Friday, June 30, 2006

FRIDAY RANDOM TEN - SARCASTIC MISTRESS EDITION

Friday...and I’m back in Atlanta after a brief trip to Savannah. I had gone there to say goodbye to - and celebrate the life of - a friend. Sad duty, that...but I also got to enjoy a visit with the Mistress of Sarcasm and her boyfriend Mickey.

Eric, the Straight White Guy, joined us for breakfast and then drove me back to Atlanta enroute to his home in Tennessee. During the course of the day, Eric learned that while an omelet with two cheeses is good, one containing three cheeses is even better - especially if one of them cheeses is Cream Cheese. We spent a good chunk of the drive listening to John Prine and reading Robert W. Service, great slabs of which Eric can quote (more or less) verbatim.

This week’s Friday Random Ten is dedicated to my own sweet daughter, the Mistress of Sarcasm her ownself, who celebrates her twenty-fourth birthday today. Happy birthday, kiddo!
  1. IV. Festival at Baghdad - The Sea - Shipwreck - L. Stokowski: Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherezade
  2. My Wild Love - The Doors
  3. Lakeus - Alamaailman Vasarat
  4. Day Tripper - The Beatles
  5. Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips - Tiny Tim
  6. Grandpa Was A Carpenter - John Prine

    Grandpa wore his suit to dinner
    Nearly every day
    No particular reason
    He just dressed that way
    Brown necktie and a matching vest
    And both his wingtip shoes
    He built a closet on our back porch
    And put a penny in a burned out fuse.

    Chorus:
    Grandpa was a carpenter
    He built houses stores and banks
    Chain-smoked Camel cigarettes
    And hammered nails in planks
    He was level on the level
    And shaved even every door
    And voted for Eisenhower
    ’Cause Lincoln won the war.

    Well, he used to sing me “Blood On The Saddle”
    And rock me on his knee
    And let me listen to radio
    Before we got T.V.
    Well, he’d drive to church on Sunday
    And take me with him too.
    Stained glass in every window
    Hearing aids in every pew.

    (Repeat chorus)

    Now my Grandma was a teacher
    Went to school in Bowling Green
    Traded in a milking cow
    For a Singer sewing machine
    She called her husband “Mister”
    And walked real tall and pride
    And used to buy me comic books
    After Grandpa died.

    (Repeat chorus)

  7. Thank Goodness - Wicked, Original Cast Recording
  8. Darlin’ - The Beach Boys
  9. Boredom - Procol Harum
  10. My Friend, My Friend - Phish
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?

SYMPATHY, SCHMIMPATHY

This piece by Jay Tea over at Wizbang! is worth reading for the title alone...but don’t stop there.

“If You Want My Sympathies, Try And Act Sympathetic Once In A While”

As a look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is most definitely a keeper.

[Hat tip to Laurence Simon for the link.]

PIE-EYED JEREMY: A 100-WORD STORY

Pie

Jeremy loved pie.

Jeremy loved pie with a white-hot passion.

No birthday cake for him. It had to be pie, only pie.

Dutch Apple. Mince. Blueberry. Rhubarb. Pumpkin. Coconut Custard. Steak and Kidney. Chicken Pot. If it was a pie, Jeremy would seek it out and devour it.

But pies were expensive. Fillings and crust cost money, which Jeremy had in short supply. Eventually, to support his pie habit, Jeremy turned to crime.

During a botched heist at Entenmann’s, two hostages died in a hail of bullets. Jeremy was arrested and convicted.

His last meal? Pie, of course. Cyanide pie.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

THE LATE, GREAT MR. SMITH

Rob in Austin
Rob Smith picks a few tunes in Austin, May 1.

If vitriol is to your taste,
Then visit the Acidman’s place
Where he sprays his invective
In a way most effective.
To neutralize him you’d be base.

He’s a blogger of such great renown,
He’ll admit that he pees sitting down.
“So I don’t get quarts
Of hot piss in my shorts!”
Explained Mr. Smith with a frown.

[Limerick left as a comment at Gut Rumbles back in December 2004. Tasteless? Sure! But he liked it...]

Monday, June 26, 2006

ACROSS THE MISTS OF TIME

Old Faces

From the old photographs, their faces gaze out at us across the mists of Time.

Their identities are lost to us now. All that remains is the elusive reflection of light against mirrored silver.

These are daguerreotypes.

Daguerreotypy was the first commercially viable photographic process. The first examples appeared in 1839-40; by 1855, the process had mostly died out, replaced with newer, less expensive (and less toxic) methods: ambrotypes, tintypes, and wet-plate glass.

To make a daguerreotype, you needed a highly polished copper plate, upon which was electroplated a thin layer of silver. This, too, was polished to a mirrorlike shine. The plate was then exposed to bromine and/or iodine vapors to render it light-sensitive.

Once the photograph was taken - exposure times varied, but could be as many as ten or twenty minutes long - the plate was removed from the camera and developed by exposing it to the fumes from heated mercury. A quick was in sodium thiosulfate (“hypo”), and the image was made permanent. All that remained was to seal the plate under glass to prevent tarnishing.

The photographs above are quarter-plate daguerreotypes, measuring 3 1/4 by 4 1/4 inches. Like all daguerreotypes, they are originals - there is no negative - and the image is reversed right-to-left. They can only be viewed indirectly, as the image is fleeting, evanescent, delicately impressed into the mirrorlike surface of the silver plate.

I look at these faces across the gulf of Time. The photographs are at least 150 years old and possibly (albeit not probably) as old as 165 years. The stoic-looking faces captured on these shiny plates have been dust now for a century or more.

Could they have imagined that someone would gaze upon them, so many years thence, and wonder what sort of people they were? What they sounded like, smelled like, how they ate and drank, how they spent their days?

And will anyone ask the same questions of us 150 years hence?

FARE THEE WELL

Rob at Helen, Oct 2005

Blogdom has lost a true original voice.

According to the post left by his daughter, Sam,
Rob has passed away. They found him at 2:00 this morning slumped over on the couch. He did not shoot himself and no pills or alcohol were found in the house. When I find out anything else I’ll let you know.
Terrible news, indeed.

I will not speculate as to exactly what happened, nor will I try to eulogize Rob here. Not now. The news is too fresh, too painful.

What I will say is that I met Rob Smith on three separate occasions. The first was at Helen, Georgia, the end of September of last year. Rob was in desperate shape then, barely able to get out of bed.

When I next saw him face-to-face, it was in Austin, Texas, seven months later. Rob had spent an agonizing month in Willingway drying out, but the results were evident. He looked good, sounded good. I told him then that it was as though I were meeting him for the first time...which, in a sense, it was. And his writing had never been better. Crisp, clear, and sharp, without the fog of ethanol.

A week later, we had dinner in Savannah, along with She Who Must Be Obeyed, the Mistress of Sarcasm, and the Mistress’s boyfriend Mickey. It was an unalloyed pleasure.

Rob has been through a rough couple of months since then. Physical pain, financial issues, Gawd knows what else. Whether he is in “a better place” now is open to speculation, depending on whether one has a religious or philosophical bent. But he is no longer suffering, for what it’s worth.

I am sad. I am disappointed. I am angry.

Rob was a true original voice, and I will miss him.

Ave atque vale, Acidman.

Acidman at the Keyboard

Update:

There are about a billion memorial posts and eulogies out there in the Bloggy-Sphere today. Here are some of them...

Velociman recalls Rob’s extreme TMI-level candor:
It would be craven to say those of us who blog, and read Rob, were not influenced to creep out of the shrubbery, and have the courage to write the things we often do. The personal stuff one would never have thought oneself capable of publicizing were it not for the fact that, well, hell, Robbie just wrote about a fucking whore date. What’s a carbunkle on my ass compared to that? Gut Rumbles was very liberating that way, and certainly played a significant role in dropping the demure veneer for me.
Amen, bruthuh. Can anyone say “Crap-Daddy”?

Eric told me about an open letter he had written to Rob. I’m glad he decided to post it.

KeesKennis says it - simply and beautifully.

Laurence Simon contributed a 100-Word Story. Rob would’ve loved it.

Thunderman sets it to music.

Lisa mourns a Blogfather she never got to meet face-to-face.

Rube conjures up a Classic Tribute.

Jim, from the Place to Pull Over to the Side of the Road and Pee, tells the tale of the Yankee and the Cracker: a “Most Improbable Friendship.”

And Chris Muir (Day By Day) paints us a picture...

Day By Day 06-27-06
Day By Day ©2006 Chris Muir

Sunday, June 25, 2006

CARNIVALS: RECIPES AND CATS

But not recipes for cats.

Booklore has posted a Roadtrip Edition of Carnival of the Recipes. Yummy...and with some Tasty Photographs, too!

The 118th incarnation of the Carnival of the Cats is up at Life ~ Florida ~ Whatever, AKA Pets Garden Blog. Go visit the kitties, aaight?

