3. COFFEE or TEA? Coffee gets the nod, but I like ’em both.
  4. CORN MUFFIN or ENGLISH MUFFIN? With the exception of the corn muffins at Greenwood’s...and Dugan’s Corn Toastettes of blessed memory.
  5. PANCAKES or FRENCH TOAST? If I gotta choose.
  6. YOGURT or CREAM CHEESE? If I’m eating it by itself.
  7. RICE or PASTA?
  8. CAKE or PIE?
  9. GROUND BEEF or GROUND TURKEY? Yeah, I know the turkey’s better for me.
  10. HOT DOGS or HAMBURGERS? Nothing beats a hefty Kosher dinner frank. But then again...
  13. DIET SODA or NO SODA? I’ll drink diet soda, but these days, my intake of Carbonated Beverages is on the wane.
  14. LEMONADE or ICED TEA? Why not both at the same time, Mr. Palmer?
  15. CHERRIES or GRAPES? Ya hadda ask?
  16. CHOCOLATE QUIK or STRAWBERRY QUIK? You gotta be fucking kidding.
  17. WAFFLES or PANCAKES? Aw, c’mon, I gotta pick just one?
  19. PEAS or CARROTS? I like ’em both.
  20. PUDDING or FRUIT-FLAVORED GELATIN? Give me a break, will ya?
  21. COLD CEREAL or HOT CEREAL? Again, I like ’em both.
  22. KETCHUP or MUSTARD? Mustard is a bit more versatile. Whoever heard of ketchup-crusted salmon?
  23. MUSTARD or MAYONNAISE? Except on cold chicken or turkey.
  24. MAYONNAISE or KETCHUP? Except on cold chicken or turkey.
  25. BLACK OLIVES or GREEN OLIVES? If you’re talking about those nasty California black olives. But Greek olives? Oil cured olives? Another story.
  26. ONION or GARLIC? Not really a fair question, is it? Both are Essential Foods.
  27. PLAIN BARBECUE or BARBECUE WITH SAUCE? Assuming you mean beef brisket or sausage. Ribs, I prefer without the goop.
  30. MEAT or VEGETABLES? No frickin’ contest. A Vegan I’m not.
  32. SUSHI or DELI SANDWICH? Love ’em both. Sushi gets the nod for health reasons...although I’ll never turn down a pastrami, tongue, and chopped liver on rye.
  33. WHITE CLAM CHOWDER or RED CLAM CHOWDER? Neither of which I have any business eating.
  34. KEY LIME PIE or LEMON MERINGUE PIE? If made with real Key limes. But Greenwood’s (again!) has a killer lemon meringue that has the same punchy tartness of a good key lime pie.
  36. WHIPPED CREAM or CAKE FROSTING? Only real whipped cream need apply.
  37. HONEY or MAPLE SYRUP? Bees or trees? Honey has a slight edge, but real maple syrup is hard to beat.

    Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to Caltechgirl (Not Exactly Rocket Science) for this tasty moom.


This week’s Weenie- and Blogpost-Roast may be found at Sean Gleeson’s place, creatively entitled (what else?) Sean Gleeson.

You’ll have some glee as well, laughing at the laughable and gagging at the gag-inducing.


The other day, as I made my near-daily stop at the Local Bagel Emporium, I noticed a couple of police cruisers parked outside. Sure enough, several members of Cobb County’s Finest were inside, enjoying their bagels...and whatever it is cops put on bagels.

This was a great source of quiet amusement for me.

What is the mystical attraction between the Constabulary and Toroidal Foodstuffs, anyway? The relationship between Peace Officers and Doughnuts is already well established and familiar to all: in a test of Free Association, cops and doughnuts go together about as well as bears and defecation. But doughnuts are doughnuts, and bagels are bagels. They are, at the heart of things, quite different, although they share a Common Topology. They are both Toruses: one of fried dough, the other boiled.

Yet here, before my very eyes, was evidence that shamuses did not restrict themselves to doughnuts. Bagels were, apparently, on the Precinct Menu as well. And this got me to wondering.

Perhaps it is not the Breadstuff that is important. Perhaps it is the hole, common to both foods.

Perhaps because Police Officers must occasionally blow holes in people, they relish foods that also have holes. Swiss cheese? Doughnuts and bagels, for sure.

After you’ve pondered this issue long enough, here’s another one for your Perfervid Brain: do wrestlers eat pretzels? And, if so, why?


NZ Bear has been diligently working on upgrading and improving his Ecosystem, but this time I think he’s laid an egg.

I say this because this site is currently ranked at 189 in the Ecosystem - a mere ten spots behind This Blog Is Full Of Crap at 179.

That’s ridiculous.

If you look at my rank in the Ecotraffic list, reality asserts itself. With a current average of 208 visits per day (according to Sitemeter), Bd’E clocks in at Number 1,645, whereas TBIFOC is ranked 223 with a daily visit count of 3,060.

Now, that’s more like it.

It’s just a meaningless statistic, of course, but it would be nice if NZ could invent a ranking system that would incorporate both traffic and inbound links in a realistic manner. I mean, as long as I’m being a whiny little bitch. [I know Aaron (Aaron’s cc:) has been giving this matter some thought and has come up with some good ideas as to how to combine and weight the two factors.]

And maybe peace will break out in the Mideast.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Dear Mr. Debonair,

Is it ever appropriate for an adult to use a straw?

(signed) Curious Cyclist

Dear Curious,

Nowadays, the popularity of crack and freebase has eclipsed that of old-fashioned Happy Powder, so it is less common that the use of a Tubular Suction Device is required. And in those rare cases when a straw may be useful, it lends much more tone to the proceedings if you use a rolled-up C-note rather than that cheesy Flex-Straw that comes in the stupid-ass box with the picture of Bozo the Clown on it.

What? You were referring to drinking straws? Er, (ahem)... I see. Hrmph.

Straws may be used for imbibing liquid refreshments under certain limited circumstances. A useful guideline is, if the beverage is one that you are able to purchase without identification, you are good to go. Drinking adult beverages such as Dirty Martinis or Rusty Trombones Nails with a straw is risky: in the case of the Martini, the olive may cause unpleasant clogs.

On the other hand, if you prefer that marvelous Cocktail named after the former U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, a straw is most appropriate, as demonstrated here by this fine gentleman:

Shirley Temple

Do exercise caution, should you decide to sample it, for it is addictive to a legendary degree. As it is said, “Once you go Shirley Temple Black, you never go back.”


She Who Must Be Obeyed and I caught the latest Harry Potter flick over at the local Bijou yesterday.

Mike Newell has done an outstanding job directing this picture, which is significantly darker in tone than the previous three Potter films. Just as Alfonso Cuarón improved on the work of his directorial predecessor Chris Columbus, so has Newell done. He very clearly “gets” the Harry Potter vision.

There’s enough disturbing imagery in this film to ensure some screamy nights for the younger members of the audience. It’s a PG-13 movie, and parents of small children need to keep that in mind when deciding whether to take the kiddies. Of course, SWMBO and I have seen parents dragging four-year-olds to movies like Goodfellas, so assuming parents really give a crap about exposing their kids to disturbing images may be a stretch in these Increasingly Fucktarded Days.

As the series of Harry Potter books – and movies – progresses, one thing is clear: The kids are growing up. Harry, in this film, is now 14, entering the horrendous transition into adolescence. One could argue that the idea of asking a girl to a dance at that age is more terrifying to Harry than dealing with Dementors, Death Eaters, and old You-Know-Who his ownself. And Hermione is actually starting to, er...ripen.

It’s only a matter of time before some pulchritudinous young honey wants to see Harry’s “magic wand.” Come to think of it, that scene with Moaning Myrtle and Harry together in that bathtub had serious Hanky-Panky Potential – had Myrt not been a ghost, I suspect an “R” rating might have been necessary. Can’t wait to see what they’ll do with the next one, which will, I am sure, involve snogging. Which is a Britishism for “tonsil hockey.”

