Thursday, November 30, 2006


I was on my way to George Bush Intercontinental Airport this afternoon when I realized my dick was missing.

I had had it with me earlier that day. No doubt about that; I distinctly remember using it right after lunch. But now it had gone missing.

OK, it wasn’t really my dick. It was my cellphone. But it may just as well have been my dick, for all the Diminishment of Manhood I felt when my primary means of portable communication was missing.

As I sped north on the Sam Houston Tollway at a leisurely 70 MPH, I checked every pocket. Shirt. Pants. Jacket. Everything came up empty.

Where the fuck had it gone? I mentally retraced the events of the afternoon.

Just before, I had attended a meeting in one of the satellite offices that sits just a few blocks west of the Great Corporate Salt Mine’s main compound. Upon arriving in the meeting room, I had removed my suit jacket and draped it over a chair. After about 45 minutes of listening to my colleagues feed data to a consultant, it was time to head to the airport for my flight home. I grabbed my jacket, excused myself, and left.

Aha! thought I. The phone had been in one of the jacket’s pockets and must have fallen out when I draped the jacket over the chair. That, at any rate, was the most likely scenario.

I was about to replace the phone anyway - with one of those fancy-pants Crackberries, so I could check my e-mail on the fly - but to be without a phone for even a single day is...well, it’s like being without a dick, in today’s plugged-in, high tech, space-age world. I had to get the damn thing back.

As soon as I arrived at the airport, I checked in my car and caught the bus to the terminal. Once there, I ran to the nearest pay phone.

“Pay phone”? What the hell is that?

They’re what Men Without Dicks use to make phone calls. They are thin on the ground these days, but you can always count on finding one or two, where in years past, entire banks of them stood. And I don’t miss the days when pay phones were the only way to make calls while on the road. They sucked then - and they suck even worse now, since only Desperate Losers need them anymore.

Getting the damn thing to accept my corporate credit card was an exercise in futility. I ended up feeding in five dimes, enough to make a single local call - which I did, to one of the meeting attendees. With any luck, she might have noticed the phone lying there on my chair. If not, I was screwed.

I got her voicemail and left a message asking her to call my home phone and leave a message there for me, telling me whether she had found the cellphone. As it turns out, she did find it - right where I’d figured it was, too - but when she called my house, she got a real live SWMBO instead of our answering machine.

This was Not Good...because the last time SWMBO got a call from a Great Corporate Salt Mine location from someone other than me, it was to tell her that I had been carted off to the hospital with a kidney stone. When The Missus saw the caller ID, she had one of those brief “shitting a peach pit” moments until she realized that the call was simply to let me know my dick cellphone had been found and would be express mailed to me. No kidney stone or other disaster this time.

An old proverb says that in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. But in the land of cellphones and Crackberries, the man without portable communications is...dickless.

I can’t wait to get mine back.


Time flies when you’re having fun,
And even when you’re not.
Just let enough of it go by,
You’ll end up in a plot.

Yes, indeedy: Time Flies. Or, as Eli (the Daddy d’Elisson) is wont to say, Tempus Nudgit. And four whole years have flown by since this guy up in Joisey started plastering his Creative Output on the Inter-Bloggy-Web.

Drop by and wish him well, why don’tcha?


There’s an old expression concerning the weather in Texas: If you don’t like it, stick around a few minutes. It’ll change.

True, dat.

I am in Houston, enjoying the hospitality of the Great Corporate Salt Mine. It was 70°F this morning as I gulped down a couple of cups of coffee, chased it with a glass of pulperrific orange juice, and packed my bags. Within minutes – the time it took me to get to the office - the temperature had plummeted to below 50°, and by the time I head out to the airport this afternoon, it’ll be in the low 30’s.

Welcome to fall in Houston, home of the Blue Norther.

Except for the sometimes violent storms that accompany these great, sweeping cold fronts, I have always liked Northers. They clear out all the surplus humidity and the brown funk that seems to hang in the air in this part of the world, leaving behind a crisp, clean, deep blue sky and refreshingly cool temperatures. On a more philosophical note, they’re a reminder not to be too complacent about Life As It Is – because things can change in a heartbeat. Sweat one minute, stiff-nipple chill the next.

It’s a natural human tendency to believe in trends. When the stock market is rising, everyone wants to buy. When prices of commodity chemicals are headed north, everybody in the industry wants to build a plant and get in on the action. But trends are an illusion. Cycles prevail. What goes up must come down, and vice-versa. The tricky part is figuring out when the turning point has arrived. It’s not always as obvious as a change in the wind.

Habits are comforting, and it’s natural to seek refuge in the familiar. But life happens, and when it does, enjoy that cobweb-clearing blast of cold air - even as it soaks you to the bone and freezes your stindeens off. No pleasure without a little pain, eh?

Good Gawd, am I waxing philosophical, or what? I need to post a recipe, or a cat picture...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Every once in a while, I’ll take a peek at my referrer logs only to find that this site receives visitors from some Strange Searches.

Here are some of the keywords that have sent folks my way...
  • jagshemash
  • king ranch chicken
  • deflowering
  • tim horton the hockey player’s birthday
  • dream about waterspouts
  • there are two means of refuge from the miseries of life music and cats
  • bigtime tornadoes
  • the land of the bean and the cod
  • seltzer bottles canal street nyc
  • willingway
  • springtime in savannah
  • onglet steak - recipe
  • yiddish expression to ward off evil eye
  • king ranch chicken recipe
  • tornado dream
  • bump inside ear
  • types of smoked fish
  • pachalafaka lyrics soupy
  • rectum, damn near killed
  • princeton class of 1974
  • thick bitter root beer new brunswick canada
  • pachalafaka lyrics soupy sales
  • florentine pogen lyrics meaning
  • chocolate asphalt
  • how to make donair meet
  • chunks throat
  • 007 do i look like a man who cares?
  • hanger steak
  • chanukah oy chanukah lyrics
  • hot pussy
  • man in line for santa jean shepherd the line end hers
OK, I can understand why these search terms will bring people here. For sure, I have written posts about things like Tornado Dreams, hanger steaks, and an asphalt-like hot fudge recipe.

Hell, I can even understand why someone might want to look for some of these terms on the Inter-Webby-Net. Haven’t you ever woken up in the dead of night, wondering just what Soupy Sales was singing in that dopey song?

I’m a little surprised the term “enema blog” didn’t show up. Some time back, there was apparently a whole squadron of nutcases that found this site whilst looking for an Enema Blog. Jeezus. You write one post that mentions an enema bag, and that’s the one everyone remembers you for...

But today, I saw that someone was drilling into Blogger - specifically, my site - looking for posts about boogers. Boogers! Now, who would do such a thing? And, more important, why?

Mystery solved!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Yes, I know it’s Tummy Tuesday, but here’s Neighbor - the Mistress of Sarcasm’s cat - relaxing as the Missus and I make preparations for Thanksgiving dinner. No tummy, though.


I think I know where to find a tummy...

Why, it’s Matata in her favorite Sunbathing Spot on the stair treads!

Monday, November 27, 2006


One of the little tasks I helped the Mistress of Sarcasm with this weekend was setting up the last item in her new metals and jewelry studio: the Torch.

No pussy-ass Bernz-O-Matic™ here. The Mistress uses an acetylene torch, which can generate a flame as hot as 4200°F for brazing and soldering precious metals. If that’s not hot enough, the next step upward on the Serious Hot Shit Scale is the oxy-acetylene torch, which uses pressurized oxygen instead of air as an oxidizer. But there’s no point in burning the whole fucking house down, is there? Keeping cylinders of compressed oxygen around starts getting scary.

I learned about acetylene way back in the early 1970’s while studying organic chemistry. Take two carbon molecules and hook ’em together with a single bond, and you have ethane: C2H6. Yank out two of those hydrogen atoms so that there’s a double bond between the carbons and you have ethene, AKA ethylene: C2H4. Because that double bond can be snapped open to allow those carbons to react with so many other chemicals, ethylene is one of the most versatile building block chemicals there is, used to make everything from plastics (polyethylene) to antifreeze to fertilizer.

Now pull away two more hydrogens, so that the two carbons are locked together with a triple bond. You have ethyne, AKA acetylene: C2H2. That triple bond is packed with potential energy; when acetylene burns, it burns like a motherfucker.