PIE-EYED

Every once in a while, I get a hankering for a fresh-baked, homemade blueberry pie.

Store-bought pies mostly taste like ass, with their thick, gloppy filling that only vaguely recalls the delicate fragrance of the berries. And frozen pies? Most of them are beneath contempt.

No, what I want is a real, honest-to-Goodness homemade pie. And here’s all you have to do to enjoy one:

Step One: Start with fresh, wild blueberries, the kind that grow in places like this.

Blueberry fields
Blueberry fields.

Of course, you will need some bees in order to pollinate the blueberry blossoms.

Blueberry bees
Blueberry bees.

Step Two: Roll out your dough and line your pie plate.

Step Three: Fill your pie with fresh berries. Frozen berries also work well, especially if you are using berries that were frozen at the peak of perfection at the end of last year’s season. Add sugar and a little flour. You want to thicken the filling a little, but you don’t want High-Viscosity Glop.

Raw pie
A filled pie awaits its top crust.

Step Four: Working carefully, lay the top crust on the pie. Trim the top crust with a sharp knife, fold the edges under and crimp them to seal. Cut slits in the top crust to let steam escape during baking. Using the two-fingered technique, flute the eges of the crust.

Making Pies
[Clockwise, from top left] Laying on the upper crust. Trimming. Folding and sealing. Fluting the edges.

Pie rack
Completed pies await the oven.

Step Five: Bake the pie until the crust is a golden brown, then remove from oven and allow to cool.

Fresh-baked pies
The finished product.

Step Six: Eat the pie, preferably over the sink. Ideally, a single pie will feed four people. Any more than four slices from a pie, and you are being stingy - or you’re just not hungry enough.

If all of this seems like too much work for you, get your ass to Pennfield, New Brunswick, and go here:

McKay's Farm Stand
McKay’s Farm Stand, home of the Finest Blueberry Pies on the Planet.

And as an added bonus, you might get to visit with these wonderful people!

Lisa and G
Lisa and G.

LIKE A MOTH TO A FLAME

Eric, the Straight White Guy, has a remarkable ability to place himself in circumstances that, well, don’t seem to be natural for a Straight White Guy.

A few weeks ago, he and Princess Fiona enjoyed a brief sojourn in Knoxville, serendipitously timed to coincide with that city’s Gay Awareness Day.

And this weekend, they are in Atlanta, simultaneously enjoying the shopaholic’s dream that is Lenox Square, along with the festivities surrounding Gay Pride Weekend.

I can understand the draw Atlanta exerts on our brethren and sistren from up Tennessee way. After all, we have the shopping - Fiona can attest to that after a full day of wearing out her shoe leather at Lenox. We have Indian food, a cuisine that attracts Eric like a warm pile of shit attracts flies a bug-zapper attracts mosquitoes. We have a Squad of Miscellaneous Blodgy People - like me, Zonker, Denny, Morrigan (the Kid Sis o’ Boudicca), and her Significant Other - who can provide companionship whilst imbibing Spirituous Liquors at the Palm Bar. And we have screaming hordes of flamboyantly-dressed Gay People, many of whom pay as much attention to their shoes as does Eric to his H. S. Trask oxfords.

Do we sense a trend developing here?

Next thing you know, Eric will change the name of his site to “White Guy.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Friday, June 23, 2006

BIG SMOKE

Gar TiesA number of years ago, I somehow contrived to attend a couple of Cigar Aficionado’s Big Smoke events in New York City.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Big Smoke, this is one of those deals in which Cigar Aficionado rents a humongous hall - usually in a top-notch hotel - and all sorts of upscale restaurants, booze merchants, and other Purveyors of Luxury Goods put up booths. Prominent among said Purveyors are the Cigar Boyz. You pay a stiff admission fee, thus entitling you to wander the hall, picking up all kinds of samples and buying all sorts of Miscellaneous Merchandise.

Tickets to these affairs typically run about $175, but you can easily snag enough samples of High-End Cigars to make it worthwhile. In my case, since I had a customer who was a cigar fanatic (actually, he would smoke pretty much anything that would burn, including Kents and carpet remnants), I convinced my superiors at the Great Corporate Salt Mine that the Big Smoke was an appropriate Business Entertainment Venue, and thus was able to write off the ducats. Schweeet.

The first Big Smoke we attended was, in its own way, unforgettable.

I flew to New York and met my customer at the Marriott Marquis, where the Grand Ballroom had been taken over for the event. The room, immense as it was, was packed to the gills with over 1600 Happy Guys. Happy! For every Man-Jack there had a cigar jammed in his face, and a blissful expression on his face. The only way these guys would have been happier is if they were handing out free blow-jobs to go with the cigars.

It’s the kind of place that, if only some Fishing Action had been thrown in, would’ve made Marcus think he had died and gone to heaven.

My customer - let’s call him “Jerry” - and I wandered the hall, loading up our goody-bags with cigars and miscellaneous samples. We scored a couple of excellent neckties, and I won a raffle for a bottle of Rémy Martin Cognac. [VSOP, in case you give a crap.] Between the two of us, we nabbed over fifty high-quality cigars of almost every make and description. (No, no White Owls.)

All of the walking around got to be wearing, so we grabbed a couple of plates of food - it was from Vong, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s signature Asian fusion restaurant, so spring rolls were probably involved - and sat down at one of the tables provided for just that purpose.

And that’s when it caught my eye...the sexiest damn thing I think I have ever seen.

It was a huge Churchill-size cigar, about eight inches long and a 54 ring gauge, sitting in a glass ashtray. At one end was about 1/2 inch of fine greyish-white ash; at the other end was a perfect ring of red lipstick.

Bejus on a bus! You could get hot just looking at that thing, letting it conjure up all sorts of Prurient Imagery.

The owner of this Quintessential Phallic Symbol eventually came back to claim it, laden with a plate of food. She was one of the handful of women that were sprinkled throughout the overwhelmingly male crowd. “Jerry” and I had a pleasant, but meaningless, conversation with her, and then we went our separate ways.

Gawd only knows how long it took for the Marriott to make that hall habitable again. On returning home to Houston, it took me three trips to the dry cleaner to get the Pungent Cigar Aroma out of my suit.

But I have never gotten the image of that lipstick-ringed cigar out of my mind.

FRIDAY RANDOM TEN

Here it is Friday again. Hard to believe that last week at this time I was in the temperate Maritime Province of New Brunswick, whereas now I am back home in the Sweatbox That Is Summertime In Atlanta.

Just to remind me of my stay in Saint John, I have a pot of Tim Hortons coffee brewing downstairs as I write this. I also have a sack of dulse stinking up perfuming the pantry. Real Maritimer stuff, that. The airport security folks in Moncton were amused to find a pouch of it in my carry-on bag last week as I began my journey home.

It’s time once again for that remarkably self-indulgent exercise, the one in which I post ten cuts spewed forth at random from the iPod d’Elisson. I’m sure 99.9% of my Esteemed Readers don’t really give a crap what I’m listening to, but I post this stuff anyway. It’s a little window into my strange mind, and it takes the place of Serious Writing...none of which is to be found here anyway.

The list? Here ’tis:
  1. Party At Ground Zero - Fishbone

    Party at ground zero
    A “B” movie starring you
    And the world will turn to flowing
    Pink vapor stew

    Johnny, go get your gun, for the commies are in our hemisphere today
    Ivan, go fly your MIG, for the Yankee imperialists have come to play
    Johnny goes to Sally’s house to kiss her goodbye
    But Daddy says to spend the night
    They make love ’til the early morning light
    For tomorrow Johnny goes to fight
    Johnny, Ivan, Ian, everybody come along for our nations need new heroes
    Time to sing a new war song

    CHORUS

    Please do not fear ’cause Fishbone is here to say (say what?)
    Just have a good time the stop sign is far away
    The toilet has flushed and green lights are a ghost
    And drop drills will be extinct
    Speedracer cloud has come
    They know not what they’ve done
    Sin has just won
    The planet is a crumb

  2. Farewell To Lorien - Patrice Deceuninck
  3. Purpose - Avenue Q - Original Broadway Cast
  4. The Lady Is A Tramp - Skanatra
  5. Mr. Cellophane - Chicago, The Musical - New Broadway Cast
  6. Not While I’m Around - Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd - Original Broadway Cast
  7. Kuvernöörin tytär - Tuomari Nurmio & Alamaailman Vasarat
  8. Satumaa (Finnish Tango) - Frank Zappa
  9. Sexism - Bobby Slayton
  10. A Night In Tunisia - Dizzy Gillespie
Interesting. Lotta showtunes, just by the luck of the draw. And how ’bout the juxtaposition of Kuvernöörin tytär (performed by a real bunch of whacked-out Finns) with Satumaa (a Finnish tango performed by Frank Zappa)? Weird.

It’s Friday. What are you listening to?