I’ll cop to enjoying the Harry Potter books. They’re cleverly written, with a lot of wordplay – especially in the various names (i.e., Diagon Alley, Durmstrang, et al.). J. K. Rowling has managed to let the stories grow in depth and complexity, with the result that they occupy that rarefied place on the bookshelf where both young readers and adults can find something to like.

If I had a complaint at all, it’s that there seems to have been an implicit assumption that the American mass audience is just a tad ignorant. For example, the first book (and movie) of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was renamed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the American market. The reference to the Philosopher’s Stone in the original title is entirely appropriate to the story: this is the mythical substance sought by medieval alchemists that could transmute base metals into gold, and which could be used to create an elixir that would extend life. There is no corresponding alchemical “sorcerer’s stone,” but presumably, Americans are too stupid to deal with the four-syllable “Philosopher” or to know anything about medieval history. “Sorcerer,” on the other hand, is shorter - plus it’s a synonym for “wizard” - so the title was dumbed down.

And then there’s the pronunciation of “Voldemort.” Prior to the movies’ releases, it was clear from various official websites that the correct pronunciation was in the French manner, with the final “t” silent. But, again, because American audiences are thought to be boorish and nekultuny, the “t” is clearly pronounced in the films. This is a niggling and trivial point, but – hey, I can be niggling and trivial at times.

These are, however, minor quibbles. Harry and his friends seem to have captured a spot in the public’s imagination that has been curiously unsatisfied by burned-out franchises such as Star Wars. Good for them.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


The eighty-eighth edition of Carnival of the Cats is up at IMAO, with a pile of links lovingly crafted by the Original Cat Carnivaller himself, Laurence Simon.

The theme of the day is “Fun Facts About Cats.” Just keep in mind that the person who put this Carnival together is the same one who writes fake news articles at The News Is Full Of Crap.

Friday, November 25, 2005


The Friday after Thanksgiving is the Official Start of the Christmas Shopping Frenzy here in the States. Black Friday, it’s called - because this is the day that retailers finally see black ink on their books, presumably after bleeding red all year.

I generally have as little to do with these ridiculous proceedings as possible.

If I could, I would avoid any visits to shopping malls, arcades - pretty much any retail establishment - until after Christmas.

Things are out of control. Merchants, in their greed, have pushed the Christmas season up so that the music and decorations are up in everybody’s grille before the candle has cooled in the Hallowe’en pumpkin. If I were a Christian, I would be outraged. But since I am not, I am merely bemused.

Today, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I had our own Shopping Adventure.

Seems that a local discount retailer was offering a mini-DVD player at a very attractive price. Quantities limited, and all that. SWMBO has had her eye on one of these babies for a long time, and this was her chance to pounce.

The store opened its doors at 4:56 am today, and we were there.

Yes, we. I had agreed to come along, for the sheer dementedness of it.

Still groaning from last night’s food overload, we had set the alarm for 4:30. My plan was to go to the store with SWMBO, then run back home and maybe catch a few more Z’s before having to run off to morning minyan at 6:50. And so, there we were.

“Of course, you realize we’re all insane,” I remarked to the gentleman standing just ahead of me in the early-morning queue. He nodded, sheepishly. Yes. Yes, we were. And then the doors opened and we all piled in.

Five minutes later, we had our DVD player...and a pair of undershorts for me. (My boys need a home.) I’m willing to bet that we were the first to check out, having Accomplished Our Stupid Mission while all those around us were stuffing Random Crap into their carts.

Staying awake during, that was the hard part.


SWMBO and I are watching Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith on DVD at the moment. This represents the first time I am seeing a Star Wars movie on home video without ever having seen it in a theatre. A tribute, perhaps, to my Ability to Learn.

After all, if the bartender keeps serving you mugs of Hot Piss instead of beer, eventually you learn not to order beer at the bar. [Hat tip: Pete.] And with Episodes I and II, we kept hoping for cold beer...and all we kept getting was Hot Piss.

Jar-Jar Binks. Boss Nass. Midichlorians. Hot Piss.

Episode III is a slight improvement on its predecessors, if only because, amidst all of the Sturm und Drang, it ties all of the loose ends together. But I’m glad I didn’t piss away (there’s that word again!) eight bucks to see it in a theatre. My sound system at home is just fine, and if I want to take a nap during the proceedings, I need only hit the Pause button.

As fas as I’m concerned, not a single one of the Star Wars sequels - from The Empire Strikes Back on out - comes within a light year of recapturing the magic of the 1977 original. That was the one by which all others must be measured. The retro-1930’s feel, complete with arty wipes as scene transitions. Good versus Evil. The Heavy of all Heavies, Darth his ownself Vader as an unalloyed Bad Guy. A princess in danger. A naive Good Guy. And, of course, the Sidekick With Checkered Past But Who Of Course Is Good - a variation of the Whore with the Heart of Gold archetype. And the comic relief - R2D2 and C3PO in (mercifully) small doses.

When Darth Vader strode into that smoky corridor, you knew you were in for a Big Time.

This? This is shit. Busy shit. Really busy shit.

But George Lucas is a jokester, he is. There’s actually a character in this movie called Commander Cody. Really.

I wonder if he brought any of his Lost Planet Airmen with him?


Chateau d’If plays host to the 125th installment of Bonfire of the Vanities.

Pull up a chair, grab some marshmallows - hell, you can even warm up that Monte Cristo sandwich in this Bonfire - and read a few Cringeworthy Posts.


There’s nothing aids the digestion quite like a Post-Prandial Examination of a Serious Meal...and so, with that thought in mind, here’s the blow-by-blow review of last night’s Magnum Opus of Face-Stuffing.

First off, this year’s Thanksgiving was unusual, being one of the rare occasions when She Who Must Be Obeyed was not the one cooking most of the food and playing host. This year, the honor went to our friends Gary and JoAnn, with turkeys provided by Shelly and Marc T.

We gathered at 6:00 pm, somewhat later than is our usual practice. The late start tends to sharpen the appetite, but it has the unfortunate side-effect of putting you in bed with a massively bloatacious stomach, having had fewer hours in which to digest the meal.

There was no salad. Fine by me. A salad at a Thanksgiving feast is a bit like Tits on a Boar-Hog; completely useless. Why fill up on healthy salad when you can be packing your kishkes with yummy Meat-Wads?

The turkey was succulent; falling-off-the-bone tender and moist.

SWMBO contributed a Spinach Casserole, a side dish that packed a wallop thanks to a liberal infusion of Jalapeño Jack cheese. Top-drawer.

I whipped up a batch of blueberry chutney, recipe courtesy of Kimberly (Music and Cats). The combination of tart fruit and ginger complemented the turkey beautifully. We served this fine condiment in a glass turkey-shaped dish, one that was inexplicably (and hilariously) misidentified as a “Cranberry Swan” by Seth, Marc and Shelly’s son-in-law:
Seth: Could you pass the Cranberry Swan?
Elisson: Harh! I am so blogging this.
Seth’s wife Alisa (Marc and Shelly’s daughter) contributed a Swedish Corn Pudding that was mighty tasty.

Gary made his Infamous Sweet Potato Pudding, a rare example of a sweet potato dish that is sugary without being cloying, with JoAnn providing the classic Green Bean Casserole. Say what you will about the Green Bean Casserole - if you deck it out with a thick enough coating of French-Fried Onions, it’s just fine.

SWMBO also brought a mess of her Sausage-Rice Stuffing with Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Raisins. To me, it ain’t Thanksgiving without this stuffing. We’ve been eating it for over twenty years now.

Completing this Groaning Board o’ Goodies were dishes of cranberry sauce, spiced apple rings, and spiced crabapples.

I somehow managed to get a little of everything on my plate, wisely choosing to bypass the (superfluous) hot rolls. That was plenty, although it was hard to resist going back to the trough for a smidge more turkey and “Spinach Casserole à la Burnyoursphincterout.” Oh, did I mention the three glasses of Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling? Nothing like a little wine to get the juices flowing. I felt fine. Hell - we all felt fine.