It’s tricky shit, this acetylene. At high pressures, it has a tendency to decompose, changing spontaneously into carbon and hydrogen. The only problem is, this decomposition is accompanied by a nice, loud deflagration. BOOM! This means you can’t just cram a whole bunch of it into a high-pressure cylinder, as you would other gases like oxygen, hydrogen, or helium. Instead, acetylene cylinders are filled with an absorbent material like kapok or diatomaceous earth into which acetone is injected: up to a third of the cylinder volume. The acetylene is then dissolved in the acetone. That way, you can get plenty of acetylene in a pressurized cylinder without it blowing up.

The Mistress is safety-conscious. She has all the goggles, gloves, and other protective equipment; she also knew to get a ratchet strap so we could attach the acetylene cylinder firmly to her workbench. You do not want a compressed gas cylinder to fall down and knock its valve off. An oxygen bottle would take off like a rocket, an unguided 100-pound missile: bad enough, but an acetylene cylinder would release a cloud of explosive gas big enough to take out half a city block. Bad, bad juju.

We got this baby set up Saturday afternoon. Strapped the cylinder, blew out the valve, attached the regulator and hose, opened the tank and regulator valves, and leak-tested all the connections. Then we fired it up. Success!

Anyone want a Crème Brulée with a nice, crispy burnt sugar glaze? The Mistress can crank ’em out for you faster’n you can say pyromaniac!


Now that the Big Weekend of Face-Stuffing By Way Of Appearing Thankful is over, I thought I’d share a few photos with my Esteemed Readers.

Here we have She Who Must Be Obeyed, the Mistress of Sarcasm, her boyfriend Mickey, and housemate Kim, relaxing in the living room prior to the Commencement o’ Festivities.

And then there are the Festivities. We ended up with a small houseful of guests that included friends of the Mistress, Mickey, and/or Kim.

Included among their number was a young fellow yclept Carson, who showed up on his racing bike with a knapsack full of fixin’s for Corn Pudding, which he proceeded to whip up in the kitchen, and a bottle of Irish whiskey.

[Like several of his contemporaries, Carson rides a bike that’s expressly designed for serious bike racing, velodrome-style. No gears, no brakes. How he manages to navigate his way through Savannah traffic without getting schmeared all over one of the Local Oaks, I have no frickin’ clue.]

Also among the happy revelers was one Voytek, who brought a bottle of homemade pickled herring; a young lady - a co-worker of Mickey and Carson - who also happened to be the niece of the Governor of Arkansas; and Josh, a guy with a strangely familiar hairstyle:

Remind you of anyone?

Does this help?

We all had a grand time. Plenty of food, and we managed to go through several bottles of wine (including one of rainwater Madeira that SWMBO took a liking to) and a couple of vats of Kriek Lambic, a Belgian cherry-flavored beer that goes better with turkey than almost anything else I’ve ever had.

Hope your Thanksgiving was just as much fun!


...may all be found at the various Carnivals that have been posted over the last couple of days.

Yes, I’m aware that cat, Jews, and food look strange when juxtaposed as they are in this post title. Suffice it to say that to Jews, cats are not food.

You want cats? Check out the Carnival of the Cats, the 140th edition of which is up (at last!) at Scribblings.

You want Jews? Go visit Haveil Havalim (“Vanity of Vanities”) number 95, over at Smooth Stone. A Smooth Stone: something all of us nephrolithiasis sufferers can appreciate!

You want food? The latest Carnival of the Recipes is on the boil at Falando pelos Cotovelos. [I’m not sure what to make of a blog that titles itself “Speaking for the Elbows,” but, well, there you are, then.]

Eat hearty! If there’s any room for food after the excesses of Thanksgiving, that is...

Sunday, November 26, 2006


“Sparky” Johnson, the town electrician
Would, at night-time, perform micturition
’Til his stream, in the dark
Struck a wire - and the spark
Taught him that he should look where he’s pishin’!

Do you like to live dangerously?

Is “Risk” your middle name? Are you the kind of poker player who’ll go all-in without even a peek at your hole cards?

Try this, Mr. Big Shot James Bond 007.

Wake up in the morning with the usual bladderful of hot, steaming piss. Head straight for the bathroom.

You don’t want to turn on the light: that’d hurt your delicate Eye-Bones.

You don’t want to sit down to pee: that’d mark you eternally as a Girly-Man.

No, what you do is stand up in front of the Porcelain Receptacle and uncoil the ol’ John Thomas, take aim and let fly. In the dark.

You’ll know right away if you’re screwing up, thanks to your finely honed sense of Pee-Sonar. Simply listen while you’re pissin’. Splashing of pee-stream in deep water is good. Splashing of pee-stream against porcelain bowl is acceptable. Splashing of pee-stream against bowl-rim is not so good.

Splashing of pee-stream against toilet tank or (horrors!) bathroom wall means you screwed up Big-Time. Be prepared to get out the towels and Lysol.

But it’s all about risk, innit? And allowing your eyes to adapt gradually to the daytime environment.

Try Wee-Wee Roulette today!

Friday, November 24, 2006


Yes, it’s Friday. Not just Friday: it’s Bloated Gut Friday.

By now, the malls are already packed with frenzied, sweaty consumers. Considering that many of them are digesting bellies full of turkey, candied yams, pumpkin pie, and Gawd knows what else, it’s a good day to stay away. For that matter, it’s a bad day to be a midget in a department store elevator.

But let us not think upon such crude and earthy matters. No, let us contemplate the fine arts, specifically that most ethereal and sublime of the arts, Music.

Aw, fuck it. Let’s just listen to whatever shit Elisson’s Little White Choon-Box is playing. Here ya go:
  1. Cours d’Amours - In Trutina - Christian Thielemann, Orff: Carmina Burana
  2. Revolution 9 - The Beatles
  3. The Blimp (mousetrapreplica) - Captain Beefheart

    Master, master
    This is recorded thru a fly’s ear
    ’N’ you have t’ have a fly’s eye t’ see it
    It’s the thing that’s gonna make Captain Beefheart
    And his Magic Band fat
    Frank it’s the big hit
    It’s the blimp
    It’s the blimp, Frankie
    It’s the blimp

    When I see you floatin’ down the gutter
    I’ll give you a bottle o’ wine
    Put me on the white hook
    Back in the fat rack
    Shadrach ee shack
    The sumptin’ hoop, the sumptin’ hoop
    The blimp, the blimp
    The drazy hoops, the drazy hoops
    They’re camp, they’re camp
    Tits, tits, the blimp, the blimp
    The mother ship, the mother ship
    The brothers hid under their hood
    From the blimp, the blimp
    Children, stop yer nursin’ unless yer renderin’ fun
    The mother ship, the mother ship
    The mother ship’s the one
    The blimp, the blimp
    The tapes a trip it’s a trailin’ tail
    It’s traipsin’ along behind the blimp, the blimp
    The nose has a crimp
    The nose is the blimp, the blimp!
    It blows the air, the snoot isn’t fair
    Look up in the sky, there’s a dirigible there!
    The drazy hoops whir
    You can see them just as they were
    All the people stir
    ’N’ the girls’ knees tremble
    ’N’ run ’n’ wave their hands
    ’N’ run their hands over the blimp, the blimp
    Daughter don’t you dare
    Oh momma, who cares?
    It’s the blimp, it’s the blimp!

  4. Vega-Tables - Brian Wilson
  5. Interlude - Matisyahu
  6. Razor Boy - Steely Dan
  7. Honey Pie - The Beatles
  8. You Know What You Could Be - The Incredible String Band
  9. Old Master Painter/You Are My Sunshine - Brian Wilson
  10. Another Girl - The Beatles
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


Neighbor, the Mistress’s cat, contemplates Black Friday. She thinks it’s named after her.

After the culinary excess of Thanksgiving, today is the day our overburdened digestive systems catch up with the burden we have laid upon them.

Owing to the Mistress of Sarcasm’s work schedule, we did not sit down to our Thanksgiving banquet until after 8:00 last evening...which meant that the dishes and debris were finally cleared away sometime well after midnight. My kishkes are still rumbling. But at least it’s a happy rumble.

As the sun breaks over what the merchants call Black Friday, it’s as good a time as any to remind my Esteemed Readers that the Edition 114 of the Friday Ark has already put to sea today over at the Modulator. And Yours Truly is topping the bill for the second week in a row! Woo-Hoo!

Of course, Sunday evening is time for Carnival of the Cats. Scribblings will be playing host to the the 140th Carnival; be sure to stop by and say hello to all the kitties.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Today is Thanksgiving Day - at least, for people living in the United States of America. Our brethren north of the border celebrate in October, and who can blame them? If they waited until November, pretty much everything would be frozen solid.