FRIDAY ARK #92

The Wheel of Life turns ’round once more. With every spin, seven days flash by and the forever-carpet of the Future unfurls beneath our feet. And no man knows what awaits him as that great Wheel makes its cycle...

...but it’s a good bet that if it’s Friday, the Modulator will have posted the Friday Ark.

And so he has. Edition #92 is up.

And be sure to visit Carnival of the Cats, the next incarnation of which will be hosted by Life-Florida-Whatever, AKA Pets Garden Blog, this coming Sunday evening.

CLARK: A 100-WORD STORY

Ma and Pa Kent knew “Clark” was special from the moment they saw him.

That the infant had crawled from the wreckage of what appeared to be a spaceship was Clue One.

Clue Two was when he lifted their pickup truck over his head, one-handed. He flipped it casually into the air and giggled when it landed, crushing a cow.

But the kid was cute, and he obviously needed someone to take care of him. The Kents bundled him up and took him home.

Pa Kent died two weeks later with mysterious burns covering his body.

Damn those X-ray eyes…

Thursday, June 22, 2006

MISS MATATA, RN

With She Who Must Be Obeyed recovering from her surgery, it’s good to know that the Crack Nursing Staff at Chez Elisson is working around the clock to ensure that our patient is well provided for.

Here, Matata checks to make sure SWMBO’s fruit yogurt is served at the exact right temperature.

Checking the Yogurt

Man, that just about wore me out! Perhaps I had better check to see if the Missus’s neck pillow is comfortable enough...

Testing the Pillow

Aggh. Well, it’ll just have to do.

NORTHERN COLOR

Tanks A Lot
Buoys await deployment in the Bay of Fundy.

WHAT THE DISCERNING CAT READS...

...is probably not this.

Matata Surfs the Bloggy-Sphere

When a cat reads “Gut Rumbles,” it’s sorta like a Jew reading Der Stürmer. It’s not likely to improve his outlook on life, and it may very well piss him off.

But Matata’s a sucker for anyone in pants. If Rob paid us a visit, she’d even suck up to him. What a slut.

A MESSAGE FROM THE MISSUS

She Who Must Be Obeyed is home, resting as comfortably as she can after her Big-Time Surgical Experience Tuesday.

“Comfortably” is, of course, a relative term, but the Missus is a tough lady. After all, she did pooch out a couple of Rug Rats back in the day...and in one case, without any Palliative Medicaments. Whereas I might complain if there’s too much corn in my dung:

“Oooh, that piece was extra knobbly!

No, SWMBO is tough, and she has been handling this whole experience like a champ.

She is able to take nourishment by mouth - liquids, smooth semisolids, that kind of thing - but it will be a good while before a Hearty Beefsteak is on the menu. Unless I run it through the blender first.

She is able to talk, but only for limited periods of time. [I could make a snarky comment about how this is a good thing, but I will not.]

But the Missus did have one favor to ask of me, and that is to put up a post thanking all of my Esteemed Readers who left encouraging comments here, and whose good wishes have meant so much to both of us. Thus: this post.

Oh, yeah - she had a second favor, but this one was couched more in terms of an Absolute Requirement. No photographs. And I shall comply, for I love and respect the Missus. Also, I love and respect my Ball-Sack and wish not to expose it to Unnecessary Risk.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

SIMPLICITY

I had run into the local Publix to pick up a few items.

Soup and pain meds for the Missus. Bunwad. Fresh milk.

On the way though the produce section, a display of fresh corn-on-the-cob caught my eye. The ears were four for $1.99, and there were trash bins set up so you could shuck ’em right on the spot.

I’ve been a sucker for fresh corn-on-the-cob since my Snot-Nose Days, but I really learned to appreciate the Fresh Stuff when we lived in northwestern New Jersey 25+ years ago. You could buy it at farmstands immediately after it had been yanked right off the cornstalks, and if you boiled it up right away, nothing tasted as sweet.

And thus it was that I found myself the proud owner of three freshly-shucked ears of corn.

It ain’t Brain Surgery to fix corn. I could have thrown it in a huge cauldron of boiling salted water, but that would have taken too long; it would have steamed up the house, too. Instead, I simply steamed them for about 10 minutes, then let the ears cool enough so I could handle them without burning the crap out of my fingers. Using a sharp knife, I sliced and scraped the kernels off all three ears and into a bowl. A couple of minutes in the microwave to get them nice and hot, and then I threw in a thumb-sized chunk of sweet butter, a sprinkling of sea salt, a couple of grinds of fresh black pepper, and a couple of shots of red pepper. Simplicity itself.

Eating that corn was like running through the green country fields of Warren County, New Jersey on a warm summer day. It’s all the supper I needed.

STRANGE BREW

What the fuck were the marketing execs at Coca Cola thinking when somebody pitched them the idea for Coke Blak?

“Hey, hey, hey! I got a great idea! ‘Coke effervescence with coffee essence’! We’ll make a jacked-up cola beverage - hell, we can just throw some coffee in there! It’ll be like Red Bull on speed!”

“Sure, Jerry. Now put down the crack pipe, pick up your BlackBerry, and stop trying to hump the potted plant over there in the corner.”

What is the target market for this shit, anyway? Coffeehouse beatniks? People who wish they could hang out at Starbucks all night but the night porter kicks them out at 2:00 am? Kids looking for something they can make Jägermeister shooters with? Was this a vast, untapped market demand waiting to be satisfied? I cannot help but wonder.

I’ve tried Coke Blak. I had to satisfy my own curiosity as to what would make a Coke-Coffee Combo so appealing, so irresistible, that I would pay $2 for a dinky-ass bottle of the crap. And, guess what?

The stuff sucks. It blows goats, OK?

Listen up, Coke-heads. Yeah, you over there, in the Marketing Development veal pen.

Coca Cola is a great American beverage. You can throw in a little lemon. You can throw in a little lime, fer cryin’ out loud. If you want to add vanilla or cherry flavors, go right ahead - soda jerks have been doctoring up the Basic Formula that way for years.

But venture farther afield at your peril.

For if this keeps up, it is only a matter of time before we see this on the Stoopid-Market shelves:

Coke Yelo
Coke Yelo.

New Coke Yelo. Coke effervescence with Chicken Soup essence!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

AIRPORT SECURITY: A CAUTIONARY TALE

In a recent conversation with The Occasionally Mulleted One, I upbraided him for not having brought certain accoutrements to the recent Blown-Eyed Blodgers Tea Party and Ice Cream Social in Austin. His craven response: “I didn’t want to have to explain that stuff to the Airport Security people.”

The “stuff” in question consists of two Fake-Tattoo Sleeves and a Mullet Wig. [If you have to ask, maybe you shouldn’t know.]

Personally, I think Zonker is being overly sensitive. I can guarantee that the average Airport Security Screener has seen far, far worse.

To wit: Several years ago, on a trip I took in the course of my routine duties at the Great Corporate Salt Mine, I found myself in the Cincinnati airport between flights. Given that my layover was somewhat on the order of two hours, I had plenty of time to purchase a newspaper and a pack of gum. And so off to the newsstand I trotted.

As I was making my purchase, the young, attractive cashier felt obliged to share a Cautionary Tale with me. Maybe it was my polite, friendly demeanor; maybe it was my Natty Business Attire - I have no idea why she felt that she should share this little tidbit with me, of all people, but perhaps she sensed a willing listener - or a Perverse Spirit. For a strange and perverse story it was.

Seems that there had been another Nattily Attired Businessman coming through Cincinnati earlier that day, one whose parcels had been hand-inspected by the Airport Security folks after they set off the metal detector. What Security found in the suspect carry-on grabbed everybody’s attention: tucked inside, neatly wrapped in a plastic bag, was a Honkin’ Big Dildo.

As described by my Cashier Friend, we are talking the Harry Reems Special, an extra-humongous model complete with extra Spiky and Knobbly Projections. Like a baby’s arm with an apple in its fist. I’m guessing it was motorized, as well, which would explain why the metal detector had been activated.

But that was not the worst part of this Exercise in TMI.

The damn thing was still Dripping Wet inside its plastic package.

Needless to say, the Nattily Attired Businessman was, er, ahhh...somewhat red-faced as his prize was trotted out for all the world to see.

Next to this, a mullet and a pair of fake tats is Just Plain Boring. Hell, even a pair of fake tits would be boring. Zonker, I think you’re the victim of Misplaced Concern.

No matter. You don’t have to fly to get to Helen...so I’ll expect you to be carrying the Full Regalia at the next Blown-Eyed Blodgefest.

Monday, June 19, 2006

UNDER THE KNIFE

Tomorrow is the day She Who Must Be Obeyed has dreaded for the past two years.

After almost a year and a half of orthodontia to correct a non-obvious but destructive-to-the-teafizz overbite, it is now time for the next Great Leap Forward in the treatment plan: the mandibular orthognathic extension.