It was the dessert that did us in.

JoAnn made not one, but two apple pies, along with two cakes. As if this were not enough, she brought in a Greenwood’s Holy Shit Chocolate by Gawd Cream Pie. This proved to be my undoing.

As I have said before with respect to this pie, mere mortals cannot eat a whole slice. It is far too dense, too rich, too obscene. One slice, passed around the table about five times, is enough for a small army.

But last night, I ate a whole slice.

Not for me, the wimpy Apple Pie, the Cranberry and White Chocolate Bundt Cake, no.

One slice of Greenwood’s Holy Shit Chocolate by Gawd Cream Pie, and you could stick a fork in me: I was done.

Later, at home, I gulped down a shot of Underberg bitters. It helped, but not enough to prevent a lot of tossing and turning. Bloatificus Maximus.

Never again! quoth I. At least, not until next year.


It’s Friday, which means we’ve cranked up the iPod d’Elisson for a Random Assortment of Musical Goodies. According to my iTunes software, there are now 2,035 songs from which to choose...and room for about 2,965 more.

“Songs” may not be the right word, since many of the individual files are podcasts, whole albums, and various spoken miscellany...but that is of no consequence. It all falls under the rubric of “Crap To Listen To.”

What’s playing today? Let’s take a look:
  1. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 - Bob Dylan
  2. Late - Ben Folds
  3. The Sinister Minister (live) - Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
  4. The Inner Light - The Beatles
  5. Jamaican Ska - Fishbone
  6. Saltydog - Flogging Molly
  7. The Whole World (Radio Edit) - Outkast
  8. The Contest - Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd Original Cast Recording
  9. Samba Dees Days - Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd
  10. Hard Headed Woman - Cat Stevens
It’s Friday. What are you listening to as you digest your Turkey Dinner?


The Friday Ark is floating on a sea of Turkey Gravy over at the Modulator.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Bed Cats

Oh, wait. Those aren’t turkeys.

Too much hair.


Thanksgiving Flowers
To our family,
to our friends,
to my Esteemed Readers,
to my Commenters, both frequent and infrequent,
the House of Elisson offers its best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

May your wine be abundant.
May your meal be savory and your dessert sweet.
May both your Turkey and Women be moist.

May you have much for which to be thankful, without limit to any good thing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Courtesy of Melissa (Wonders Never Cease) comes this moom - er, moam - ahh, mimm - damn, I just can’t bring myself to say it.

Anyway, here ’tis, for your reading pleasure. No tags - but feel free to play along if you care to.

Ten movies you’d watch over and over:
1. King Kong (1933)
2. The Time Machine (1960)
3. Duck Soup
4. Casablanca
5. Citizen Kane
6. Angels with Dirty Faces
7. Big Night
8. Shrek
9. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
10. Being John Malkovich

Nine people you enjoy the company of (aside from family):
1. Irwin
2. Gary
3. JoAnn
4. Laura Belle
5. Donnie Joe
6. Barry R.
7. Dennis R.
8. Houston Steve
9. Gravel-Voice Larry
[Note: I could easily fill this list up with family members, but then someone would get offended because the list ain’t long enough. So I added that restriction myself. Keep in mind that this list is not all-inclusive!]

Eight things you’re wearing:
1. Wedding ring
2. College ring
3. Wristwatch
4. Undershorts - briefs, not boxers. My boys need a home.
5. Spongebob Squarepants T-shirt
6. Tulliano wool sweater
7. Levi’s denim jeans
8. Merrill athletic shoes - black

Seven things on your mind:
1. Work
2. Sex
3. Food
4. Sex
5. Money
6. Sex
7. Health

Six objects you touch every day:
1. Bedside lamp
2. Wallet
3. Razor
4. Money clip
5. TV Remote, AKA “The Electronic Dick”
6. iPod

Five things you do every day:
1. Shower
2. Brush teeth; floss
3. Take a crap
4. Tell SWMBO she’s beautiful
5. Tell SWMBO I love her

Four bands or musical artists that you couldn’t live without:
1. Frank Zappa
2. The Beatles
3. Philip Glass
4. Miles Davis

Three of your favorite songs of the moment:
1. Zvezda Rok-N-Rolla - Leningrad
2. Silvertown Blues - Mark Knopfler
3. Dirty Work - Steely Dan

Two people who have influenced your life the most:
1. My father
2. She Who Must Be Obeyed

One person who has been nice to you today:
1. Mary Beth, the waitress at The Local Bagel Emporium

If you like mooms, go ahead and play or comment.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Hakuna the Sphinx
Hakuna strikes one of her favorite poses: The Mysterious Sphinx.


The Mistress of SarcasmThe Mistress of Sarcasm has been visiting with us in Atlanta this week, having managed to score a few days off from work. Sadly enough, she will have to head back to Savannah in order to work over the long holiday weekend, so she will not be at our Thanksgiving table this year.

For that matter, we will not be at our own Thanksgiving table this year. In a rare instance of Letting Someone Else Do The Heavy Lifting, we have accepted the invitation of our friends JoAnn and Gary to dine with them.

We did not want to send the Mistress away without a chance to enjoy the Thanksgiving experience, however, so She Who Must Be Obeyed whipped up a Faux Turkey-Day yesterday evening.

The menu was pretty straightforward: a roasted turkey breast (tough toenails to the Dark-Meat Aficionado), the Infamous Green Bean Casserole, jellied cranberry sauce from the Ocean Spray can. Prosaic dishes all, but classics in their own way.

Oh, and the stuffing. The finest stuffing I have ever set teeth to.

We found this recipe back when it was published in Cuisine magazine (sadly, now defunct), in the December 1982 issue. Since that time, I doubt if we’ve gone a single year without making it. And now, it’s time to lob it over the Internet Fence at my Esteemed Readers:

Sausage-Rice Stuffing with Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Raisins

According to Cuisine, this recipe comes from Antoinette Abruzzese of Milton, New York, and is two generations old (which would make it three generations old by now).

¼ cup golden raisins
3 tbsp pine nuts
3 cups water
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1½ cups long-grain rice
1 cup finely minced onion
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
¼ cup finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, well beaten
Freshly ground black pepper

In a small heatproof bowl, cover the raisins with boiling water and let stand about 15 minutes, or until raisins are plump. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts over low heat using a dry heavy skillet. You want them evenly browned – not scorched! – so stir them often. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from heat when done. Drain the raisins.

Heat 3 cups water and 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling. Stir in the rice, turn the heat to low, and cover. Cook until rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining 4 tbsp of butter. After the foam subsides, add the minced onion. Reduce the heat to low and sauté the onion, stirring frequently, until translucent and soft – about 15 minutes. Remove the sausage meat from the casings and crumble the sausage into the skillet. Jack up the heat to medium and cook the sausage and onion mixture until the sausage is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Drain through a sieve and reserve the meat mixture and the drippings separately.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, raisins, toasted pine nuts, sausage and onion mixture, parsley, grated Parmesan, and egg, stirring until thoroughly blended. Stir in 3-4 tbsp of the sausage drippings – just enough to flavor and moisten the mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature before using.

For a kosher version, use kosher turkey Italian sausage, pareve margarine in lieu of butter, and non-dairy “Parmesan” cheese substitute.

Generally, She Who Must Be Obeyed will double or triple this recipe and heat it up in the oven before serving, rather than using it to stuff a bird. You will want to make enough to last for several days – it’s serious!

Monday, November 21, 2005


There was a time when I considered studying aerospace engineering, but my natural inclination to Play With Dangerous Substances won out, and I ended up as a chemical engineer instead.

People who meet me are sometimes surprised to discover my engineering background. My twisted personality doesn’t mesh well with the popular conception of Engineering People. Seems like I better fit the mold of Drooling Psychopath, or Failed Comedian. There’s no question that, compared to the others of my “Dirty Dozen” chemical engineering section, I was a little…different. I hung out with the stoner History and Political Science majors, for the most part – not so much with my fellow E-Quad Nerd Squad colleagues.