The Missus is preparing a full-blown Food Extravaganza for the Mistress of Sarcasm and her friends. There will be assorted olives and pickled garlic cloves. There will be Sweet and Sour Meatballs. There will be Crab and Artichoke Dip. There will be Maple-Roast Turkey with Foccaccia Stuffing. There will be Sausage-Brown Rice Stuffing with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins. There will be Carrot Soufflé, Sweet Potato Pudding, and Spinach-Jalapeño Cheese Casserole. There will be cranberry sauce, both jellied and whole-berry. There will be giblet gravy and Green Bean Casserole with Fried Onion Topping, these last two my sole contributions to the menu, and both (like everything else) made from scratch with fresh ingredients. None of that Cream of Mushroom Soup crap here, brothah.

Did someone mention dessert? There will be two hideously delicious pies from Greenwood’s on Green Street: one blackberry, one Holy Shit Chocolate By Gawd! And a pile of Mexican Chocolate Cookies I cooked up Tuesday night. Coffee and a nice Cossart Gordon Rainwater Madeira complete the picture.

OK, so we will eat well, and that is certainly something to be thankful for.

Gratitude is an emotion that ill befits the average human being. For all that we have - a constant, if not excessive, supply of provender; comfortable shelter and warm, even fashionable, clothing; the good fortune of living in a country that enshrines the right to the pursuit of happiness in its Constitution; inexpensive and safe transport; 21st-century medical care, including that great gift Anesthesia - we should be thankful every day, not just on one convenient, all-purpose occasion.

And in fact, many of us are.

There is a prayer recited by observant Jews three times a day - four times on Sabbaths, holidays, and New Moons. It is the Amidah - literally, the Standing Prayer. It is also popularly called the Shemoneh-Esrei - the Eighteen - because the weekday version originally comprised eighteen separate benedictions. [Today, it’s nineteen, but who’s counting?]

One of those benedictions, Modim, is a prayer of thanksgiving...and one of the little things that I find most striking about Modim is that it includes thanks for everyday miracles.

Think about the myriads upon myriads of little things that we take for granted. Our ability to reproduce. The millions of chemical processes that enable us to live, to think, to ask questions, to wonder who and what we really are. The fact that we live in a world where life, as we know it, is even possible. All those wondrous little things that we take for granted...because to walk around with a degree of gratitude commensurate with the miracle of our daily existence would render us completely paralyzed, immobile.

Reflect upon those daily miracles today...and, possibly, for a minute or so every day. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were on our way to Savannah. About halfway through the voyage, our growling stomachs - and our car’s fuel indicator needle - told us that it was time to stop for a snack and a tank refill.

And a tank emptying, if you catch my drift. The human bladder can only tolerate so much abuse...

As we wandered the aisles of the Fuel Stop and Convenience Store looking for something to eat - how many kinds of beef jerky are there, anyway? - my horror-struck eye was drawn to the hot dog machine. You all have seen these machines, the ones that cook hot dogs on banks of slowly-turning rollers. The frankfurters have an evil, greasy sheen, looking only marginally more appetizing than the ones that sit in the hot water tanks of big-city vendors. But what caught my attention was a brace of particularly vile-looking sausages that were lazily revolving on those hot rollers, front and center in the machine. They were dark brown and knobbly-textured, reminding me like nothing so much as machine-produced turds.

What were these horrors?

Turns out they were Oscar Meyer cheeseburger-dogs: a cylindrical cheeseburger in the guise of a hot dog. Wotta concept, innit? I walked away from the machine, shaking my head. What the fuck will they think of next?

All this goggling at the latest product of American fast-food perversity ingenuity wasn’t getting me any closer to a snack, though. And so, within moments, I had gravitated to the Cheez ’n’ Crackers section.

Every convenience store and snack vending machine in America, seemingly, offers up some version of the Prepackaged Cheez ’n’ Cracker, that quintessential Truck-Stop Snack Food. I use the term Cheez ’n’ Cracker in the generic sense: whether or not any cheese molecules are present, the essential features are two crackers, between which is sandwiched a Mysterious Substance. These little sandwiches are then packed six to a package inside a stiff, transparent plastic packet that requires the use of bolt cutters to open.

We had several options from which to choose. There were the blobs of fluorescent orange cheezoid material (plain or Bacon! Flavor!) sandwiched between white saltines. There were the bright orange crackers, between which was jammed a brown substance purported to be peanut butter. And for those with Yuppie Snot aspirations (hint - stay away from truck stops), there were the Captain’s Crackers with a freeze-dried cream cheese - chive blend.

Any resemblance between any of these Snacky Items and the real cheese-on-a-cracker that they represented themselves as, is purely coincidental. But that is mere carping. My packet - I chose the bright orange cheezified saltines with the pee-bee-oid goop - lasted exactly twenty seconds after we pulled away from the Fuel Stop.

The Great Tactical Decision: do you just eat the whole damn thing? Or do you separate the layers, Oreo-style, and eat the filling first? Inquiring minds want to know...

Cheez ’n’ Crackers! Got all muddy!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


...I would have to shoot myself.

[Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to Brandon Hoover of javajive for the link. Be sure to wander over to his site and check out his remarkable photographs, most of which have been taken in Indonesia.]

Monday, November 20, 2006


Hakuna and Matata enjoy a rare meal together.

“After you.”

“No, after you.”

“I insist. After you.”

“No, I insist. After you.”

“Please - go ahead.”

“No, no, no. You first. Please.”

“I insist. After you.”

“Aw, fuckit. I’m eating.”

“Me too.”

Generally, Hakuna will let Matata eat her fill before digging in. Lately, however, the girls have been dining together. It may be a consequence of a recent change in their Dry Food Pellets, a change that both of them appear to have wholeheartedly endorsed...but who knows?

Kibble: It’s what’s for dinner!


It was the last day of September, and, it being a Saturday, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I went to synagogue.

That day, an extraordinary young man celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. Poised and self-assured, he conducted services in a clear, strong voice (even managing to carry the tunes) and read his Torah and Haftarah portions flawlessly.

I see a lot of B’nei Mitzvah, being a regular shul-goer. And since I serve as one of the congregation’s gabbaim, standing at the Reader’s Table during the Torah service, I see them and their families up close and personal. I’m here to tell you that this young man was a true standout. Cool, collected, and confident, he seemed wise beyond his thirteen years.

After the Torah service, the young man delivered his Bar Mitzvah speech in the same clear, strong voice with which he led Shacharit – the morning service - so beautifully. There was not a dry eye in the house.

For a shadow hung over what would normally be a joyous lifecycle event. The young man’s mother was struggling with breast cancer, and despite her outwardly healthy appearance, the most recent news from the doctors had not been good...and everyone knew it. This would be a happy day, but a dark future lay ahead for this family.

Two days later, it was Yom Kippur, the most solemn and sacred day of the year.

I sat on the bimah during the Rabbi’s Yizkor sermon, having just davened Hineni, the Chazzan’s Prayer. Once Yizkor, the special memorial service, was over, I would lead the Musaf service...but at the moment, the Rabbi held the pulpit, along with the rapt attention of over a thousand people.

Yizkor is conducted four times a year, but it is only on Yom Kippur that it is accompanied by a sermon. And this sermon, given the somber subject matter, is always a tear-jerker. For me, this year’s was no exception – but for an exceptional reason.

As I sat on the Bimah a mere fifteen feet from the Rabbi’s lectern, directly in my line of sight sat the family of the young man who had celebrated his Bar Mitzvah only two days before. The mother had her eyes closed; whether dozing or meditating, it was not possible to say. Meanwhile, her husband - and their two children, who had elected to remain in the sanctuary for Yizkor - listened intently to the sermon. And as I watched them, I could not help but imagine what they must have been thinking as they listened to the Rabbi:

“This is our last Yom Kippur together.”

I wiped away a few stray tears, tears that had come unbidden to my eyes, and tried to focus on the Rabbi’s sermon and on the job that lay ahead of me. It was not easy. My sole consolation was having seen the family enjoying a happy occasion together just two days earlier. More than just happy: extraordinary. A young man’s parting gift to his mother, a day of unalloyed nachas – of joy.

Time passes, as it must, and October gave way to November. The air cooled, taking on its autumn snap; the trees sparkled in their seasonal colors; the leaves began to fall. And then last week we got the sad news that the young man’s mother had lost her struggle, succumbing at the too-young age of 45. This time the grim Visitor was expected, though that did not make his appearance any easier.

Losing your mother to an untimely illness is painful enough, as I can personally attest; to lose your mother at such an early age is that much more difficult. She will not be there to see her son graduate from middle school, high school, university. She will not be there when he gets married; she will never know her grandchildren.