Those fitty-cent words all lined up in a row mean just this: the surgeon will go in, slice SWMBO’s jawbone on both sides, and slide the front end forward a few millimeters. Screws and plates will hold the jawbone in position while it heals. The only outward evidence will be a couple of Frankensteinian bolts barely-visible stitches in one spot on the jawline on either side. It’s complicated enough to require an overnight stay in the hospital.

After this mess heals up, another six to nine months of orthodontics oughta do it.

The good Doctor has said that there is but a 1% chance that SWMBO’s jaw will need to be wired shut. But chewing will be out of the question for a while. Thus it is that we are armed with a handy little booklet: Dinner Through A Straw. Yeef.

We are confident in our surgeon’s abilities. He is the official Maxillofacial Surgeon to the Atlanta Thrashers, and anybody can tell you that the NHL is the King of the High-Risk Sports Leagues when it comes to Getting Your Teeth and Jawbones Smacked Around. Were he the official Maxillofacial Surgeon to the PGA, on the other hand, nobody would be queued up trying to make appointments, am I right?

If you care to throw out a prayer or a wish for a Speedy Recovery, please keep Dena Freida bat Zissel Esther in your thoughts.

I just know my SWMBO will be up - and smiling! - in no time...kayn ayin hora.

Update:

We arrived at Crawford Long Hospital at 5:30 this morning; SWMBO was wheeled into the OR at 7:30. At 11:05, our surgeon came out to deliver the news: “She did beautifully.” Everything went according to plan.

The Missus is now resting more-or-less comfortably, thanks in part to a hefty morphine drip, and she is able to take liquids and soft stuff (Jell-O, lemon ice) by mouth. I’ll be heading back in the morning to take her home. Thanks to all of my Esteemed Readers for your prayers and good wishes - they mean a lot to both of us!

CARNIVAL OF THE CATS #117

Nine lives? Bah!

Carnival of the Cats celebrates its 117th life over at Mind of Mog. Go and visit the nice kitties...and be sure to pack your Kitty-To-Go™!

MELTDOWN MICK

I had a chance to watch a bit of the final round of the U.S. Open Championship yesterday. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Phil Mickelson has been studying The Annals of Golf As Written By Greg Norman, the game’s perennial Mr. Also-Ran. His meltdown at the eighteenth hole - a disastrous Cluster-Fuck of a hole that ended up as a double bogey - handed the win to Australia’s own Geoff Ogilvy, who had nought to do but sit in the scorer’s tent and wait to see what happened.

The last time there was a spectacular Final Hole Meltdown of that sort, it was 1999 at The Open Championship, AKA The British Open. Jean Van de Velde was all set to win when on the eighteenth at Carnoustie, his attempt to put his second shot on the green went horribly awry. Wikipedia tells the tale:
He bounced that shot off the spectator seating. His shot drifted right and hit the grandstands on the side of the green. Had his ball landed in the grandstands he would have been given a free drop, but instead his ball bounced off of them - backwards fifty yards into knee deep rough. From here Van de Velde’s club tangled into the rough and his ball flew into the Barry Burn. He removed his shoes and socks and gingerly stepped through shin-deep water as he debated whether to try to hit his ball out of the Barry Burn, which guards the 18th green. Ultimately, he took a drop, then chunked a chip into a sand trap. Van de Velde wound up with a disastrous triple-bogey seven, which dropped him into a three-way playoff with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie. The Claret Jug went to Lawrie.
Holy crap. Here it was, a mere seven years later, and history was repeating itself.

But Mickelson brought high expectations into the mix. After so many years of being the Greatest Player Never To Have Won A Major, he finally nabbed his first Green Jacket in 2004, following it up with the PGA in 2005 and another Masters victory in 2006. Two consecutive majors! Twenty-nine PGA Tour victories! It was Phil’s time in the sun, and a possible third consecutive major loomed. Hell, why not a Phil Slam? If Tiger could have a Tiger Slam, why not, indeed? And a true Grand Slam was still a possibility...

...until Hole Eighteen.

As SWMBO and I watched Phil screw the pooch in manner royal, the same though struck us both, simultaneously.

When the hell did Phil grow those humongous Man-Boobs?

THE EVER-VANISHING GREENSWARD

She Who Must Be Obeyed was dismayed to see that a verdant, hilly corner near us had been razed and flattened in the name of progress.

Admittedly, it was amazing that this corner had been untouched for so long, a huge undeveloped parcel of land at the intersection of two major thoroughfares. The sole occupant was a diminutive farm stand, a purveyor of assorted seasonal vegetables and fruits who would put out eye-popping displays of Hallowe’en and Christmas kitsch when the appropriate time rolled around.

Anybody who saw it knew that the land was being underutilized. It was only a matter of time before a price was negotiated and dollars changed hands. And then, of course, came the bulldozers.

I am by no means a Tree-Hugger, but even I was discomfited by the new appearance of the Corner Lot. Perhaps it’s the result of having spent almost two weeks in a relatively green, undespoiled corner of the world, but when I see the red clay desert that now occupies the place where tall pines stood only weeks ago, I shed a silent tear. Somehow, the thought that there will be a Trader Joe’s there does not console me.

Well, maybe it consoleth me a little. Trader Joe’s...the place that everyone’s talking about? Great variety and low prices?

Another Shopping Center

Aww, fuck the trees. Bring on the Hot Asphalt!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

EL DIA DE LOS PAPAS

Yes, it’s Potato Day!

Not really. It’s Father’s Day, which can be construed to be Potato Day to the extent that we Daddies are also Couch Potatoes.

Gotta love Father’s Day. This one is especially sweet because I am back home with SWMBO, on whom I have sired two daughters. And she even gave me a card, in effect thanking me for having done so! Schweeet.

I have enjoyed this day mightily.

Woke up at an unGawdly hour, what the Mistress of Sarcasm would call the Butt-Crack of Dawn. Must be I’m still on Atlantic Daylight Time after two weeks in the Maritimes.

Went to minyan this morning, accompanied by SWMBO. Led the morning service. Followed this up by joining the Minyan Boyz for a late breakfast - uncharacteristically, at IHOP instead of the Local Bagel Emporium. Variety!

Called my Dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day. In turn, got calls from Elder Daughter and the Mistress. I have already mentioned the card I received from SWMBO, but what I did not mention is that it was the exact same card this estimable gentleman received from the Velocibride. Synchronicity!

Reconfigured my router, which had somehow beshit itself in my absence, leaving chez Elisson bereft of Internet service. The horror...the horror! But I fixed it, all without availing myself of Tech Support. Utility!

SWMBO treated me to a fine Chinese dinner at Canton Cooks, perhaps the most authentic Cantonese restaurant I have seen outside of Hong Kong or, for that matter, Canton itself. Chose to forgo the braised sea cucumber and duck web, zeroing in on the Peking duck instead. They do it up in two courses here - Phase One, the crispy duck skin, presented on a huge platter with krupuk, those Indonesian-style fried shrimp puffs, and accompanied by the traditional Hoisin sauce, shredded scallions, sliced cucumber, and pancakes - and Phase Two, the remaining duck meat, sautéed with Chinese vegetables. [Order in advance and you get Phase Three: soup made from the duck meat and bones.] There was also a won-ton soup made with baby bok choy and shrimp- fish-stuffed won-tons in a savory broth. Tasty!

And now we’re home, relaxing in front of the Boob Choob, the Missus and I. I am thinking of the Joys of Fatherhood, the privilege of having children I am proud of and whom I love. They are joys that I could not have imagined only days before SWMBO presented me with our firstborn, but which made themselves manifest immediately, directly, powerfully. In my life I have received no finer gift.

PORTA-PUSSY

This unfortunate post title will probably throw off a whole lotta search engine hits that I probably don’t want - but there you are.

Having just returned from a two-week trip to the Maritime province of New Brunswick, it occurred to me that this past thirteen days was the longest continuous stretch of time I have ever spent in a single country outside of the good ol’ U.S.A.

Given that I had plenty of work to do, and a motley assortment of colleagues and Bloggity Buddies with whom to spend the time, homesickness was not a huge issue. Except for the fact that I miss She Who Must Be Obeyed when I’m away, I travel reasonably well.

Business travel aside, SWMBO and I are known to take miscellaneous Leisure Jaunts. The act of travel qua travel does not appeal to her - she hates flying or being a passenger in an automobile - but as long as the accommodations are half-decent, she does not complain.

The missing piece of the equation, of course, is the cats. It’s generally impractical to travel with them, and there are times I miss them sorely when I am away.

But now, thanks to SWMBO, Morris William, and Matata, we have a solution for the Pet Lover who is also a Road Warrior.

Matata has a tendency to shed during the warm months. Aw, let’s be honest - she sheds pretty much all the fucking time. In the space of a single week, she can drop her body weight in cat-hair. Enough, in fact, to make a whole ’nother cat.

Eureka.