But this is not to say that the Engineering Types were not a Fun Group. Witnesseth:

Previously, in these pages, I have related the Tale of the Sixteen Gallons of Absolute Ethanol: how we glommed on to a huge stash of pure, reagent-grade ethyl alcohol only to find that it made us act extraordinarily silly, bumping into walls and such.

Along these lines, we discovered early on that it was relatively easy to score miscellaneous Odd Supplies from the chemical stores. Some of the stuff I ended up with (and kept in my dorm room!) was odd, indeed:
  • A liter of 70% nitric acid, strong enough to eat holes in pretty much anything it touched. I used to dissolve coins in it to watch ’em fizz.

  • A plastic bottle of 30% hydrogen peroxide. The crap you get in the drugstore is 3%. This, on the other hand, is used in rocket engines. Eats holes in stuff almost as effectively as the nitric acid. I’m not sure why I wanted it, but I’m sure there was some inane stunt I had in mind. Besides, anything that can be used to set fires with is fun, innit?

  • Pure iodine crystals. Iodine is Kewl Shit. Shiny, purple-black crystals. It doesn’t melt – when you heat it, it sublimes, turning directly into a purple gas. And if you mix it with concentrated ammonium hydroxide – like household ammonia water, but far stronger – and let it dry, it forms nitrogen tri-iodide, an amazingly sensitive contact explosive. We used to scatter chunks of that crap around the lab, where the vibration of someone walking ten feet away would set it off, producing a loud BANG! and a cloud of purple smoke. [Learned that trick from an old Robert Heinlein novel.]
And then there was our Ballistics Lab.

From the chemical supply room, we got hold of about thirty feet of stout rubber tubing and an oversized funnel. We then repaired to that part of the campus known as the “New-New Quad” – so named because it had supplanted what had previously been called the “New Quad” as the most recently-built set of dormitories. (That quad, of course, was now called the “Old-New Quad.”)

The New-New Quad consisted of a series of three-story dormitory buildings, sheathed in dark brown brick and beige concrete, with wrought-iron decorative railings at the roofline. It was to that roofline we repaired, because those decorative railings now had a sinister purpose. They were to serve as the anchors for our Infernal Ballistic Device.

By attaching the rubber tubing to the funnel and thence to the railings, we were able to construct a Gigantic Slingshot, a slingshot whose enormous draw, coupled with our four-story height advantage, allowed us to project force (in the form of huge water balloons) to great distances.

The tricky part was filling the balloons up just the right amount. They needed to be slack enough to withstand the incredible G-forces of the launch, yet full enough to disintegrate on impact to deliver a Thoroughly Moistening Payload.

One sunny May morning in 1971, we inaugurated our Ballistics Lab by firing a water balloon 150 yards, drenching an unsuspecting gaggle of Chemistry Nerds. So unexpected was the arrival of the Moist Payload in their midst that they never thought to look up at the top of that distant dormitory building, where a handful of mischief-makers was hooting and high-fiving one another.

We were able to launch about ten of those damn things before the imminent arrival of the University proctors caused us to scatter like roaches in a suddenly-lit kitchen. Barely had time to disassemble the Infernal Device and ditch the evidence.

That warm spring afternoon’s activity was as close as I ever came to being an aerospace engineer.

What fun we could have had in ROTC. I understand they actually studied ballistics there...

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Cassie hosts the latest installment of Carnival of the Cats at Scribblings.

There are plenty of excellent Kitty-Posts in this week’s Carnival - visit and enjoy!


Camroc 1966This week, it’s Rocket Jones at the helm of the Carnival of the Recipes.

I’m especially pleased to see Ted hosting CotR, for it was he who alerted me to its very existence back in February of this year. He had linked to a post in which I provided the recipe for Lil Pachter’s Braised Brisket - a recipe for Jewish-style braised brisket that I consider to be the finest example of the genre - and his linkpost alluded to a Carnival. Since then, I have been a semi-regular contributor.

Anyway, why are you lollygagging around here when you can be getting your dose of the scrumptious? Go visit the Rocket Man!


Haveil Havalim, the weekly roundup of Posts on Matters Jewish, is up at Mirty’s Place.


The redoubtable Dax Montana continues to amaze me.

Why, I popped over to his site this morning, and what should I find staring out at me than the album cover of Birds of Fire, one of the seminal Mahavishnu Orchestra works?

Here was Dax, writing about music: Chick Corea, Billy Cobham, Jean-Luc Ponty, Jan Hammer, John McLaughlin. Cobham, Hammer, and McLaughlin, of course, made up the core of Mahavishnu. Jazz-rock fusion of the first water, early 1970’s vintage.

Birds of Fire was one of the first discs I played on the new stereo system I bought myself in January 1972. That, and Traffic’s Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory, which arguably was Rock-Jazz Fusion.

That stereo was my Pride and Joy. A Dual turntable (remember turntables?), a BIC Lux receiver, and a set of large Advent speakers - the whole mess set me back $600 in 1972 dollars. As expensive as that was, it was strictly minor league amongst the audiophiles I went to school with. One guy who lived upstairs from us had a quadrophonic system with four - count ’em - four Bose 901 speakers and a couple of Phase Linear amps to drive ’em. The damn thing was capable of cracking plaster walls with the volume turned up. Really. And even while it was making you bleed from the eardrums, it had crystal-clear, perfect sound fidelity. But I digress...

Back in the early to mid 1970’s, I amassed a serious Jazz-Rock Fusion collection, one that shaded towards pure jazz after a while. Any of these names sound familiar?
  • Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express
  • Gato Barbieri
  • Gary Burton
  • Cab Calloway
  • Stanley Clarke
  • Billy Cobham
  • Larry Coryell and The Eleventh House
  • Miles Davis
  • Urszula Dudziak
  • Joe Farrell
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Stan Getz
  • Dexter Gordon
  • Les McCann & Eddie Harris
  • Pat Metheny
  • Jean-Luc Ponty
  • Flora Purim
  • Joe Sample
  • Lonnie Liston Smith
  • McCoy Tyner
  • Michal Urbaniak
  • Bennie Wallace
  • Weather Report
But here’s the thing of it.

Dax ain’t no Old Guy like me. He’s a genuine Grit-Eatin’ Southron Boy, not some double-domed, pointy-headed Damyank. And yet here he is, listening to the likes of Mr. McLaughlin and friends...

Just Damn!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Yesterday evening, while I was busy throwing dinner together (Roast Prime Ribs of Beef, Pommes à la Sarladaise, Roasted Root Vegetables in the style of Karen Wise, with a bottle of Coppola zinfandel to wash it down), She Who Must Be Obeyed ran out with the Mistress of Sarcasm to do a little money-burning shopping. Imagine my surprise when they came back with something…for me! Some sort of Moroccan Spice Exfoliating Goop, to be used in the shower. Something I may very well like, but never would have thought to buy for myself.

Men and women, you see, have extremely divergent views vis à vis the Fine Institution of the Shower-Bath.

A while back, there was a little item going around on the Internet, contrasting the ways women and men take showers. Here it is:

How to Shower Like a Woman
  1. Take off clothing and place it in sectioned laundry hamper according to lights and darks.

  2. Walk to bathroom wearing long dressing gown. If you see your husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.

  3. Look at your womanly physique in the mirror. Make mental note: must do more sit-ups.

  4. Get in the shower. Use face cloth, arm cloth, leg cloth, long loofah, wide loofah, and pumice stone.

  5. Wash your hair once with cucumber and sage shampoo with 43 added vitamins.

  6. Wash your hair again to make sure it’s clean.

  7. Condition your hair with grapefruit mint conditioner enhanced with natural avocado oil. Leave on hair for fifteen minutes.