But for whatever comfort it provides, I saw her eyes shine with pride that last day of September 2006, when she saw her son assume the spiritual responsibilities of adulthood – and I will never forget her smile.


Yet more podcasting fun.

I’ve re-recorded a few of my older 100-word stories that had previously been ’casted by Laurence Simon’s midget sex slave.

That’s what happens when you write a story for a Weekly Challenge while you’re on the road without your USB microphone. Lair trots out the midget and records your story in an Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks-meets-the-Gimp voice.

But I’ve now set the record(ing) straight, as it were.

Click here to listen!

PupuPlayer FREE

And don’t forget to check out Weekly Challenge #31 over at the 100 Word Stories Podcast. Eric (the Straight White Guy) and K-Nine (Dead Dog Walkin’) both have entries this week!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


An Aston-Martin with an ejection seat. A semi-nude woman covered head to toe in gold paint. A woman with an inexplicably amusing name. A black derby hat that doubled as a deadly Frisbee. A laser beam creeping inexorably toward a man’s crotch. A man electrocuted in a bathtub, accompanied by the snappy comment, “Shocking, isn’t it?”

I was in eighth grade, and I had never seen a movie quite like Goldfinger. It took weeks for my eyes to settle back down into their sockets.

James Bond, impeccably portrayed by the one and only Sean Connery, was a new kind of hero. Suave, sophisticated, and dangerous in the extreme, it seemed there was no peril he could escape, no mission he could not accomplish. He functioned in a world that was perfectly tailored for the edification of the eighth grade male mind, replete with fast cars, faster women, and a rich supply of snappy double-entendres.

The first few Bond movies were classics of their kind: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger (which is where I came in), Thunderball. Each different, but with similar structure and with the same tropes.

Megalomaniacal villain. Jazzy music played over the title. Vodka martinis, shaken - not stirred. The Aston-Martin. Beautiful women, at least one of which would end up falling in love with (or, at the very least, playing the Two-Backed Beast with) Mr. Bond, the man with a license to kill and an endorsement on that license that permitted him to roger every attractive bimbo he could get his mitts on.

Eventually, as Sean Connery got longer in the tooth, he was replaced in the role - but never in our hearts - by a succession of other actors. George Lazenby jumped in for 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, after which Connery returned to play Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), a film that I remember seeing in Washington, D.C. in its original theatrical run.

Roger Moore took over the 007 duties beginning with Live and Let Die in 1973, a film that featured a theme song performed by Paul McCartney and Wings (feh). Moore’s version of Bond lasted for seven films in all, after which Timothy Dalton jumped in for two films in the late 1980’s.

Pierce Brosnan, who would have taken the role in lieu of Dalton but who was prevented from doing so by his then-in-force contract to play Remington Steele on television, assumed the Sacred Mantle in 1995, in the film Goldeneye. I had always felt that Brosnan would make a good Bond, but somehow, I managed to let all of his films slip by me. By then, I was a long, long way from giving Shit One about James Bond. Wha’ hoppen?

Over time, the Bond movies were not content to merely settle into their formula; rather, they tried harder and harder to beat it to death. The plots became ever more far-fetched, the villians ever more megalomaniacal, the effects ever more improbable. The opening gambits preceding the title and credits got more and more elaborate, packed with ever more ridiculous gadgets, ever more impossible stunts. The films continued to make money (lots of it), but something was missing. Speaking for myself, I could never bring myself to sit through any of them.

I’ll mention in passing two Bond films that fall outside of the EON Productions canon: the 1967 version of Casino Royale, which starred David Niven as Bond and was more a spoof than a serious attempt to make a James Bond movie; and 1983’s Never Say Never Again, in which a now grey-haired, balding Connery reprised his performance as Bond in an updated version of Thunderball. Until last night, Never Say Never Again was the last Bond movie I saw in a theater...23 years ago.

Which brings me to last night, when the Missus and I joined some friends to see the new Casino Royale, featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond.

The EON folks have succeeded in doing something I didn’t think they had the nerve to do - or the brains to realize was necessary. They have reinvented James Bond. Brought him back to his roots, so to speak.

Craig is not the debonair-looking Connery. He’s chiseled, rough, violent, dangerous, and brooding. Craig brings a few layers to the character that had never been seen in any of his prior film incarnations...and if you want to read more, you’ll have to do it below the fold. Caution: there be spoilers.

Casino Royale - the 2006 version - dispenses with a lot of the old James Bond shtick. The opening gambit is no longer a special effects-driven, gadget-packed actionfest. It’s relatively short, but it is gritty and extremely violent, characteristics that are emphasized by its being shot in grainy black-and-white.

The movie is packed with action: good old-fashioned stunt work, none of that CGI nonsense that I could detect. Bond is capable of almost superhuman feats of running, jumping, chasing, and basically Beating the Shit Out of the Bad Guys, but he displays a very human core as he learns the Basic Lesson of Spycraft: Trust no one.

There are none of the urbane witticisms we’ve come to associate with the old Bond, none of those stupid-ass double entendres having to do with sex or murder. It’s refreshing when Bond orders a vodka martini and the bartender asks, “Shaken or stirred?”

“Do I look like I give a damn?” is Bond’s semi-exasperated answer.

There is none of the traditional business of Bond sailing off into the sunset, girl in hand. This movie ends on a note that befits the new Craig version of Bond and stamps the character with his own unique seal. Take it to the bank, Esteemed Ones: Craig owns this role now, in a way that even Connery barely did in his prime.

It’s like being back in eighth grade again...minus the hormones and angst.

“Bond. James Bond.” Indeed.

CARNIVAL OF THE CATS #139 up at Mind of Mog.

The Mogster shows other prospective Carnival hosts what it’s all about. No simple exercise of cutting and pasting code from the ol’ In-Box, this post is a labor of love, the kind of carnival that you get only by reading every submission and writing an appropriate link-paragraph for each one. Sure, it’s a lot of work...but isn’t anything worth visiting?

Exceptions are made in cases such as last week’s Carnival, when Laurence Simon had to scramble to fill in for a no-show host. The ol’ Cut ’n’ Paste Job is perfectly suited to such occasions!

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Yesterday, as I traipsed out to the mailbox to retrieve the day’s pile of worthless bulk advertising, real estate offers, solicitations for mortgage refinances, threats from creditors bills, and slick catalogs, I almost stumbled ass-over-teakettle over a box that was conveniently placed just outside our side door.

“Goody!” thought I to myself. “An unexpected package!”

Most of the time, I like the unexpected package. This is probably a stupid attitude to cop in the early 21st century, what with mail bombs and other Pleasant Surprises, but since most of my experience with unexpected packages has been good, I approach them with pleasant anticipation, not dread.

A quick look at the return address established that my brother, that most esteemed Other Elisson, had sent the package. But whatever could it be?

Turns out that, buried in a nest of bubble wrap (Oh boy! Bubble wrap!), was a small paper sack filled with a substance I had never even known existed.

The Philosopher’s Stone? Spanish Fly? No, silly! (I already knew about those.)

It was Black Cocoa, from the same folks in Vermont who bring you King Arthur Flour.

Seems that my kid brother, when he was up in Vermont taking his Hot-Air Balloon Ride a few weeks ago, stopped in at the King Arthur Flour flagship store in Norwich. King Arthur is revered by Bakey People as the producer of some of the best flours on the planet, a statement I’m sure will be backed up by the Bakerina, who has taken professional breadbaking classes at the King Arthur compound.

The Black Cocoa caught his eye and he immediately thought of me...because let’s face it, them as know me know I have a most powerful Chocolate Jones much of the time, as well as an appetite for the unusual.

According to the package, Black Cocoa should generally be used in combination with another type of cocoa (e.g., regular or Dutch-process cocoa) due to its distinctive - perhaps overpowering - flavor profile. It’s used to make cookies such as Oreo™ and Famous Chocolate Wafers™ and is the reason those cookies are almost black in appearance.

Just for the hell of it, I decided to compare this mystical Black Cocoa with the boring, normal-ass variety of cocoa I keep in the Pantry d’Elisson. I opened the sack...

...and lo and behold! This shit is as black as the ace of spades! Well, not quite. But it is a very dark brown, reminiscent (for obvious reasons) of the color of an Oreo cookie. Makes the other cocoas look positively wimpy by comparison.

I can’t wait to try it. Perhaps a nice batch of Black Cocoa cookies will demonstrate its awesome powers...