While I was away, and Morris William was keeping sister SWMBO company, they took the hair that they had brushed from Matata and gathered it up into a plastic bag - presumably to keep it gathered in one place prior to disposal. And that’s when that little Light Bulb o’ Insight flashed on above Morris William’s head.

Herewith, the invention that Lonely Traveling Pet Lovers have been waiting for:

Kitty-To-Go™!

Kitty-To-Go™

Yes, simply shove this eminently portable Kitty-Like-Object into your suitcase, garment bag, purse, or briefcase, and you will have a Carryable Cat Companion at your beck and call!

Interested in investing? Feel free to contact me by private e-mail…or leave a comment.

With a Porta-Pussy Kitty-To-Go in your pocket, you need never lack Animal Companionship on the road again!

Friday, June 16, 2006

AU RESERVOIR, SAINT JOHN

I just got back from a pleasant evening in the company of Lisa and G, soaking up the Fine Cultural Offerings of Saint John, New Brunswick. And soaking up a few beers, as well.

Tomorrow morning, I will climb upon the Silver Aerial Bus that will transport me back to the sweaty climes of home. After a near two-week sojourn here, I am more than ready. I miss my Missus sorely.

I knew the time for my departure was approaching simply by looking at my SMTWTFS. You don’t know what a SMTWTFS is? It’s one of those little plastic doomaflitchies that holds your pills. It has a separate box for each day of the week, and each is labeled with the initial of the day: thus, SMTWTFS. When I began this trip, I had a double supply of pills for each day; now, the thing is empty, all save that last box, the box for Saturday.

Today, as if the Weather Gods were thumbing their collective noses at me, the sky was a clear blue, unmarred by the clouds that seemingly had taken up permanent residence above this end of New Brunswick. It was not the first glimpse of the sun I’ve had here, but it was by far the most beautiful day. Temperature in the mid-60’s (Fahrenheit), with a light breeeze, enough to stir the hair and roil the blood. Alas: it is time to go, just when things are getting good, weather-wise.

I have enjoyed my stay in the Maritimes. It likely will not be my last. Thus, I do not say “Goodbye,” but “Au Reservoir.”

FRIDAY RANDOM TEN - ANOTHER SAINT JOHN EDITION

It’s Friday, and Elisson is still in Saint John, New Brunswick. One more day at the local outpost of the Great Corporate Salt Mine, and it is Back Home to the sunny, southerly climes of Georgia...and the waiting arms of She Who Must Be Obeyed.

I will spend the evening soaking up a little Local Culture with the Lemons and Lollipops Guild. Lisa and G have arranged a Night at the Opera Phoenix Dinner Theatre, and I’m looking forward to spending a few hours with New Brunswick’s premier Bloggy Family.

[Well, technically speaking, Lisa is the blogger, but she has managed to dragoon G into Bloggity Service from time to time. I keep telling the boy he needs to have his own site...maybe with enough prodding from me and the Peanut Gallery, the advice might take.]

But right now it’s Friday morning, and a full day of Corporate Enslavement Productive Work looms ahead. To get in the mood, there is but one thing to be done, and that is to fire up the little white Choon Box d’Elisson, that it may puke out its Musical Miscellany:
  1. Indus - Dead Can Dance
  2. Kathleen’s Theme - Les McCann & Eddie Harris
  3. Peaches en Regalia - Phish
  4. The World Has Turned And Left Me Here - Weezer
  5. No Place Like London - Stephen Sondheim - Sweeney Todd, Original Broadway Cast
  6. Two-Part Invention in B-Flat Major - Wendy Carlos
  7. Windows - Chick Corea
  8. Devorzhum - Dead Can Dance
  9. Whisky Train - Procol Harum
  10. Anna (Go To Him) - The Beatles
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?

SOMETHING NEW!

Please join me in congratulating Dax Montana and his lovely bride Priscilla, who have just presented the world with the newest member of the Jawja Blodger Coterie - Baby Dax Montana.

Mother and child are doing fine. So is Daddy, who can breathe again.

If this kid grows up to have a mind one tenth as twisted, and a sense of humor one tenth as sharp as that of his Old Man, the world at large had better watch out...

Jeezus, Dax. In just a couple of months:
  • New job
  • New residence
  • New baby
  • New diet (dude has lost 35 pounds!)
  • No smoking
You realize that that adds up to a billion points on the Stress-O-Meter, don’t you?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

PRIME OCEANFRONT: A 100-WORD STORY

Bradley sat back, Mai-Tai in his hand, looking out at the ocean seventy yards from his deck. He smiled.

He had purchased the beach house just a month ago. He hadn’t been sure if he’d be able to swing it, but then this listing popped up. Prime oceanfront, it was a steal at twice the price.

Low in the sky, a mottled gibbous moon hung, making the water sparkle.

A low moaning sound made his head snap around. An army of many-tentacled horrors was shambling up the beach. They held out their scabrous, pitted palps towards him.

Yeah. Some steal.

A NATION ON CRACK

I see them every morning, shambling about, eyes glazed and bleary. They are desperate people, people in need of a fix.

And “Tim” gives it to them.

They hand over their precious nickels and dimes, their tear-soaked, crumpled wads of cash, and they get a dose of the drug that allows them to function for a few more hours.

Yes, those Canajans sure love their Tim Hortons coffee.

Tim Hortons
Canajan Crack.

Tim Hortons is the Canadian equivalent to Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks, all rolled up into a potent cultural and social force. A Canada without Tim Hortons would be like a United States without McDonald’s. Or an inner city without crack. Unthinkable...but maybe a little healthier.

Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 by one – you guessed it – Tim Horton, a hockey player who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs for most of his professional career, followed by short stints with the New York Rangers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Buffalo Sabres. Tim was a six-time All-Star who played on four Stanley Cup teams; according to the official Tim Hortons website, Gordie Howe once called him “hockey’s strongest man.” His athletic capabilities and physical prowess clearly dictated the direction his future life would take: purveyor of coffee and breakfast pastries to Canada’s millions.

Tim Horton himself never lived to see his Coffee and Donut Empire grow to become a colossus. He was killed in an automobile accident in 1974, at a time when his nascent business consisted of 40 stores. Today the count is well over 2000.

In 1995, Tim Hortons and Wendy’s International merged, giving the Hortons organization a chance to peddle their Canajan Crack™ in the region south of the border. You can now glom onto a Tim Hortons donut in such diverse places as Michigan, New York, Ohio, Kentucky, Maine, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

And it’s not just donuts. Tim Hortons offers crullers, croissants, sandwiches, bagels, tarts, tea biscuits, Danish, dutchies, apple fritters, soups, chili, et cetera. They have TimBits™, their answer to the Donut Hole. Rumor has it that a much larger version of TimBits is in the works - TimBales™. Harh.

I myself have become an habitué of Hortons, starting each morning by arriving at the Saint John outpost of the Great Corporate Salt Mine, firing up the computer, and heading over to the local Tim’s for a large coffee, accompanied from time to time by a nice, warm cheese croissant. The coffee is good albeit unspectacular, a notch below the brew served at Dunkin Donuts down south, but it is reasonably priced and prepared to my specifications. Why spend $4 US on a cup of Starbucks’ overpriced java when you can get a perfectly good cup of Tim Hortons for less than $1.30 Canadian?

Now, please excuse me whilst I go mug an old lady and steal her lunch money. I need my Tim Hortons fix. Now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

BOOGAGE REDUX

Rob Smith, Gawd love him, has thrown down the Green and Crusty Gauntlet of Booger-Blogging with a post about the Substance that Dare Not Speak Its Name. Boogers!

I have written about this unsavory subject in days past...but I am not above revisiting previously trod pastures. Offering a Fresh Perspective, as it were.

Let us wind the clock back to August of 2002, when I underwent surgery to correct a deviated septum. This was a problem that had (unbeknownst to me) plagued me all my life, contributing significantly to a Sleep Apnea condition that was severe enough to place me in jeopardy of sudden death - every frickin’ night.

When my ENT guy examined me, he snaked a foot-long fiber-optic probe up my nose. Gaaaah. And then he said, “You may think you’ve been breathing through that nose of yours...but you never have.”

And thus it was that I was to go under the knife for the first time in my (then) nearly fifty-year lifespan, in order to have what the Sawbones called a Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction.

The surgery was noneventful. One moment I was lying on the operating table as the anesthesiologist injected me with a bolus of Versed; the next moment I was dressed and sitting in a wheelchair, ready to roll out the door. The only evidence of the surgery - aside from a bunch of stitches that were well-hidden inside the ol’ Snoot d’Elisson - was a piece of gauze taped over the end of my nose.

Part of the recovery process involved twice-a-day irrigation with warm, sterile salt water. Most people use a nasal syringe for this purpose. But not Mr. Smart-Brains. Using my engineering knowledge, I sawed the end off a Water Pik nozzle, creating a stubby Pressure Washing Device that could be held in each nostril in its turn while hosing out my entire sinus cavity with hot, pulsating streams of salt water. It’s a most disturbing sensation - like drowning in a boiling ocean - but surprisingly, I got accustomed to it.