  8. Wash your face with crushed apricot facial scrub for ten minutes until red.

  9. Wash entire rest of body with ginger nut and Jaffa Cake body wash.

  10. Rinse conditioner off hair. Make sure to get it all off.

  11. Shave armpits and legs. Consider shaving bikini area but decide to get it waxed instead.

  12. Scream loudly when your husband flushes the toilet and you lose water pressure.

  13. Turn off shower.

  14. Squeegee off all wet surfaces in shower. Spray mold spots with Tilex®.

  15. Get out of shower. Dry with towel the size of a small country. Wrap hair in super absorbent second towel.

  16. Check entire body for the remotest sign of a zit. Tweeze hairs.

  17. Return to bedroom wearing long dressing gown and towel on head.

  18. If you see your husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas and then sashay to bedroom to spend an hour and a half getting dressed.
How to Shower Like a Man
  1. Take off clothes while sitting on the edge of the bed and leave them in a pile.

  2. Walk naked to the bathroom. If you see your wife along the way, shake wiener at her making the “woo-woo” sound.

  3. Look at your manly physique in the mirror and suck in your gut to see if you have pecs (no). Admire the size of your wiener and scratch your ass.

  4. Get in the shower.

  5. Don’t bother to look for a washcloth (you don’t use one).

  6. Wash your face.

  7. Wash your armpits.

  8. Blow your nose in your hands, then let the water just rinse it off.

  9. Crack up at how loud your farts sound in the shower.

  10. Spend majority of time washing your privates and immediate surrounding area.

  11. Wash your butt, leaving those coarse butt hairs on the soap bar.

  12. Shampoo your hair. Do not use conditioner.

  13. Make a shampoo Mohawk.

  14. Peek out of shower curtain to look at yourself in the mirror again.

  15. Pee (in the shower).

  16. Rinse off and get out of the shower. Fail to notice water on the floor because you left the curtain hanging out of the tub the whole time.

  17. Partially dry off.

  18. Look at yourself in the mirror. Flex muscles. Admire wiener size again.

  19. Leave shower curtain open and wet bath mat on the floor.

  20. Leave bathroom fan and light on.

  21. Return to the bedroom with towel around your waist. If you pass your wife, pull off the towel, shake wiener at her, and make the “woo-woo” sound again.

  22. Throw wet towel on the bed. Take two minutes to get dressed.
There’s a point to all this, of course. This morning, She Who Must Be Obeyed was horrified to catch me doing something nasty in the shower.

No, not that.

It was the Bowery Blow. You know, the technique of blowing your nose by placing your finger over one nostril and expelling air (and miscellaneous Nasal Detritus) from the other nostril, without benefit of handkerchief. I call it the Bowery Blow because it’s the favored technique of street people on the Lower East Side of New York. Very nekulturny, of course…unless you’re in the shower. Any guy will tell you: in the shower, anything goes…because everything goes down the drain.

So SWMBO catches me in the midst of blasting a particularly large wad of schnot, whereupon she asked, “Are you having a good time in your phlegm-snot-fart-pissbox?”

OK, sure, I’m guilty. Give me some credit, though. At least I’ve never taken a crap in the shower.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Time once again for Yet Another Random Selection o’ Goodies from the iPod d’Elisson. Let’s see what’s playing today, shall we?
  1. The Lion Sleeps Tonight - They Might Be Giants
  2. Alone Down There - Modest Mouse
  3. Ragas in Minor Scale - Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass
  4. Escape To India - Philip Glass
  5. Women Like Nice Guys - Bobby Slayton
  6. Brandenburg Concerto #2 in F - Trevor Pinnock and the English Concerto
  7. Reelin’ In The Years - Steely Dan [ya gotta love a band that named themselves after a Famous Literary Dildo]
  8. Tandem Jump - Jonathan Richman
  9. High Hopes - Skanatra
  10. La Noyée - Yann Tiersen
I love that Random Shuffle setting. It’s the Forrest Gump Candy Box approach to music: you never know what you’re gonna get.

It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


Modulate your way over to the Modulator, where Steve has posted this week’s edition of the Friday Ark.

Submissions to the Carnival of the Cockroaches have been light to nonexistent, so I’ll hold off on slapping it up until such time as there are more Worthy Roachy and/or Buggy Posts. Click the button on the sidebar if you want more information.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Tired of that boring old chili, Willie?

Lamb Vindaloo doesn’t do it for you?

How about a nice Indonesian-style beef curry, guaranteed to warm your innards on a cold November night? Yes, Esteemed Readers, it’s time for:

Beef Rendang

· 1 lb rump steak
· 2 onions
· 4 cloves garlic, peeled
· 3 fresh red chili peppers
· 1 one-inch chunk ginger root
· 1 tsp turmeric
· 1 tbsp paprika
· 1 stalk lemon grass, chopped
· 3 lime leaves
· 20 oz coconut milk
· 5 tbsp water

Put the onions, garlic, chili peppers, ginger, paprika, turmeric and water in a food processor fitted with the steel blade; process into a smooth paste, scraping the sides of the work bowl to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.

Dice the meat and mix with half the paste. Set aside.

Put the other half of the paste into a heavy saucepan and add the coconut milk, chopped lemon grass and lime leaves.

Simmer without the lid for about 30 minutes, until mixture is reduced by half. Add the meat mixture and return to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring regularly, for one hour or until the meat is tender. Serve with boiled rice.

[Now, if you want some greens to go with your Beef Rendang, take some hearts of romaine, some croutons, anchovies, and Caesar dressing and fix yourself up a nice Caesar salad. Serve alongside the meat dish and Presto! “Rendang Unto Caesar.” Oy.]


Hakuna in Basket

Hakuna takes a nap in the Big Basket o’ Blankets...or is she hiding from the ever-present Matata?


MetroDad was having a Nostalgia-Fest at his site, reminiscing about Random Shit he remembers from his Snot-Nose Days. Of course, his Snot-Nose Days are a lot more recent than mine...

Here’s his list:
  • Shrinky Dinks
  • 50 Facts about the 50 States
  • “Brite Lites” [I think these were actually “Lite Brites”]
  • Schoolhouse Rock
  • Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective
  • James & the Giant Peach
  • Mad Libs
  • Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing
  • Play-Doh
  • Pop Rocks, Fun Dip & Dots
  • Stickball bats made out of broomsticks
  • Mattel Football 2 LED game
  • Pogo Sticks
  • Home-made ice sticks made with orange juice
  • Sea Monkeys
  • Felt banners of my favorite sports teams
  • Big Wheel & The Green Machine
And yet...I remember quite a few of the things on his list – if not from my childhood days, then from later. My kids’ childhood days, f’r instance.

But let’s look at that list, shall we?

Shrinky Dinks – These came along well after I was little, but the principle fascinated me. Draw on a piece of plastic, then heat it and watch it shrink to a fraction of its former size. Whoopee. But as a Grown-Up, I used to sell millions of pounds – nay, hundreds of millions of pounds – of plastic resin that was used to make shrinkable meat packaging. Shrinky Dink technology applied to Real Life.

Mad Libs – I think I first encountered these in fifth grade. Har dee har har.

Play-Doh – a classic, with which I became familiar very early in life. More about this later.

Stickball bats – I used to play stickball when we would visit my cousins in Brooklyn. There was a whole raft of Urban Games with which today’s kids are totally unfamiliar: stickball, stoop ball, box ball. The common feature of these games was that they were all played with a Spaldeen, a pink rubber ball (the name is a corruption of Spalding) that, as it happens, is the unfuzzed core of a tennis ball.

Pop Rocks, et al. – Pop Rocks came along after I was older, but Fun Dip was originally known as Lik-m-Aid. You’d consume it by licking your finger, dipping it in the little pouch of Candy Powder, and licking off the powder that would adhere to the fingertip. Got a lot of interesting looking fingertips with that stuff – it looked like Iraqi Election Day on the playground.

Pogo Sticks – have been around forever.

Sea Monkeys – Mainly of interest for the incredibly cheesy ads that appeared in every single comic book in the 1950’s and 1960’s – probably required by Federal law. Nobody in his right mind would actually buy these things, am I right?

But wait: there’s more. What about these?