I just made a batch of Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies, using half Dutch-process and half black cocoa. These cookies come out dark enough when made with Dutch-process cocoa, but with the black cocoa thrown in they are like chips of asphalt, inky and mysterious-looking. Delicious, too, with a subtle Oreo-like flavor note.

But working with that stuff in the kitchen is a challenge. It’s like Carbon Black...gets everywhere. Yeef!

You want the recipe for them cookies? It’s below the fold...

Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies

Makes 40 cookies.
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted

  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa (for this batch I used half Dutch-process and half black cocoa)

  • Generous pinch cayenne

  • Generous pinch freshly grated black pepper

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 egg, large or extra-large

  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Sift together the flour, cocoa, cayenne, black pepper, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream the butter, then add the sugar and vanilla and beat until well-mixed. Add the egg and beat in well, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula periodically. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and beat only until incorporated. The dough will try to climb up the beaters; if this happens, scrape it off and keep beating.

Flour a large board (and your hands) and form the dough into a 10" cylinder; wrap in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and freeze for at least an hour....or as long as you want. The log will keep for months.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F and arrange oven racks in the middle third of the oven.

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough cylinder into 1/4"-thick slices and arrange on a cookie sheet. The cookies will expand when baked, so leave enough room when placing them on the sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes, turning the sheets and switching them from one rack to the other halfway through in order to ensure even baking. Remove from oven and, using a metal spatula, transfer immediately to a cooling rack.

Try not to eat the whole fucking batch at once. It won’t be easy.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Bazooka Jew
[Click to embiggen]

There’s a Chassidic guy
With a patch on his eye
And a wad of gum to chew
You’ll forget your troubles
When you see kosher bubbles
They call him Bazooka Jew.

Oh, he’s used to stares
When he’s saying his prayers
’N’ blowin’ bubbles, too -
Working his jaw
Like a mother-in-law,
My buddy, Bazooka Jew.

The rabbi said “It’s pretty weird -
But the gum doesn’t stick to his beard!”

He might be in Dallas
A-schleppin’ his tallis,
Or Fort Worth - or Timbuktu.
And now and again,
When I hear “Pop - amen!
I know it’s Bazooka Jew.

[Inspired by Velociman’s recent Bazooka Joe post, this poem would also make a dandy song if set to music. Anyone? Anyone? Rahel?]


My friend Houston Steve - you’ve possibly read about him here in an earlier post or two - and I share an interesting history, us having owned the same house in Houston (at different times).

One time, She Who Must Be Obeyed, Elder Daughter and I were at the Local Bagel and Smoked Fish Emporium grabbing some lunch, when we discovered Houston Steve dining there with his wife and daughter, a daughter who was fairly close in age to our own E. D. We introduced the girls to one another, whereupon SWMBO said something to the effect of, “It’s about time you girls met one another - you were conceived in the same bedroom.”

True enough, although I’m sure it was something neither of them wanted to think too much about.

Or maybe not. Elder Daughter immediately grasped the Comic Potential of a new TV series: “The Conception Connection.” Take two people conceived in the same place at different times. How do their lives intersect and connect? Perhaps she can pitch the idea to her new employer...

Houston Steve tends to harbor dark thoughts of conspiracies from time to time. He is convinced that there is a Great Razor Blade Conspiracy. Whenever the Big Razor Companies - by which he means Gillette - decide to introduce a New Shaving Breakthrough, Steve believes that they precede said introduction by subtly degrading the performance of the Old Technology. That way, when the Great New Thing comes along, its advantages are magnified.

Think about it. When triple-bladed, lube-stripped, swivel-headed, vibrating handle razors came along (the Gillette M3 Power), they were the greatest thing since sliced face bread. Close shaves, blades that lasted a good two weeks. And yet, today, it seems that some of the bloom is off the rose. The shaves are not quite as close, the blades not quite as durable. So when the new five-bladed Fusion razor came along (I tried it when a free sample showed up in the mail), it was like the Second Coming. (Or the First Coming, for us Jewishy-type people.)

Was it really all that? Was it better than the old three-bladed razors at their best...or was it just better than today’s dumbed-down Old Technology version of the three-bladed razor?

Something to think about as you scrape your face.

Meanwhile, Houston Steve’s latest paranoid fantasy ( it?) has to do with Ken Lay, infamous CEO of Enron whose conviction on eighty-five billion charges of Fucking the American Consumer and Investor was vacated after his shocking and unexpected death.

I wonder if anybody actually saw the corpus delicti...because there are about forty-three million reasons why it would have been a smart move for him to fake his own death. That’s how many dollars his family would have had to cough up had his conviction stood. The SEC will still go after the money, but in the civil courts, where it will take years. By then, my bet is that it will be safely squirreled away offshore.

Houston Steve painted a picture of a suntanned Lay, relaxing in the Grand Cayman sun, having been spirited away before his so-called “cremation.” And I gotta admit, it’s not so far-fetched. Beats getting reamed by a 375-pound cellmate named Bubba while your family learns to appreciate the joy of Kraft Macaroni ’n’ Cheese in lieu of fine Bordeaux and beef tenderloin.

Just how paranoid are you?


What? Friday already?!!?

Yes indeedy, and that means it’s time for this week’s assortment of Random Tune-Spewage from Elisson’s little ol’ iPod. Now hear this!
  1. Aisha - Khaled
  2. Mama Roux - Dr. John
  3. Act III - King, Part 2 - Philip Glass, Satyagraha
  4. Run Away! - Monty Python’s Spamalot
  5. Two Of Us - The Beatles
  6. The Worst Pies In London - Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd

    Mrs. Lovett:

    A customer!
    Wait! What’s your rush?
    What’s your hurry?
    You gave me such a...
    fright! I thought you was a ghost!
    Half a minute, can’t ya sit?
    Sit ya down!
    All I meant is that I haven’t seen a customer for weeks.
    Did ya come here for a pie, sir?
    Do forgive me if my head’s a little vague.
    What is that?
    But you’d think we had the plague.
    From the way that people
    keep avoiding!
    No you don’t!
    Heaven knows I try, sir!
    But there’s no one comes in even to inhale!
    Right you are, sir, would you like a drop of ale?
    Mind you I can hardly blame them!
    These are probably the worst pies in London.
    I know why nobody cares to take them!
    I should know!
    I make them!
    But good? No...
    The worst pies in London...
    Even that’s polite! The worst pies in London!
    If you doubt it take a bite!

    Sweeney Todd: (spoken)


    Mrs. Lovett: (sung)

    Is that just disgusting?
    You have to concede it!
    It’s nothing but crusting!
    Here drink this, you’ll need it.
    The worst pies in London
    And no wonder with the price of meat
    what it is
    when you get it.
    Never thought I’d live to see the day.
    Men’d think it was a treat
    findin’ poor
    what are dyin’ in the street.
    Mrs. Mooney has a pie shop.
    Does a business, but I notice something weird.
    Lately, all her neighbors’ cats have disappeared.
    Have to hand it to her!
    What I calls,
    Poppin’ pussies into pies!
    Wouldn’t do in my shop!
    Just the thought of it’s enough to make you sick!
    And I’m telling you them pussycats is quick.
    No denying times is hard, sir!
    Even harder than the worst pies in London.
    Only lard and nothing more -
    Is that just revolting?
    All greasy and gritty?
    It looks like it’s molting!
    And tastes like...well, pity.
    A woman alone...with limited wind
    And the worst pies in London!
    Ah, sir
    Times is hard.
    Times is hard.

  7. Corcovado - Stan Getz & João Gilberto
  8. Shine - Django Reinhardt
  9. Animal Zoo - Spirit
  10. Wise Up - Aimee Mann
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


Matata demonstrates her love of Enclosed Spaces by clambering into a laundry basket.

She has asked me to remind my Esteemed Readers that the 113th Friday Ark sets sail today (on a seven-day tour) at the Modulator.

Sunday evening, don’t forget to swing by the Carnival of the Cats, the 139th edition of which will be hosted by Mind of Mog.

Where has Hakuna been lately? You may well ask...

Well, she was cuddled up next to She Who Must Be Obeyed, until Miss Matata shooed her away.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Some of the fine scenery in North Georgia this time of year, in a photograph taken not too far from Dahlonega.

Only problem with this picture is, if I look at it long enough, I get an irresistible urge to take a whiz...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


The rough hands of a dozen troops dragged the shackled Knight before his grotesque captor.

Jinn pondered his situation ruefully. He had escaped from a horde of Imperial Stormtroopers only to stumble into the clutches of the infamous Jabba, the crime syndicate’s Big Cheese.