You do not want to know what will come out of your head under those conditions.

After several weeks, it was once again safe to blow my nose. And that’s when things got scary.

One day - I was visiting our Corporate Headquarters at the time - I blew my nose. In the process I must have disloged a chunk of my brain, for what emerged appeared to be capable of sentience...a scabrous lump of grey-green spongy matter, fully the size of a grown man’s thumb...or an Economy-Size Gulf Oyster.

I swear, it almost looked like it had eyes. And veins. It definitely had veins!

The only thing that kept me from screaming like a little girl was my desire to observe a level of decorum appropriate to a Corporate Headquarters.

What Booger Horror Stories can you share?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

IT’S OFFICIAL

Go to ask.com and type in “What is a dingleberry?

Right under the official Wikipedia answer (“Dingleberry is a colloquial term for fecal matter stuck in small round clumps to the hair or fur around the anus. It is often found on sheep that have not been shorn for some time...”), you will find out that it is also Elisson’s soul.

It’s on the Internet. It must be true!

Monday, June 12, 2006

CANAJAN COMESTIBLES

One of the Joys of Travel to Exotic Destinations is the chance to sample the local cuisine - to try foods that you cannot get at home.

In this day of inexpensive travel and cheap communications, foreign foods are far less foreign than they used to be. Even in Atlanta, which used to be a moderately provincial Southron city in which good Mexican food was impossible to find, the world’s cornucopia overflows. The tastes of many nations are easily available to the Intrepid Eater. Chinese, Mexican, Persian, Ethiopian, Brazilian, all are easy to find...and are reasonably authentic.

When I travel, I enjoy seeking out the local goodies. I have enjoyed Shanghai Hairy Crab and Fish Head Curry in Singapore, duck’s tongues in Hong Kong, snake soup in China. These are treats that are a challenge to find back home.

Even here in Maritime Canada, there are Exotic Foods that somehow have never made it over the border to that Big Country to the South.

I’m not talking about things like seafood chowder and blueberry pie. You can find these in the States - especially in New England - and they will be reasonable approximations of the Real Maritime Thing. Not quite as good, perhaps, but workmanlike.

But Canada has its own Culinary Traditions, traditions with which us South-of-the-Border Americans are unacquainted.

Take, for example, dulse.

You may have had dulse without ever knowing it. Carrageenan, an ingredient that is used as a thickener and gelling agent in many processed foods, is produced from seaweed - kelp, Irish moss, or dulse.

Yes - dulse is seaweed.

Here in Maritime Canada, dulse is sold dried, in bags. You can crumble it up and add it to a soup or salad. You can serve it as a garnish. In powdered form, you can use it to thicken sauces.

Or, if you’re a true Maritimer, you can eat it like popcorn, right out of the bag. It has an indescribable briny, smoky flavor that is an unmistakable clue to its oceanic origin. Low in calories, it’s loaded with minerals and fiber. Think of it as Veggie Jerky, with an iodine pong that smacks of the open water. Yummers.

Dulse is good for you, but not all of the local goodies are quite as healthy.

There is, for those who crave a Heart Attack in a Bowl, poutine.

Poutine is the quintessential junk food of Quebec. You can get it most places in Canada, but if you crave it, you must go to La Belle Province. Think of it as Canadian nachos: what you might eat at a Blue Jays game in lieu of the ubiquitous Hot Dog. [In fact, that is where I first sampled it.]

Poutine is simply a bowl of French fries (preferably a Styrofoam bowl), covered with white cheese curds and then smothered in brown gravy. Sounds grotesque, no? But this description does not capture the meaty fragrance of the gravy, the squeak of the curds as you bite into them. Whether made with standard fries or waffle fries (as is the poutine sold at the Toronto SkyDome), it’s perversely delicious...especially when washed down with its traditional accompaniment, Root Beer.

You like that Heart Attacky kind of stuff? Then you must - simply must - try a Donair, Nova Scotia’s answer to souvlaki.

Let’s start with the sauce. Donair sauce is a simple affair. Take 2/3 cup evaporated milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Simply stir the milk, sugar, and garlic powder until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then add the vinegar and keep mixing - the trick is not to overmix the sauce at this stage. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour and you’re ready to roll. If it separates (as it will after a few hours or days), just skim the thick goopy sauce off the top.

Alternatively, you can make Donair sauce with sweetened condensed milk: just use 2/3 cup in lieu of the milk and sugar in the preceding recipe, and stir the crap out of it after you add the vinegar.

What do you do with this crap once you’ve made it? You put it on a pita bread with Donair meat.

Take 3 pounds finely-ground hamburger. Add 3/4 cup bread crumbs, 2 tsp pepper, one or two tsp cayenne, 1 1/2 tsp oregano, 3 tsp paprika, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Knead the ingredients in a large bowl for twenty minutes, or until your hands fall off. Shape into two loaves, then place on a broiler pan and bake in a 300-degree oven for 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Cool and slice into slabs.

Now, throw a couple of slabs of meat in a pan and heat it through. Dip a piece of pita bread in water and throw it in a frying pan to soften it up. Slather the bread with Donair sauce, top with the meat-slabs, some chopped onions and tomatoes, and more sauce. Roll the whole mess up or serve open-face. Eat without utensils.

After a few of these, you’ll be an honorary Canadian. Or an organ Donair.

HALOSCAN - WHA’ HOPPEN?

Haloscan operates a first-rate commenting and trackback service, but it appears to be acting a bit wonky today after a number of upgrades and database migrations were completed over the weekend.

In case you are wondering where the “Lob a Chunk o’ Feedback” button at the bottom of my posts has gotten to, the answer is, “I Don’t Have a Frickin’ Clue.”

Actually, the button is still there; you just can’t see it. If you want to leave a comment, just float your mouse pointer over the space to the right of the permalink and you will find the link to the Comments.

I don’t know if this is a problem unique to this site, or what. I have checked out a few other Blogger sites that use Haloscan commenting, and everything is copacetic there, so maybe it’s just me.

I have an idea! Leave a comment and let me know if you can leave a comment. Harh!

Update:

I suspect this mess was a Javascript issue...but it appears to have resolved itself for now. As you were, then...

ANOTHER YEAR WITH MY TRUE LOVE




I close my eyes and see your face
Though I am far away.
I sit at my computer screen
Looking for the words to say
How much your love has meant to me
For, lo, these many years.
I’ll hold my lonely pillow,
And moisten it with tears.

I’m fifteen hundred miles away
A million, so it seems.
But I close my eyes and see your face.
You’re with me in my dreams.

Just twenty-nine short years ago,
We stood and pledged a vow:
To love each other all our lives.
Well, that was then. And now,
Our bond of love is stronger.
It grows more every day.
And so I know I’m in your heart
Though I am far away.

I’m fifteen hundred miles away
A million, so it seems.
But I close my eyes and see your face.
You’re with me in my dreams.
In the course of the past twenty-nine years, there have been a few times that She Who Must Be Obeyed and I have been obligated to spend our Wedding Anniversary apart. This is one of those times.

While my love tends the home fires, I am away conducting business on behalf of the Great Corporate Salt Mine. We have an arrangement, the Salt Mine and I. I conduct business on their behalf, doing their bidding, and they arrange for a Block of Simoleons to appear in my bank account twice a month. It is a healthy arrangement, one that has served us well for almost thirty of the past thirty-two years.

The Yoke of Corporate Servitude does not chafe much, owing to the thick callus I have built upon my soul. But today it doth chafe, for it causeth me to be away from my Sweet Lady on our special day.

I rationalize this, as I must.

For the Wedding Anniversary, though it be an important milestone, one worthy of Remembrance and Celebration, is but one day out of three hundred sixty five - and three hundred sixty six in Leap Years.

My love shows me that she loves me every single one of those days, in so many ways. Not least of which is by Putting Up With My Bullshit.

She has given me two wonderful daughters, daughters who have inherited their mother’s common sense and clear vision...and good looks, to boot.

She has allowed me to drag her the length and breadth of the country, living in seven houses in four states, several of which states being filled with people who have trouble understanding a plain-speaking Texan. But all this, she has borne with grace.

She can bring home the (turkey) bacon, and fry it up in a pan.

She laughs at my stupid jokes.

She holds me in her arms and makes me feel young again, no matter what tribulations the day throws at me.

I am fifteen hundred miles away on this, our Anniversary Day...but she is not distant. She is with me, in my heart, always.

Happy Anniversary, my love.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

THE DEVIL’S IN THE DETAILS

Denny, the Grouchy Old Cripple, took a joke I had sent him and reconfigured it to fit current events. I like the new version so much, I think I’ll go and steal it back...

When Abu Musab al-Zarqawi died, George Washington met him at the Pearly Gates. Washington slapped him across the face and yelled, “How dare you try to destroy the nation I helped conceive!?”