Nik-L-Nips – You can get these today for $2, but back in the 1950’s, a package really cost 5¢. It consisted of five tiny wax bottles, each filled with a colorful sugary liquid. You’d bite the top off each bottle, suck the liquid out, and then chew the wax. Inane.

Fizzies – The bastard get of a Soft Drink and an Alka-Seltzer. You would drop a Fizzies tablet into a glass of cold water, wherein it would fizz (hence the name) and yield a glassful of mildly carbonated, alkali-flavored soda water. The fun was in watching it fizz – because even then, we knew that to actually drink that shit would give you Brain Cancer.

Mr. Potato-Head - Back in the day, all you got was a bunch of plastic and felt Body Parts attached to Pointy Toothpick-Like Spears. You provided the potato. Lots of great impalement possibilities.

Flavor-Straws – Drink your milk through a Flavor-Straw and you would have milk that tasted vaguely of chocolate, or strawberry, or, whatever. Good, but only if you were too fucking lazy to deal with opening a can of Hershey’s Syrup (Yeah, back then it came in cans.)

Great Garloo – This was a scary-looking totally lame-ass plastic robot, standing all of three feet high, controlled by a hand-held switch box. You could make Garloo bend at the waist, clasp his hands together, and roll forward and backward. I used to terrify my kid brother with Garloo, which automatically made it an Excellent Toy.

Great Garloo
Great Garloo, nemesis of Eli’s Other Son.

The Gilbert Chemistry Set – I’m sure that nobody in their right mind would dare to buy one of these today. It had actual chemicals in it, some of them potentially nasty. The interest I later developed in chemistry and chemical engineering no doubt comes from the happy hours I spent mixing and burning all kinds of Toxic Shit at the kitchen table.

The Easy-Bake Oven – That one’s been around forever...but even it had predecessors. And therein lies a story.

When I was about three or four, my parents somehow got it into their heads that a Toy Stove would be a Good Thing to Give Little Elisson. And so they did. What the fuck were they thinking?

This was no Easy-Bake Oven. This was a real stove, with little working burners and (I suppose) a fully functional oven. It came with a full set of Tiny-Ass Metal Cookware.

Ah, but what to cook? It took me no time to find something. Play-Doh! I filled the various Pots ’n’ Pans with Play-Doh and set that crap a-cooking. You know what? You can boil Play-Doh if you get it hot enough. But your Mommy and Daddy will not like it if you do.

This is the same Mommy and Daddy that gave me, at the tender age of four, a stapler. For a Chanukah present, no less. And, some time shortly after that (but well before my fifth birthday), a pocketknife. I think they must have been trying to kill me.

Or maybe they were just oblivious. I mean, back in the ’50’s, boys (especially toddlers) were not generally encouraged to cook. Damn thing was probably on sale. Yet perhaps that Toy Stove was the distant source, the Ursprung, as it were, of my interest in Matters Culinary...

Do you have any memories of your own Random Childhood Crap? If so, howzabout sharing in the Comments?


Fitch, the host at Radioactive Liberty, has posted this week’s Carnival of Comedy, the twenty-ninth installment in that series. It’s also Fitch’s 100th post - mazeltov, Fitch!

Go pay him a visit and get your daily ration of funny - even if my nasty little post didn’t make the 200 Megaton Blast category.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


It’s been a while since I’ve done any Wednesday Night Supperblogging, but today’s Evening Meal looked good enough to eat.

Supper Plate!

Here we have:
  • Baked Atlantic Salmon with Potlatch Seasoning
  • Roasted Cauliflower with Thyme, Garlic, and Fleur de Sel
  • Baby Romaine Salad with Toasted Pine-Nuts, Sherry Vinegar and Walnut Oil Dressing
Not pictured: Whole-Wheat Rotini with Butter and Locatelli Romano.

Had the weather been warmer, I could have planked the fish and thrown it on the grill, but I opted for the Conventional Hot-Box instead.

I suppose we could have gone Whole-Hog and cracked open a nice Chardonnay, but screw it: I washed down the whole morass with a glass of iced tea, with a Coke Zero chaser. The Missus, for her part, stuck with the Coke Zero.

All of this, by the way, was thrown together in roughly 50 minutes. I arrived home, ingredients in hand, while She Who Must Be Obeyed was out at her Water Aerobics class; everything was (mostly) ready by the time she got home. The key, of course, is to use good ingredients and prepare them without undue complication.

And no, I don’t do windows.


The Mistress of Sarcasm asked me to post this old picture...45 pounds and 25 years ago.

Cowboy El

Most likely, it’s so that she and Mickey can make fun of it. And now, you can too.


If you want to understand the differences and similarities between the three Great Abrahamic Religions, you have to understand where the borders lie on the Mental Map that defines them.

Here’s a Surveyor’s Report:

Judaism: The Rambam’s Thirteen Principles of Faith
  1. I believe with perfect faith that G-d is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.

  2. I believe with perfect faith that G-d is One. There is no unity that is in any way like His. He alone is our G-d. He was, He is, and He will be.

  3. I believe with perfect faith that G-d does not have a body. Physical concepts do not apply to Him. There is nothing whatsoever that resembles Him at all.

  4. I believe with perfect faith that G-d is first and last.

  5. I believe with perfect faith that it is only proper to pray to G-d. One may not pray to anyone or anything else.

  6. I believe with prefect faith that all the words of the prophets are true.

  7. I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses is absolutely true. He was the chief of all prophets, both before and after Him.

  8. I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we now have is that which was given to Moses.

  9. I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be changed, and that there will never be another given by G-d.

  10. I believe with perfect faith that G-d knows all of man’s deeds and thoughts. It is thus written (Psalm 33:15), “He has molded every heart together, He understands what each one does.”

  11. I believe with perfect faith that G-d rewards those who keep His commandments, and punishes those who transgress Him.

  12. I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. However long it takes, I will await His coming every day.

  13. I believe with perfect faith that the dead will be brought back to life when G-d wills it to happen.
[Note: Rambam is the Hebrew acronym for Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, also known as Maimonides, a scholar of towering prominence in medieval intellectual and religious life, as well as a philosopher, scientist, and physician. He formulated the Thirteen Principles of Faith in his commentary on the Mishna, written in 1168 C.E.]

Christianity: The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

[The profession of the Christian faith common to the Catholic Church, to all the Eastern Churches separated from Rome, and to most of the Protestant denominations, as formulated at the Council of Nicaea in the year 325 C.E.]

Islam: The Islamic Creed (Shahada)

There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His prophet.


[Gotta hand it to them Muslims. They know how to keep it simple.]

Do the creedal statements above encapsulate all there is about each religion? Of course not. But these are the Core Principles of each belief system, from which all else proceeds: useful for understanding the boundaries of what you believe...and what you do not believe. Everything else is window dressing, explanation, and politics.

Three Major Religions with a single progenitor.

They can’t all be right...and that is where Faith comes in. The ability to trust, to believe, without a scintilla of Real Evidence. It’s what makes Religion different from Science: both pursuing elusive Truth, but each one using completely different tools in the course of the chase.

What do you believe? And what do you not believe?


The latest Carnival of the Vanities is on line at The Examining Room of Dr. Charles.

After you visit The Examining Room of Dr. Charles, perhaps you’d like to spend some time in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. I hear it’s in the same medical office building.


Denny was having fun with Google yesterday, so I decided to play, too.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any snappy catchphrases like “booger-eatin’ moh-rons” to direct people my way. Nevertheless, I gots me some stuff.

Every so often, I will write about Feces, and the Removal Thereof. And so, here’s what happens when I have Fun with Google:

Fun with Google
[Click to embiggen.]

We’re Number Number Two! Boo-yah!


Father Dominic was beginning to come unglued.

The Offertory had gone just fine. Sanctus, likewise. Lord’s Prayer, no problem.

The Agnus Dei had never sounded sweeter.

It was after Communion that things began to get sketchy. Congregants started milling around aimlessly, bumping into each other in the pews, cracking ankles on the kneelers, eyes glazed. It took three hours to herd them all out the door after “Missa est.”