He even looked like a cheese, an overripe Brie that had sat outdoors on a hot day. Feh.

But Jabba the Huttvarti was a businessman above all else. And now, Jinn was competition.

As they hauled him toward the Matter Convertor, Queso-Gon Jinn, Swiss Knight, felt an extra-sharp pang of regret at having left the Cheddi.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


The big department stores must be hurting for business. That, or they are gearing up for what they believe will be a fiercely competitive holiday shopping season.

The first clue was a little over a month ago, when She Who Must Be Obeyed and I visited the local Shopping Mall. Now, normally, mall-hopping is not a pleasant experience for us Members of the Masculine Gender, and so therefore I try to avoid it whenever possible. However, Perimeter Mall – one of the local Shopping Megaplexes – has created some mitigating circumstances: namely, the presence an Apple store. Coupled with the siren lure of the Godiva and Lindt chocolate shops, there is almost a magnetic attraction for the Blogging Dufus. With this in mind, I will actually permit myself to be dragged along on one of SWMBO’s expeditions.

It turns out that Dillard’s – one of the Anchor Stores at Perimeter – was having a men’s clothing sale that I can only characterize as desperate. Perfectly wearable stuff was slashed 70%...with additional discounts taken at the register. Nice sport shirts, the type I wear for almost all knockabout purposes, were going for a mere sawbuck. And good-quality suits, the kind you normally will drop close to seven bills on, were going for less than $150.

Holy. Crap.

We loaded up with a pile of miscellaneous stuff and departed happily. So far, nothing too far out of the ordinary. All we had seen simply evinced a competitive spirit on the part of Dillard’s. Highly competitive. But the next time we hied ourselves over to Perimeter, things began to get surreal.

The Missus was in need of New Clothing. Not so much because of the normal seasonal fashionista-diktats, but because she had almost nothing that fit, owing to the substantial weight loss that followed her jaw surgery this summer. Last fall’s clothes hung loosely from her frame, and so new duds were in order.

In our search for attractive new clothing, we set foot in Bloomingdale’s for the first time in years. Lo and behold, SWMBO actually found some reasonably-priced items that fit her perfectly. We went to check out.

Our cashier was an attractive, extremely helpful young lady who convinced us to open a Bloomingdale’s charge account – as if we needed Yet Another Credit Account. But there was a substantial discount as incentive, and so we went ahead. So far, nothing unusual.

A few days later, we received a card in the mail from our helpful young lady, thanking us for our business. This, in and of itself, was a nice touch. Hmmm, thinks I, this must be a highly professional and customer-oriented Up-and-Coming Business Person!

That’s when I saw the poem. In addition to the card, the cashier had written a four-stanza poem inspired by our new Business Relationship. A bit beyond the call of duty, but...mmmmkay.

Three days later, a longer poem showed up – twelve pages of dactylic hexameter in blank – accompanied by a pair of gold cufflinks (for me) and a Prada bag (for SWMBO). The card read, “Thanks for being my special customers! XOXOXO!!”


A couple of days ago, the UPS guy shows up with a case of Scotch (15-year-old Balvenie single malt, if you must know) and a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes. This is about when I started getting a wee bit concerned.

Worried that all this crap was going to end up on our new Bloomie’s charge, I called the store. No, they said – Miss Y___ just wanted to thank her very special customers.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I think it smacks a little of desperation, and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. And SWMBO says that if Cashier Lady shows up at the house looking for a three-way, she’ll get a clout upside of her head.

“Don’t be hasty,” I told her. What’s wrong with a little Thanks In Kind for our stimulating the local economy?


In the old days of TeeVee, programmers and writiers would spice things up by having various performers do “guest shots” - a practice that continues unto this very day. Witness Chevy Chase in a recent episode of Law and Order, in which the old funnyboy actually displays some serious acting chops.

Likewise my humble site, where I am not above employing the occasional guest in order to keep things interesting.

Last week, f’rinstance, I posted a picture of the Mistress of Sarcasm’s cat Neighbor.

This week, for Tummy Tuesday, I happen to have a few shots of Fred, the more gregarious of Eric’s two kitties, in full Tummy-Skritching Flagrante Delicto...

“Ah, but who is doing the skritching?” you ask. The answer is below the fold...

Why, it’s the Mullet-Man hizzownself, getting some hot kitty action!

[Feel free to insert your own gratuitous Pussy-Rubbing joke here.]

Technorati tags: Tummy Tuesday, Cats, Catblogging

Monday, November 13, 2006


Astute filmgoers will recognize the above catchphrase cum greeting from the film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, now enjoying the Number One box office slot for the second consecutive week. Borat himself, of course, is the creation of Sacha Baron Cohen, a British comedian and actor.

She Who Must Be Obeyed and I enjoyed a couple of Borat moments during these past several days. Last Sunday, as we walked north from the Mall in Washington, D.C. toward Elder Daughter’s apartment, we passed the Kazakhstani Embassy. I was seized with a sudden urge to making sexytime with SWMBO right then and there...but what with having Elder Daughter with us, I was able to restrain myself.

Yesterday, at breakfast with our friends Dr. Marc and Shelly, we discovered that their youngest daughter - a resident of New York - broke her Yom Kippur fast with none other than Sacha Baron Cohen himself. Turns out he is close friends with one of her co-workers.

Borat, despite the consternation he has caused amongst the ruling elite of Kazakhstan, is a purely fictional character. He’s funny in part because Kazakhstan is a blank space on the map to most Americans, where it is all to easy to believe that they make cheese from human breast milk and wine from fermented horse urine.

The other, less-acknowledged source of humor in Borat is simpler: it’s the fact that foreigners who speak mangled English are funny as hell. Admit it!

To illustrate this point, let’s take a Random Page from my referrer stats, a blog called Every Thing about Science and Space. Sounds serious, innit? But it is, in fact, a rich source of unintentional Found Humor - because the guy who writes it is sitting in Bucharest, Romania, and he is, to put it graciously, somewhat English-Challenged.

I suspect that Dimake - so he calls himself - has stumbled upon an Internet Romanian-English Translation Site, for the English is reminiscent of the instruction manuals you used to get with inexpensive Japanese cameras back in the early 1960’s. Check it out:
GPS-Endowed pigeons enlist to you like Bloggers pollution

If the pigeons wrote their own ones blogs, could speak about where to notice the bread crumb or to find the points roosting main. Hour, for means of fagotti high technology many small, the pigeons really have become bloggers-but they are messages of shipment approximately the smog of California.

In a plan known like PigeonBlog, the sensors in the fagotti collect the data on toxic gases, which the carbon monoxide and dioxide of nitrogen, poich the birds traversano through skies of the city. The information then are transmitted of new to a calculating center them, that it automatically sendes a program of the concentration of the polluting substances on the Internet.

Avian Reporters

Beatriz da Costa, a university professor of the limbs, the calculation and engineering to the university of California, Irvine, dreammed on the idea. One of the inspirations for the plan was muovendo towards California and “seeing the smog in L.A.,” it has said. “It is enough defective outside here.”

Around at the same time camera around to the relative neck has worked through one photo of one hundred years of a pigeon with one.

“The pigeons were annull one of ours first arrange of delivery,” Coast of from saying.

It has decided to modernize this idea for ventunesimo the century and “to use the pigeons as journalists in order to signal on a situation put into effect them.”
I’ve taken the liberty of copying the entire post, but it’s worth visiting the site to see some of Dimake’s other fine examples of English composition. Borat himself would be proud.

Is it juvenile and in poor taste to make fun of a foreigner’s lousy English? Sure it is! I imagine that my Romanian would be even funnier to a native Romanian...and I’m OK with that. Let ’em point their fingers at me and snicker.

To paraphrase Galileo, “Nevertheless, it still makes me laugh until I shit.”

Sunday, November 12, 2006


We were sitting in the airport waiting lounge last week, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I, and she graciously handed me a small box of raisins. A convenient snack.

I looked at the little dried grapes as they lay there in my hand like little mouse turds. Raisins are not especially pretty, are they? But they pack a nice, grapey flavor punch. I am especially fond of golden raisins, which offer flavor notes of apricot and peach. For Thanksgiving, the Missus makes an Italian sausage and rice dressing with pine-nuts and golden raisins, and it is those raisins, I believe, that transform the dish from something merely extraordinary to one that is sublime.

I’ll cop to being a dried fruit aficionado. Prunes - the current politically correct term is, I believe, “dried plums” - are raisins writ large, brownish-purple and wrinkled like a pensioner’s nutsack. Cute, no - but they are tasty. Likewise dried apricots, pears, nectarines, and peaches. Stewed in a little orange juice and with some rum or Cognac thrown in, they make a fine dessert; eaten out of hand, they are a fine snack. I also will chop ’em into little chunks and scatter ’em on my breakfast cereal.