Patrick Henry approached, punched him in the nose and shouted, “You wanted to end our liberties - but you failed, asshole!”

James Madison followed, kicked him hard in the groin and said, “This is why I allowed our government to provide for the common defense!”

Thomas Jefferson was next. He waited until al-Zarqawi had stopped retching after Madison’s blow to his nuts. Then he started wailing on al-Zarqawi with a long cane, snarling, “It was evil men like you who inspired me to write the Declaration of Independence.”

The beatings and thrashings continued as George Mason, James Monroe and 66 other early Americans unleashed their anger on the terrorist leader.

Finally, as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi lay bleeding and in pain, the Angel Gabriel appeared. Al-Zarqawi wept and said, “This is not what you promised me!”

Gabriel replied, “I told you there would be 72 Virginians waiting for you in Heaven. What the fuck did you think I said?”

[Cross-posted at The Dead Pool.]

HALLELUJAH!



This made me laugh until blood clots came out of my nose.

Tip o’ th’ Elisson Fedora to my Aunt Zeldie, who sent the link.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

PAINT IT, BLACK

Anyone know what this is?

What Izzit?

Why, it’s a Tabula Rasta, of course.

BLUEBERRY FIELDS FOREVER

I had a most enjoyable afternoon gadding about southwestern New Brunswick with Lisa and her Other Half, G. You could call it a real Mari-Time.

We headed out of Saint John on Highway 1 in a driving rain and stopped in Pennfield, home of McKay’s Wild Blueberry Farm Stand, the consumer end of G’s family’s blueberry business. We hung out at the stand for a while and I got to see the Monumental Industrial Process by which McKay’s blueberry pies are made.

I cannot speak for other Farm Stand Operations, but I can tell you that these pies - should you be wandering the highway east of Maine - are made entirely by hand. Strawberry-Rhubarb and other fruity gems are all part of their repertoire, but to me, the quintessence of Berry Pies is the noble Blueberry...and that is what was in production when we showed up.

G showed me around the facilities, after which we stopped in at one of the local wineries. We sampled blueberry, cranberry, and strawberry-rhubarb wines, flavors which perhaps are best enjoyed in Pie Context...but that did not stop me from nabbing a few bottles of the local Blueberry Liqueur. (For medicinal purposes only, don’tcha know. Heh.)

We then headed out to the berry fields. It is, of course, fairly early in the season, and the berries themselves will not appear for some time. All we saw was greenery, a few beehives (ya gotta have Bees if ya want Berries), and a random deer that had wandered into the road. To look at these misty fields, you would never imagine the sweet bounty they will yield over the next few months.

We then went over to St. George, there to see Gorgeous St. George’s Gorgeous Gorge (and Fishway). Lotta water...and a lotta fish. Looking at the alewives put me in mind, somehow, of the Boston T.

After that, we dropped over to Blacks Harbour for a fish dinner at Silver King, a place that had been recommended by several of the local folks we had been talking with. All I will tell you is, this little place, well off the beaten track by any reasonable standard, offers up some of the finest Fried Seafood I have ever put in my mouth.

[Hours later, as I watched a co-worker at the Salt Mine snarf down her take-out fish ’n’ chips, I could not help but mentally compare the ethereal, crispy, perfectly prepared fillets I had enjoyed at Silver King to the sodden chunks on her plate. Silver King, 1: Vito’s, 0.]

After our Fishy Dinner, it was back to Saint John, where we exchanged pies: I presented Lisa and G with a box of Moon Pies (a Southron staple, best enjoyed with a cold RC Cola into which a handful of salted peanuts has been dropped), and in turn I received a freshly-baked Blueberry Pie.

I cannot help but think I got the better of that deal.

[I’ll post pictures upon my return home. Meanwhile, Esteemed Readers, use your imaginations.]

THAT HAS GOTTA HURT

Alternatively:

Buns - and Pretty Much Everything Else - of Steel

Getting Enough Iron In Your Diet?

This Job Is The Pits

From Confabulation comes this heinous little news item concerning an unfortunate worker who came into Intimate Contact with a ladle full of molten steel:
A foundry worker was killed Thursday when he fell into an industrial pit and was covered in molten steel, authorities said.

Gordon Hickman, 41, was operating a massive ladle near the rim of the 35-foot pit just before noon when he fell into it, moments before the 2,600-degree steel was poured in, said Battalion Chief John Whitlatch of the Canton Fire Department.

[...]

It wasn’t clear whether Hickman, of Homeworth, was killed by the fall or survived until the steel was poured. Whitlatch said the pour could not have been stopped in time.
Yeef.

Whatever challenges I have to face in the course of my labors for the Great Corporate Salt Mine, being in close proximity to 2,600-degree liquid metal is not among them...and for that I am grateful.

UNDER THE SKIN

Betty Boop, Post Mortem
Betty Boop, skeletonized. ©1998-2006 Michael Paulus.

A while back, I discovered a website that offered a look at the skeletal structures of popular animated characters. It’s the creation of a twisted genius yclept Michael Paulus, and it is well worth a visit.

This morning, Samantha Burns wrote a post about the site...a happy reminder.

Looking at the skeletons of cartoon characters reminds us that all of us, yea, even cartoons, are mortal. I have often speculated that on the sad day when Mickey Mouse shuffles off this Worldly Coil, as he inevitably must, his hearse will be a PT Cruiser.

I guess it would have been a waste of time to post a picture of the skeleton of Skeletor. I mean, what would be the point?

Friday, June 09, 2006

FRIDAY RANDOM TEN - SAINT JOHN EDITION

It’s a wet, raw Friday in Saint John, New Brunswick - but wet and raw as it may be, it is nevertheless Friday. And that can mean only one thing: it’s time to post the weekly Random Assortment of Tracks from the iPod d’Elisson.

Let’s take a look at what the Little White Box has spewed out this morning...
  1. Strawberry Fields Forever (Demo) - The Beatles
  2. Brandenburg Concerto #4 in G - Trevor Pinnock; English Concerto: Johann Sebastian Bach
  3. Tooth And Claw - James Newton Howard: King Kong, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  4. Hänta Hellii Käärme - Alamaailman Vasarat
  5. Greetings - Bobby Slayton
  6. Gypsy With A Song - Django Reinhardt
  7. But I Might Die Tonight - Cat Stevens
  8. Mi ricordo (Version 1) - J. Ralph
  9. The End - The Beatles
  10. The Internet Is For Porn - Avenue Q, Original Broadway Cast
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

AN ENCOUNTER WITH THE KING OF PIES

Last night I had the pleasure of enjoying a beer with G, occasional commenter and dashing helpmeet to the lovely Lisa. As we went our separate ways, he presented me with, among other things, a Blueberry Pie.

Most of my Esteemed Readers have had Blueberry Pie at one time or another...as have I. But you can take it to the bank that there is no Blueberry Pie that compares with a New Brunswick Blueberry Pie. In my own experience, I have had only one or two that have even come close.

Let’s start with the berries. New Brunswick wild blueberries are little bitty, pee-waddly affairs, nothing remotely like the huge, puffy, flavorless wads that pass for “blueberries” where I live. No, these are small, intensely dark and sweet - concentrated Essence of Bloob.

Moving on to the filling, this pie had the kind that is best eaten whilst standing over the sink: juicy and fluid, not like the congealed mess you find inside most commercial pies. If there was any thickening agent used in this pie, I cannot tell you what it was, for there was scant evidence of it.

The crust? Light. Flaky. Golden brown at the edges, a rustic affair. Delicious.

Not even Greenwood’s on Green Street – home of the Holy Shit Chocolate By Gawd Cream Pie – could touch this baby.

O, keep your Lemon Meringues, your Key Limes. Even unto your Coconut Custards, you have been weighed in the balance and have been found wanting. This - this - is a Pie. The veritabobble King of Pies.

I am truly impressed. New Brunswick, home of the Blueberry Pie of the Gods, I salute you!

GRADUATION EXERCISES: A 100-WORD STORY

Manny gripped one end of the elastic between his teeth and pulled. When the vein in the crook of his left arm looked just right, he stabbed the spike in. Pressing the plunger home, he sighed with pleasure. Aaaaahhhh.

Suddenly, “Pomp and Circumstance” blared. Rough hands lifted him, propelling him across a hastily-erected stage. A rolled-up piece of paper was thrust into his hands. After a quick handshake from a black-robed dignitary, he was booted off the platform, landing in a refuse can.

He unfurled the paper. Who knew that graduating from marijuana to hard drugs would be so formal?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

THE KID HITS THE HALF-CENTURY MARK

The Other Elisson in NYC
The Other Elisson.

Yes, my Kid Brother - the other Elisson - turns fifty today.

I can still remember that June day in 1956 when my mother, heavy with child, was carted off to the hospital to deliver The New Baby. I asked her to bring me back a brother...and that is exactly what she did.