By now, Dominic felt pretty strange himself. Bizarre lights flashed; weird howls echoed. Was God speaking?

Later, he found out that an altar boy had spiked the Communion wine with LSD.

[Adapted from my comment at 100 Words or Les Nessman. The theme? “Mass Confusion,” of course.]

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Carnival of the Cockroaches

Check out our Frappr!

I’ve stuck a couple of new buttons on the sidebar - like I really needed more crap there.

There’s now a button that links to the submission instructions for Carnival of the Cockroaches, so you Buggy-Minded Individuals can send in your insectile posts. You are welcome - nay, encouraged! - to use the button on your own site, as long as you host it yourself (no hotlinks, please!) And of course, there’s a button for my Frappr! map.

If you have not yet stuck your own Personal Push-Pin in my Frappr! map, what the hell are you waiting for? The Moshiach? An engraved invitation? Jimmy Hoffa’s reappearance?


Every so often, it’s fun to look at the old Referrer Stats to see what sort of searches people are using to find Blog d’Elisson.

Here are the Top Twenty-Five search keywords, according to BlogPatrol:
  1. hanger steak (Yahoo)
  2. tornado dreams (Google)
  3. enema blog (Google) - OK, so I wrote a story that featured an enema bag. Once.
  4. turducken blog (Google)
  5. blog d'elisson (Google)
  6. cats (Google)
  7. enema blog (Yahoo) - There you are again, you Upper Colonic Pervert, you.
  8. bloods (Google)
  9. zeeba neighba (Google) - Clearly a Stephan Pastis fan.
  10. sherlock holmes brown study (Google)
  11. di tri berrese (Yahoo) - A Faux Italiano fan.
  12. curious george cake (Google) - Yes, I did write about a party for Curious George at the Boston Public Library. Cake was involved.
  13. turducken houston (Google)
  14. turducken (Google)
  15. recipe for king ranch chicken (Yahoo)
  16. BIRDHOUSE IN YOUR SOLE (Google) - It might help if you spelled “soul” correctly.
  17. atlanta turducken (Google) - What the hell? Is this the New Food for 2005?
  18. (Google)
  19. "zeeba neighba" (Google)
  20. elisson (Google)
  21. king ranch chicken (Yahoo)
  22. king ranch chicken (Google)
  23. "chocolate pie" recipe, Goode Company (Google) - For the record, I think Goode Company has excellent barbecue. Their chocolate pie, alas, sucks.
  24. "rectum, damn near killed" (Google)
  25. how can you grow back tron betta fins (Google) - Unless these fish live in an old Disney movie, I think the word is “torn.”


Get out those marshmallows, kiddies - it’s time once again for this week’s Roundup of Blogshite, otherwise known as the Bonfire of the Vanities. This week’s Pile o’ Putrid, Purulent Posts is presided over by Demosthenes.

You may have been looking for an honest man, Bub, but what you found was a Huge Heap of Parrot-Droppings.

Monday, November 14, 2005


There are some Children’s Stories that have a peculiar effect on me, that resonate far in the back of the brain. Even today, reading them gives me the strangest sensation of having dug deep, deep into my own Personal Memory.

It’s most likely a consequence of my learning to read at an early age. I began deciphering the English alphabet and reading at the age of three. I have very clear memories of the first books I read: one was a collection of Aesop’s fables, another was an illustrated edition of Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories.

One day, my parents arranged for a teacher to visit in order to see just what it was I was doing with these books. I still have vague memories of her visit, this woman who had to be, in my three-year-old eyes, the Oldest Living Human on the Planet. She listened to me read from my Aesop’s Fables book and apparently was convinced that I was not just reciting the words by rote. At one point – I cannot remember whether it was during this teacher’s visit or at some other time – my father gave me a paragraph to read from the New York Times, which I did, slowly and laboriously sounding out each unfamiliar word.

When the world of books is opened to such a young mind, the earliest impressions are buried in one’s most primitive memories, impressions that may be all but untraceable years later but which are still there.

I remember reading one story that was about a child who had to do without animal products – wool, meat, milk, eggs – and after a day or so, then had to do without vegetable-based products – cotton, etc. Was the privation the result of a wish gone awry? I cannot remember. I do know that the story ended with the world restored to its normal state, with the child enjoying a new-found appreciation for the everyday Manufactured Items surrounding him. What I don’t know is what book the story appeared in or who wrote it...questions that have nagged at me for years when I have nothing else to worry about. (Harh!)

And then there was the above-noted Carl Sandburg book, a collection of short stories for children that was originally published in 1922. Sandburg had written these stories with the intention of creating fairy tales that were uniquely American, with trains and skyscrapers in lieu of kings and wolves. One in particular made an impression on my Toddler Mind, the story of a family (the Huckabucks) who found a silver buckle inside a squash, an omen that their lives were about to change. I don’t know what it was about that story that attached itself to the back of my brain, but upon finding a recent edition of Rootabaga Stories and discovering therein the tale of the Huckabuck family, I had the most bizarre sensation. It was almost as though my mental clock had been turned back a full fifty years. As looked at the pages, the illustrations and words appeared hauntingly familiar. “I remember this!” I thought, holding the book in my hand. As much as the words themselves, I had a fleeting memory of it was like to see them for the first time, when every page turned was a new adventure at the beginning of childhood.

And in some ways, it still is.


The latest Carnival of the Recipes is up at Myopic Zeal.

In a nod to Veterans Day as well as to Election Day, the theme of this Carnival was “Red, White, and Blue.” So, of course, leave it to Mr. Smart-Brains to send in a recipe for a soup that will be, at best, a shade of green. Foo.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


and show your True Colors.

I love this time of year.


Carnival of the Cats, Installment Number 86, is up at Curiouser & Curiouser, where Michael has, appropriately enough, a masthead that features a Cheshire cat.

Is that where Cheshire cheese comes from? Cheshire cat milk? Eeewwww.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Hakuna stares at me with her Baleful Radioactive Gaze.™

Hakuna and Balusters

Naw, just kidding. She’s really a sweetie. A tad skittish, but sweet.

I like the way the balusters cast parallel shadows in this image.


Now that the weather in Georgia - our part of it, anyway - is showing signs of being more autumnal, it’s time to enjoy a nice hot bowl of soup.

This recipe, adapted from one that appeared in Saveur magazine a few years ago, is also a good one for springtime, when the first onions of the season start showing up in local markets. It is very different from most people’s usual idea of “onion soup” - and it is superb.

Soup of Many Onions

4 small red new potatoes, scrubbed and cut in quarters
6 cups chicken stock (use water if no stock on hand)
4 tbsp butter
2 medium yellow onions, peeled, sliced
1 bunch scallions, trimmed, sliced
3 small leeks, trimmed, sliced (be sure to wash thoroughly!)
4 spring onions, peeled, sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced
2 cups half-and-half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped chives

Place potatoes and chicken stock in a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Throw in all the onions and the garlic and cook about 15 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Be sure to stir the onions frequently so that they cook evenly without burning.

Transfer the onions to the pot containing the potatoes and stock once the potatoes are tender. Simmer for 5-10 more minutes, then remove from heat.

Dump the contents of the pot in a blender (do it batchwise if your blender won't hold all of the mixture at once) and purée. Return the puréed soup to the pot and add the half-and-half. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve it forth in bowls and garnish with the chopped chives.

[For a kosher version of this recipe, use kosher chicken broth, parve margarine in lieu of the butter, and nondairy half-and-half.]


Various sources have reported that Pope Benedict XVI has “reaffirmed creation as the driving force of the universe, describing the natural world as an ‘intelligent project’ and rejecting scientific thought that regards the history of the universe as random and directionless.”

In unrelated news, the Sun rose in the East this morning.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Further Random Dialogue:

SWMBO: Do these braces make my teeth look fat?

Elisson: (...)


Random dialogue overheard at dinner this evening:

SWMBO: Do these shoes make my feet look fat?

Elisson: (...)