Dried fruit is also eminently transportable and long-lasting. When it gets old, it does not decompose; it petrifies. Hot water will revive it.

There are, of course, a few serious drawbacks to eating dried fruit. Every rose must have its thorn, alas.

Drawback the first is the high calorie content. Prunes, raisins, and their cousins are high in sugar carbohydrates, packing a serious calorie wallop. Eating a prune, after all, is like eating a plum, but without the moisture load. You get all of the calories and all of the carbs of the original fruit.

Drawback the second is the high fiber content. This, on the face of it, is a Good Thing. Fiber keeps the old kishkes exercised, simultaneously slowing the absorption of all those carbs. But fiber is a double-edged sword. Too much, and you get to experience the reason prunes have developed a fearsome reputation as Old-Folks Fodder: their pronounced Laxative Effect.

Much as I’d love to eat a whole honkin’ bag of prunes at one sitting, I know that I - and any random passersby who happened to be in my immediate vicinity - would suffer mightily as a result. You do not want to be standing between the person who has just feasted on a surfeit of Dried Fruit and the White Porcelain Throne, lest you be trampled...and possibly shat upon.

The love of Desiccated Fruit is not universal. Our good friend Don calls it “Dead Fruit”; he refuses to eat it in any form, be it raisins, prunes, loquats, mangoes, or rambutans. And that’s OK: de gustibus non est disputandum.

More for me.


I always wanted to be able to put crap “below the fold.”

Now I can. Woo Hoo!

[Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to Lisa of Lemons and Lollipops for getting me the code!]


I found Yet Another Stupid-Ass Blog-Quiz over at Redneck’s place. He had gotten it from Jim, who had received it from Leslie, who had received it from Barry Campbell, and damn if this isn’t starting to sound like the opening section of Pirkei Avot.

Anyway, if you’re too lazy to write actual content, put up a Blog-Quiz:

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

The Inland North
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Big surprise! I sound like I’m from Noo Yawk!

I have lived in Georgia a total of over thirteen years; in Texas a total of twelve years; in New Jersey about six years (including four years of university); in Connecticut for four years - but my first eighteen years are the ones that molded the way I speak. I like to think my accent has moderated over the years - perhaps it has - but people still have no problem figuring out exactly where I’m from.

Alas, it’s all too true: you can take the boy out of New York, but you can’t take the New York out of the boy. Fuhgeddaboudit!

Friday, November 10, 2006


It’s time once again for the weekly ritual in which Elisson’s Little White Choon-Box pooches forth its Random Assortment of Moozikal Madness. Listen up:
  1. Honey Don’t - The Beatles
  2. Fradde’s Song - The Klezmatics
  3. Dikiy Muzhchina - Leningrad
  4. King Without A Crown - Matisyahu

    What’s this feeling?
    My love will rip a hole in the ceiling
    Givin’ myself to you from the essence of my being
    Sing to my G-d all these songs of love and healing
    Want Moshiach now so it’s time we start revealing

    You’re all that I have and you’re all that I need
    Each and every day I pray to get to know you please
    I want to be close to you, yes I’m so hungry
    You’re like water for my soul when it gets thirsty
    Without you there’s no me
    You’re the air that I breathe
    Sometimes the world is dark and I just can’t see
    With these demons surround all around to bring me down to negativity
    But I believe, yes I believe, I said I believe
    I’ll stand on my own two feet
    Won’t be brought down on one knee
    Fight with all of my might and get these demons to flee
    Hashem’s rays fire blaze burn bright and I believe
    Hashem’s rays fire blaze burn bright and I believe
    Out of darkness comes light, twilight unto the heights
    Crown Heights burnin’ up all through ’til twilight
    Said, thank you to my G-d, now I finally got it right
    And I’ll fight with all of my heart, and all a’ my soul, and all a’ my might


    Me no want no sinsemilla.
    That would only bring me down
    Burn away my brain no way my brain is to compound
    Torah food for my brain let it rain till I drown
    Let the blessings come down

    Strip away the layers and reveal your soul
    Got to give yourself up and then you become whole
    You’re a slave to yourself and you don’t even know
    You want to live the fast life but your brain moves slow
    If you’re trying to stay high then you’re bound to stay low
    You want G-d but you can’t deflate your ego
    If you’re already there then there’s nowhere to go
    If your cup’s already full then it’s bound to overflow
    If you’re drowning in the waters and you can't stay afloat
    Ask Hashem for mercy and He’ll throw you a rope
    You’re looking for help from G-d you say he couldn’t be found
    Searching up to the sky and looking beneath the ground
    Like a King without his Crown
    Yes, you keep fallin’ down
    You really want to live but can't get rid of your frown
    Tried to reach unto the heights and wound bound down on the ground
    Given up your pride and the you heard a sound
    Out of night comes day and out of day comes light
    Nullified to the One like sunlight in a ray,
    Makin’ room for his love and a fire gone blaze


    Reelin’ him in
    Where ya been
    Where ya been
    Where ya been for so long
    It’s hard to stay strong been livin’ in galus [exile] for 2000 years strong
    Where ya been for so long
    Been livin’ in this exile for too long

  5. Alice Childress - Ben Folds
  6. Peaceful Alone - Moonraker
  7. Scene 13 - One Wheel Spinning - Philip Glass, Les Enfants Terribles
  8. And Your Bird Can Sing - The Beatles
  9. Snuff That Girl - Urinetown, Original Cast Recording
  10. Stereotype - The Specials
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


The 112th Voyage of the Friday Ark sails today from Port Modulator.

Looking ahead a few days, what would Sunday evening be without Carnival of the Cats? The Whole Kitten Kaboodle will play host to the 138th Kitty Karnival, so be sure to block out some time in your busy schedule to inspect the Fuzzy Troops!

Update: There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip. The Whole Kitten Kaboodle apparently biffed their hosting responsibilities (pending communicating any sort of suitable excuse) and so it’s the Catblogging King himself, Laurence Simon, to the rescue. Thanks, Lair!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Freedom. So many have given their lives to preserve it.

For some, freedom meant an end to slavery. For me, it meant being able to use stem cells – and a heap of grant money - to perfect replicant technology. Cloned humans.

Think of the possibilities! Replacement organs. Better: being able to answer the age-old question: What if?

I had to know. It was a bitch getting the DNA, but somehow I managed.

He comes out of the gel-tank tomorrow. Twelve weeks of deep-sleep hypnopaedia, and he’ll be ready for his stovepipe hat.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Abraham Linclone.

[This story, an homage to Laurence Simon, was inspired by a typo while I was writing a comment. Laurence is, of course, the author of The Wacky Adventures of Abraham Lincoln, a series of 100-word podcasts. ]

Click here to listen!

PupuPlayer FREE


Philbert Philpott poked at the paleolithic midden heap with his polished pick. Perhaps, he thought, there’ll be something interesting in this dusty stratum of detritus.

Philbert occupied an exalted position on the University staff. He would travel to the digs with the other professors of Antiquities and write his scholarly articles; but unlike that of the others, his work was filled with sarcasm and invective. Surprisingly, this made him popular.

He would rank on the Rosetta stone and lampoon the Lyceum. He pooped on Petra and said “Fie!” to Phoenicia.

Meet Philbert, chair of the Snarkyology Department at Mishegoss University.


John Rolfe surveyed the plantation, arms akimbo, forehead beaded with sweat in the Virginia sun.

The new crop was doing well. Every year, the quality improved and yields increased. Feeding the new European craze was making Rolfe a rich man.

A good thing, too, he thought. Pocahontas, for all her being an Indian maiden, had become a high-maintenance wife. A real Jamestown American Princess, that one.

Who would have imagined that inhaling the smoke from burning leaves would be so pleasurable to so many?

Rolfe smiled, thinking: Centuries from now, they’ll still remember the man who brought Ganja-Farming to Virginia.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


As I sat on the Silver Aerial Bus this afternoon, my fundament shot through with bolts of pain from the concrete-like cushion on our Embraer DAJ (“Dinky-Ass Jet”), an old memory drifted to the surface of my consciousness.

An old and tasty memory.

Those who know me know that I enjoy my red meat. I do not eat it as frequently as I would like, owing to its Butt-Enlargement Propensities, but I like to tuck into a nice beefsteak every so often. Or a tender leg of lamb. Buffalo? Good to go. Ostrich – the other red meat? Sure, why not?