As kids, The Other Elisson and I were just far enough apart in age so that we were not constantly competing with each other. We spent, as brothers do, a fair amount of time getting on each other’s nerves. But that’s part of being a family.

With a four-year age difference between us, we never went to high school together; we attended our respective colleges sequentially, which may have eased the Pocketbook Strain on the ’Rents. And after college, while I began traipsing about the country in the service of the Great Corporate Salt Mine, my brother stayed put on Long Island. Accordingly, we don’t see each other as often as I’d like. Nevertheless, we’ve developed a recent tradition of having him visit during Passover, which allows us to spend Quality Family Time being constipated together.

Fifty years sounds like a long time. It is...but at fifty-three plus, I don’t feel especially old, and I hope my Baby Brother is the same way...despite his having a Receding Hairline that is a couple of steps ahead of mine. Harh!

The only person I have known longer than The Other Elisson is Eli, his ownself, whom I have known all my life. But my Bro is a close second.

Happy birthday, me Bruddah! The traditional greeting is “bis hundert-tzvantzik yoor,” which means “until 120 years.” May you have that, all in good health and prosperity...and with my love.

CATCHING UP ON CARNIVALS

With a heavy work schedule and limited opportunity to drive on the Information Stoopidhighway Superhighway, I have been remiss in posting links to several recent Carnivals.

So here they are:

Carnival of the Cats
Edition #115 is up at TacJammer. It’s Kitty-Riffic!

Carnival of the Recipes
Edition #94 is up at Mountaineer Musings. Tasty!

Haveil Havalim, AKA Vanity of Vanities
Edition #72 is up at Random Thoughts. Heeb-a-licious!

Now, enjoy the rides, don’t get sick from eating too much cotton candy, don’t piss all your money away playing that Knock the Bottles Down and Win a Stupid-Ass Useless Prize game, and keep the hell away from the weirdo with the fedora who’s running the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

SICK SICK SICK: A 100-WORD OBSERVATION

Today is June 6, 2006, which may be variously rendered as 06/06/06 or 666.

Believers in the literal truth of the Book of Revelations are collectively Shitting a Peach Pit, for 666 is the Number of the Beast. Whereas, 36D is the Number of the Breast.

It is the birthday of Auntie Christ...and Uncle Christ will be in a world of pain, for he forgot to buy Auntie a present.

And it’s the area code for Arkham, Massachusetts.

I will observe the day by coloring in my Coloring Book Out Of Space. There’s a lovely picture of Cthulhu in there.

Monday, June 05, 2006

LORD BOWEN GOT IT RIGHT

The rain it raineth on the just,
And also on the unjust fella.
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust steals the just’s umbrella.
So sayeth the late Lord Charles Synge Christopher Bowen.

And he is right.

Especially in Saint John, New Brunswick, where rain has been plentiful of late.

I arrived in Saint John yesterday afternoon, driving in from Moncton in rain that was reminiscent of a cow pissing on a flat rock. This, after waking up at 3:15 that morning (after a restful one-hour snooze), leaving the house at 3:50 to catch a 6:00 a.m. flight to Toronto, then cooling my heels in the airport there for almost four hours while waiting for that last two-hour flight. Throw in a one-hour time change and you’ve got the picture.

After raining like a bastard yesterday, this morning’s light drizzle was almost pleasant.

Me, I find the temperature here - it’s in the low fifties to mid-sixties during the day, dipping down to the low fifties at night - positively bracing after the sweatbath of late-spring Atlanta.

And I’m looking forward to visiting some friends while I’m here, and introducing them to some of the Finer Elements of Jawja Cuisine.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

Champion Nostalgia-Hounds, that is.

Yesterday morning, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were casting about for Something To Eat. SWMBO decided to go the Beefy Route, so she pan-fried up a humongous Kosher Dinner Frank - split and quartered for quick cooking.

I decided to go the nostalgia route, with a beloved dish from my childhood: Eggs and Onions.

I cannot partake of Eggs and Onions without thinking of my Grandma Shirley of blessèd memory. On those occasions when she and Grandpa Jack would come out from Brooklyn and spend the weekend with us on the Island (that’s Long Island, for all y’all non-New Yorkers), she would frequently cook up a pan of scrambled eggs with onions for me. It was one of my favorite breakfasts - not only because it tasted good, but because it was made with a Grandma’s Love. And the only time I had it was when my grandmother would make it.

For my own Eggs and Onions, I followed Grandma’s basic procedure, with a few latter-day fillips.

I started with a nice-size Vidalia onion. These babies are mild enough to eat out of hand (unless you’re like SWMBO, for whom raw onion of any stripe is pure projectile-vomiting anathema), and they happen to be in season. My Minyan buddy Richard, an actual Child of Vidalia, gave me a sack of ’em the other day, so I was ready to rock and roll.

I sliced the onion up into medium-thick slices - thin is good, too - and threw them in a skillet that was well-greased with a couple of tablespoons of melted butter. I cooked them down over a medium flame until they were soft and golden brown. You want that nice caramelization, and it doesn’t hurt if they get good and dark, as long as they don’t burn.

Caramelizing the Onions
Caramelizing the onions, the first step.

As the onions cooked, I cracked three eggs into a bowl and added a couple tablespoons of half-and-half and a bit of freshly ground black pepper, then beat the mixture with a fork until well-blended.

When the onions were good and brown, I dumped the eggs into the skillet and pushed the whole mess around until the eggs were done the way I like ’em - a little on the dry side.

The process of becoming.

Then, out onto a plate with a liberal sprinkling of freshly-chopped Italian parsley and a few twists of the pepper mill. For a little extra pizzazz, I threw on a little Basque red pepper (piment d’espelette), which complements the black pepper flavor-wise, and adds a nice color note.

Eggs and Onions

There you have it - a breakfast that not only tastes good, but - for me, at least - brings back warm memories of very special weekend mornings, long ago.

BEHOLD THE POWER OF MEAT

Tired Morris William

Tired? Logy? Worn out after your flight from Foat Wuth got in two and a half hours late?

We’ve got just the thing...

Hot Dogs Are Good For You!

Hot dogs!

Oh, Boy - Hot Dogs!

Morris William sez: “Yes, Hot Dogs are the perfect Midnight Snack, the Quicker Picker-Upper after you’ve languished on the runway for an unplanned delay - with no food, of course. Not even one of those famous Airline Scrotum Snacks - a bag of nuts.

“Kill them Hunger Pangs dead! Eat a Hot Dog today!”

THE ENCLOSURE OF LASSITUDE

Some of my Esteemed Readers will remember my run-in with the infamous Cone of Stupidity.

Now that there’s another Cat Enclosure in the house - one with a convenient neck-size opening - you might find yourself asking whether this new device has similar Stupidity-Inducing Effects.

Let’s find out, shall we?

Elisson in the Enclosure of Lassitude

Well, no obvious impact on the old IQ - unless it is manifested in the desire to post a photograph as stupid as this one.

And yet...and yet.

For some strange reason, later that day I was seized by a strange lassitude, a case of the Logy Worn-Out Ass that resulted in my going to bed by 9:00. I haven’t gone to bed that early since I was recovering from surgery.

It’s gotta be the tent. Sucks the Life-Force right outta you.

It can only be...the Enclosure of Lassitude!

THE NEW TOY

She Who Must Be Obeyed cannot pass up the opportunity to purchase Cat Toys.

This past week, we were returning from a visit to the Jaw Surgeon in midtown Atlanta when a little light bulb suddenly appeared above SWMBO’s head in a glowing figurative nimbus.

“Why don’t we have lunch at IKEA?”

Why not, indeed. The Big Blue Box was more-or-less on the way home. Not only that, but them Swedes really know their way around a meatball...and they have that Potato-Boiling thing down cold. So I figured What the Hell. And so, within minutes, we were in the Building of Ten Thousand Bizarre Words. Haknär! Frisby! Eckstrom! Blabärsøppen! Asshöl! Studmøfn!

Veteran IKEA-goers know what I’m talking about.

Lunch was fine. SWMBO had a poached salmon plate, while I supped upon some fime gravlax. And between the two of us, we managed to kill a platter of Tiny-Ass Meatballs.

The trouble started as we worked our way toward the store exit. For IKEA is constructed in Post-Modernist Rat-Maze fashion, and it is impossible to make a staright-line dash for the exit. This, of course, is deliberate.

SWMBO saw a Cat-Tent, and of course, she had to own it. There was no use protesting.

Let’s see what Matata thought of the New Enclosure, shall we?

Tata Tent 1
Is this for me? Aww. you shouldn’t have.

Tata Tent 2
Wonder what’s inside?

Tata Tent 3
Why, I am!

Tata Tent 4
Say, this is pretty plush, Bub!

Tata Tent 5
I think I’ll keep it!

Only problem is, SWMBO wants to get one for Hakuna, too. If she does, Matata will, of course, take it over, being the Queen Bee type. So there’s really no point.