Welcome to the fourth installment of Carnival of the Cockroaches!

Submissions have been a wee bit light, of late. If this trend continues, it may push this Carnival to a once-per-month publication frequency. Of course, if this trend continues, it’s a sure indication that my Esteemed Readers are normal human beings and not a bunch of Deranged Idiots.

Let’s get right to it:

Blueberry, who writes Texas Oasis, invites us to consider the Palmetto Bug in all of its loathsome glory, and ponders, as well, the use of cats as Deputy Exterminators. Roaches and cats! In one post! I am so there, dude!

Can roaches be a source of Edible Protein? Carnival stalwart GuyK of Charming, Just Charming looks at this happy possibility, but notes concerns about allergies. Bub, it ain’t allergies you gotta be worrying about - it’s projectile vomiting when people realize what those Popcorn Crisps are made of...

Coochy CootieMy friend Coochy Cootie tells me that it’s time to wrap things up at this short - but always tasteful - Carnival. Until next week...remember to turn on the light before you walk into the kitchen at night!

Linked to the TTLB Übercarnival.

[Coochy Cootie ©1970 by Robert Williams. Used without permission...but with extreme respect and admiration!]

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To all those who have put yourselves in harm’s way to defend our country: I thank you.

To those who have suffered: May your pain be eased.

To those who have died: May you be bound up in the bond of Eternal Life.


What? Friday already?

That means it’s time once again for Yet Another Random Selection o’ Goodies from the iPod d’Elisson. Let’s see what’s playing today, shall we?
  1. Koko - Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Byrd
  2. Fire and Heights - Matisyahu
  3. Anima Mundi: Living Waters - Philip Glass
  4. This Flight Tonight - Joni Mitchell
  5. Montana (live) - Frank Zappa
  6. Tank Graveyard - Paul Cantelon
  7. The Cold Part - Modest Mouse
  8. Run For Your Life - The Beatles
  9. The AOL Song - Weird Al Yankovic
  10. First There Is A Mountain - Donovan
I believe that assortment includes items from every decade from the 1950’s to the Oughty-Oughts - except maybe for the 1980’s.

It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


In lieu of the usual Show-and-Tell, the third-grade teacher decided to ask the children to share a little Family Information. “What does your Daddy or Mommy do?” was the question of the day, and one by one, the children stood up and talked about the various Parental Occupations:

“My Mommy works in the library.”

“My Daddy is a fireman.”

“My Daddy is a lawyer.”

“My Daddy is a dentist. He fixes people’s teeth.”

After this had gone on for a while, the teacher noticed little Jimmy, who sat very quietly by himself in the back of the classroom, looking morose. She tried to draw him in to the class discussion. “Jimmy, can you tell us what your Daddy does?”

Jimmy stood up reluctantly. “My Daddy died last year.”

What could the teacher say?

“Oh, that’s a shame, Jimmy. Before he died, what did your Daddy do?”


“Oh, he turned blue and shit on the rug.”


Steve (the Modulator) has posted the latest Friday Ark. Like clockwork, that boy is.

I’ll be posting the Carnival of the Cockroaches later today. If you have a Buggy Post, send it in - late submissions are OK. It’s not as though I’m struggling to deal with a flood of entries, fer crying out loud. Details are available here.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


This post has enormous TMI potential, but if people can blog about such horrors as blood squirting out of their asses, surely this is not so terrible.

In the span of less than a twelvemonth, all of my Major Orifices were penetrated. Medically, that is.

Roll back the clock. It was August 2002, and when I went under the knife to have my deviated nasal septum un-deviated, little did I realize that that surgery – my first ever – was to be the Opening Shot in a year-long Volley o’ Procedural Fun.

Strange as it seems, my biggest concern as I lay on the operating table was that I would become nauseated from the anesthetic. I had no intentions of spoiling what was then a 31-year No-Puke Streak. As it turned out, that was not a problem.

General anesthesia is strange. You lie on the table while the anesthesiologist injects a bolus of Powerful Soporific into your IV, and the next thing you know, you’re dressed and ready to be wheeled out the door. What the fuuuuuhhhhh… Weird.

Even stranger, as you begin to come out of the druggy haze, you can speak coherent sentences without having a shred of memory of them later. That is a little scary.

But I digress. Nasal septoplasty: Orifice Number One.

Five months later, I found myself once again on the receiving end of a Medical Penetration, this time to retrieve a recalcitrant Kidney-Stone. I was out of town when I discovered the problem (aaarrggghhh), and the hospital in Novi, Michigan that took care of me was kind enough to send me home with pain pills and a strainer. Thanks oh, so much. My urologist would have none of that: she (yes, she) decided to go right in and grab it.


That was Orifice Number Two.

Having turned fifty the prior year, it was now time for That Procedure The Old Guys Get, in which a viewing device approximately the size of a firehose is delicately threaded up the old keister. The good news is, my gastroenterologist found no problems (kenahora). Bad news is, the preparation for the procedure is a mite…unpleasant. Ever hear that expression “It went through (whatever) like a dose of salts”? I’m here to tell you that a dose of salts will go right through you, indeed, and it will take everything with it. Meals I hadn’t seen in years. A DeSoto radiator – wait, that was a standing rib roast I ate in 1978.

Orifice Number Three.

The final Bodily Violation came in July 2003, when, after many years of foot-dragging, I finally had my wisdom teeth taken out. Being in no hurry to have any kind of possibly unpleasant Dental Work performed upon me, I was waiting for an intractable problem to show up that would force me to act. It came, finally, in the form of a hairline crack in one of the third molars. I had decided long ago that if I had to have one taken out, I’d have ’em all pulled out at once…and I did.

Thanks to liberal amounts of nitrous oxide and Versed, I had no idea what the process was like. They could’ve stood on my head to pull those damn things out; I would not have cared.

That was Orifice Number Four.

Four major orifices in the span of less than one year. Did they miss anything? Yes, if you count the ears…


There’s another one of those dopey Web-based quizzes going around, and for once, I couldn’t resist: Which Action Hero Would You Be?

The answer’s obvious:

You scored as James Bond, Agent 007. James Bond is MI6’s best agent, a suave, sophisticated super spy with charm, cunning, and a license to kill. He doesn’t care about rules or regulations: he is somewhat amoral. He does care about saving humanity, though, as well as the beautiful women who fill his world. Bond has expensive tastes, a wide knowledge of many subjects, and he’s usually armed with a clever gadget and an appropriate one-liner.

James Bond, Agent 007


Indiana Jones


William Wallace


Lara Croft




Batman, the Dark Knight


Captain Jack Sparrow


El Zorro


Neo, the "One"


The Terminator


The Amazing Spider-Man


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with

Aw, I knew it all along.

Elisson 007

[Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to Bane.]


A is for Asshole, tucked deep in my pants.
B is for Bad; it’s the way that I dance.

C is for Cockroach, living under the sink.
D is for Dogshit: hoo, boy, does it stink!

E is for Eli, that Daddy of mine.
F is for FUBAR, like I am all the time.

G is for Gonif: that’s Yiddish for thief.
H is for Hanger, a fine cut of beef.

I is for Itch, relieved when I scratches.
J is for Junk-Mail, arriving in batches.

K is for Klepto (see “Gonif” above).
L is for Lust, but it’s also for Love.

M is for Monkey, our simian sibling.
N is for Numbnuts. To be one’s no good thing.

O is for Ordure, that’s shit in the street.
P is for Penis. To have one is neat.

Q is for Queef; it’s a rude sort of sound.
R is for Rectum; its outlet is round.

S is for Salt-Mine, the place where I work.
T is for Turd. In punchbowls it may lurk.

U is for Ugly. Michael Moore with pants off.
V is for Vicks. It’s f’cold and f’cough.

W is for Wax, which in Ears you may find.
X is for Xanax; it eases the mind.

Y is for Young, new-arrived on the Earth.
Z is for Zilch, which is what this shit’s worth.

[Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to the Goober Queen. I took her idea and crapped all over it.]