I have grilled my own steaks on the backyard fire-pit, pan-sautéed ’em in a hot skillet. Had a hanger steak with eggs for a late lunch last Saturday at table with Elder Daughter...and a bite of the hanger she ordered the next night at dinner. The old Daddy Tax.

I have eaten steaks in many a Fine Meaty Establishment. The Palm. Morton’s. Chops. McKendrick’s and Bones, Atlanta favorites. Pappas Brothers, in Houston. And let us not forget the fine institution of the Brazilian Steakhouse, the subject of my second-oldest post at this site.

But the memory that bubbled up this afternoon was of a cruder, more homely place, a place deeply enshrined in the golden glow of Youthful Reminiscence, a place that formed some of my earliest impressions of “Fine” Dining: McCluskey’s Steaks, formerly of Bellmore, New York.

Back in my Snot-Nose Days, dinner at McCluskey’s was an adventure. It meant piling in the car for a 20-minute drive westward down Sunrise Highway. We would arrive at this Palace of Beefy Delight and, after a short wait, would be ushered to our table. McCluskey’s was a white-tablecloth place, but they did not put on airs. The china was famously mismatched, back in the day when mismatched china was not a deliberate marketing ploy. As I said, homely. And homey.

The chief attraction at McCluskey’s, aside from the steaks, was an assortment of potato dishes that was truly mind-boggling. Baked, twice-baked, mashed, au gratin, Lyonnaise, on and on the list went. And the obligatory sautéed mushrooms. And the onions, fried or grilled to caramelized perfection.

I loved it.

When it came time to select a place for my post-High School Graduation lunch, it had to be venerable McCluskey’s. I can still taste the sliced Porterhouse I had that day, grilled medium-rare and served on a trencher of impressive and lordly size.

McCluskey’s, alas, is gone now. I’ve had many fine beefsteaks since that long-ago day, but that one, consumed in the happy company of my family as we celebrated a Life-Cycle Milestone in June 1970, still shines in the back recesses of my mind.

Beef: It’s what’s for dinner.
Meat: It’s what’s for memories!


Remark overheard upon seeing a briefcase emblazoned with the logo “WWJD”:

“Willy Wonka’s a lawyer?!!?”

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Quoth Albert “Monty” Schweitzer:

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.

And whiskey.

There are three means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats and whiskey. And chocolate.

Four means of refuge from the miseries of life. Music. Cats. Whiskey. Chocolate. And wild monkey sex with a nineteen - Aggh! I’ll come in again.

Neighbor, in this photograph taken by the Mistress of Sarcasm, appears to be satisfied at leaving things at the Music and Cats level.

[And yes, I know there’s a blog out there entitled Music and Cats. A tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to Kimberly, who knows her way around music, cats, architecture, blueberry chutney, and photography!]


For your Viewing Pleasure, some pictures from our weekend with Elder Daughter in Washington, D.C...

Monday, November 06, 2006


The best thing about this week is that, after tomorrow, Election Frenzy will be over. For better or worse, the reins of power will be handed over to new stewards - as always, for the time being. Until the next election.

The right to vote is one of the precious treasures we, in our Representative Democracy, tend to take for granted. Fewer and fewer people, it seems, exercise that right; and that is a shame, for so many men and women died to protect that particular freedom.

The tone of many campaigns, however, seems to have taken on an especially vicious and nasty air. Some years ago, candidates and their political machinery discovered that negative campaigning - depite people’s halfhearted protests against it - is extremely effective. And so it has become an ever-growing feature of the political landscape. Rather than sell themselves, candidates more and more often resport to slinging mud at their opponents. It’s reminiscent of the old joke in which a Russian peasant, given a magical chance to have whatever his heart desires, wishes that his neighbor’s mule drop dead. In Georgia, gubernatorial candidates Sonny Perdue and Mark Taylor have both put out reprehensible campaign materials - Taylor probably more than Perdue, as he lacks the warm, golden patina of the incumbent. But the dirt flies at all levels, and frankly, I find it more than tiresome.

And so, I announce the Elisson Policy of Voter Responsibility.

If you, or any organization that supports your candidacy, put forth even a single negative campaign advertisement, I will not vote for you.

Whether or not I vote for your opponent, of course, will depend on his or her capabilities, past performance, and positions on the issues. If necessary, I will write in a candidate.

It looks like I’ll be voting Libertarian in the Georgia governor’s race, since both major party candidates have shown themselves to be churlish assholes of questionable honesty. Fuck ’em. Fuck ’em both.

Going negative may be effective, but not with me. No longer. And though I represent but a single vote, it is my vote, and my conscience. And - who knows? - perhaps others will follow my example.

Go negative and lose my vote. It’s that simple.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were sitting on the Silver Aerial Bus this morning enroute to Washington, D.C., where resides Elder Daughter.

Amongst our fellow passengers were a mother and daughter, traveling with the daughter’s brood: a little girl of about two years, and a pair of twins (male and female) a scant year younger. A handful, to be sure, but all of the kids were - surprisingly - well behaved throughout the entire flight.

Mid-flight, the two-year-old (whom Elisson had been amusing by playing Peek-a-Boo in the waiting lounge) laughed at something...possibly something her mother had said. SWMBO heard the gentle laugh and observed that there is nothing quite as beautiful as the laughter of a baby. I could not but agree.

As if we were struck by the same thought at the same time, we both recalled the days, some 27 years ago, when Elder Daughter (then Only Daughter) was a babe-in-arms. It was then, at the ripe old age of three months, that she laughed aloud for the first time.

We had been in Miami, visiting my grandmother - by then a crotchety old lady, but one of whom I still had (and continue to have) fond memories. After all, it was she who had taught me to use Vile Oaths in everyday speech. Elder Only Daughter was lying on her back on the sofa, and SWMBO was playing with her by dropping a crumpled up piece of tissue paper on her face.

O.D. must have enjoyed this, because suddenly she laughed out loud. A babylike laugh, to be sure, but unmistakable. And unforgettable. The memory of a child’s first laugh is a treasure that is one of the Defining Moments of parenthood, a shining instant in time when you know with absolute certainty that being a Mommy or Daddy is the finest, noblest work a human is capable of.

Elder Daughter has had many moments of laughter since that day, and she has returned the favor many times over. And here we were, on our way to see her in her new home...the realization of which made us both smile.

Friday, November 03, 2006


A few weeks ago, as I was wandering the aisles of the neighborhood Hooch Shoppe trying to decide what to buy Eric for his birthday, a tall green bottle caught my eye.

It was something called Zen, a new Green Tea flavored liqueur.

Now, green tea is one of those things that can be very good under the proper conditions. I will drink hot green tea when I’m eating Japanese food - it’s a workable alternative to the hot sake and the chilled Kirin Ichiban beer I would otherwise be guzzling. Take away the Japanese food, however, and it’s a different story.

And when it comes to iced tea, the National Drink of the South, green tea really just doesn’t do it for me. I like my iced tea strong and made from black tea. Green? No, thank you. Herbal? Go away. Instant? Get the fuck out of my sight. However, unlike True Southerners, who will drink their iced tea tooth-achingly sweet, I, as an Adopted Southerner, will use fake sweetener so as to avoid the calories.

[I don’t so much avoid the calories as consume them in other forms. Chocolate, whiskey, and beefsteak, to name a few.]

Where were we? Oh, yeah: Green Tea.

Green tea really shines as an ice cream flavor. I love me some of that green tea ice cream that the Japanese restaurants offer as a dessert option here in the States. Häagen-Dasz makes a green tea ice cream sandwich (!) but they sell it in Japan - not here, dammit.

So when I saw that bottle of green tea liqueur, I got all excited. I was all ready to plunk down $30 to buy the bottle when I suddenly asked myself: “Is this stuff gonna taste like Green Tea Ice Cream...or Green Tea Iced Tea?”

I decided to wait until I had a chance to sample the stuff. Last night, I finally did so, ordering a shot at the local Chow Mein Palace.


I’m glad I waited. There’s no Buyer’s Remorse quite like that you get when you piss away a wad of dollars on a Taste Experiment Gone Wrong.

Some liqueurs are downright yummy. Pama pomegranate liqueur. Benedictine. Cointreau. Chartreuse. Irish Mist. Grand Marnier. Drambuie.

Zen, however, sucks. It’s like drinking that pile of fermenting grass clippings behind the 16th green. Yeef.

Green Tea Liqueur. Perfect for those moments when you wish to ponder that age-old Zen Buddhist koan: “What is the sound of one ass crapping?”