Wednesday, January 31, 2007


My name is Shake-Zula,
The mike rulah,
The old schoolah,
You wanna trip, I'll break it to ya.
Frylock and I’m on top
Rock you like a cop,
Meatwad you’re up next with your knock-knock.
Meatwad make the money, see,
Meatwad get the honeys, G.
Drivin’ in my car,
Livin’ like a star,
Ice on my fingers and my toes and I’m a Taurus.
’Cause we are the Aqua Teens,
Make the homeys say ho and the girlies wanna scream.

Frylock looked at Master Shake and cocked his eyebrow.

“What the hell is the story with these electronic ‘packages’ you’ve been leaving all over Boston? Do you know you created a major panic? The cops all thought they were bombs planted by some terrorist cell! Are you on crack?!!?

Master Shake began to mumble, embarrassed. “It was Meatwad’s idea...”

Frylock was having none of it. “Meatwad ain’t smart enough to think up something this...boneheaded. He doesn’t have any bones, anyway. Pull the other one.”

“It was a marketing ploy! The consultants and the media geniuses thought it was a great idea!”

“Damn, Shake! This is the stupidest thing you’ve done since Carl was trying to hide from those fast-food dudes that wanted to saw his dick off! And you kept tellin’ them where he was! What have you got to say for yourself?”

“Well, we’re getting some major media exposure...”

“The only exposure you’re gonna get is to that 300-pound dude in the prison shower when you bend over to pick up the soap.”


Dear Mr. Debonair,

What is the proper course of action when one has sneezed, causing the expulsion of a great big Wad o’ Boogage?

A Proper Canajan Lady

Dear Lady,

The issue of how to deal with Nasal Mucus has, alas, been with us humans since before the Dawn of Time. And, sadly, many of our fellow humans continue to treat the matter in much the same way our Troglodytic Ancestors must have done.

The proper course of action is, when a sneeze is coming on, to cover one’s mouth and nose with a Pocket Handkerchief, preventing the potential escape of Unpleasant Substances. If one does not carry a Pocket Handkerchief - an unfortunate possibility in these Culturally Degenerate Times - then one may use a Facial Tissue.

Under no circumstances may one use a Restaurant Napkin. Mr. Debonair, in fact, has observed, on rare occasions, people indulging in the evil practice of blowing their noses in restaurant napkins. This is unspeakable. (Were I a waiter in a restaurant and I saw someone doing this, why, I would feel absolutely no compunction about adulterating that patron’s food with Vile Materials, the identity of which is best left unsaid in a Family-Friendly Weblog.)

When caught unawares by the Sneezing Impulse, it is acceptable practice to direct the sneeze into the crook of one’s arm rather than covering the mouth and nose with one’s bare hand. This is, in fact, preferable from a disease transmission standpoint.

If nasal mucus is expelled in the course of sneezing, it is completely unacceptable to (1) consume the mucus, or (2) to attempt to manually reinsert it in the nares. The first alternative is revolting; the second is not only revolting, but also completely ridiculous.

If one is off by oneself and feels the need to clear the nostrils, the ancient practice of using the “Farmer’s Handkerchief” (AKA the “Bowery Blow”) - closing one nostril with a finger while forcibly expelling air (and other materials) from the other nostril directly onto the ground - may be tempting. Resist the impulse to revert to behavior more suited to the cave-dwellers of prehistory! Are we not men?


Photograph ©2006 MalNino.

This photo of Coney Island at sunset (courtesy Erica) reminded me of a week-long Summer Vacation of sorts, spent with my grandparents in the sweaty heart of Brooklyn back in my Snot-Nose Days.

I should preface this by saying that the Coney Island skyline was a familiar sight to me, growing up. Every few weeks, we would drive into the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn to spend a Sunday with my grandparents - the ’Rents d’Eli - at their fourth-floor walkup on Bay 26th Street, hard by the corner of Bath and Cropsey Avenues. As we would approach our destination, cruising on the Belt Parkway, I would look for all the familiar landmarks.

There was the Mill Basin Bridge, an old-style drawbridge. Instead of the usual automatic railroad crossing-style gates, the attendant would get out of his booth and pull a steel gate across the lanes of traffic when the bridge was to be raised.

There was the gigantic railyard just north of Coney Island...and there, off in the distance, we could see the familiar skyline. The Wonder Wheel. The Parachute Jump. The Cyclone. That meant we were nearing our destination.

Later, after my grandfather suffered a heart attack, the Grand-’Rents moved to 21st Avenue, where they found a building with an elevator: Stair-climbing was no longer a possibility for him. But my early memories are of that place on Bay 26th Street, the apartment in which my father grew up. On warm evenings, I would look out over the fire escape at the Sinclair station on the corner, watching the comings and goings of daily commerce. The building had its own unique aroma, the mingled smells of ethnic cooking that I can conjure up simply by closing my eyes.

It was the summer of 1960 when my folks, no doubt in need of their own Summer Vacation, arranged for my brother and me to spend a week in Brooklyn with the Grand-’Rents.

A summer week in Brooklyn? You may chortle at the thought, but to a suburban kid like me - not quite eight years old - it was like a Mysterious Sojourn in an Exotic Land. Every day, we would go somewhere different, taking the subway for what was then the modest fare of fifteen cents.

Most days, we would go to Coney Island. There was a beach there, with real sand - but for Grandpa Jack, the main attraction was the Ravenhall Baths, where he would go for a long schvitz in the steam room. Now, that was an experience for a seven-year-old kid - gasping while trying to breathe the hot, steamy air, looking at all the Old Guys with their sagging chests and pendulous scrota. It was a glimpse at Future Present in a way, for those Old Guys were, at the time, not much older than I am today. But it was also a real Grandpa-Grandson bonding moment.

We would stroll along the Boardwalk, me gazing up at the horrifyingly precipitous Parachute Jump from underneath, hearing the screams of the passengers as they reached the top and then free-fell in their chairs about ten feet before the ’chute would kick in. I vowed then and there that I would never ride that thing - a vow that I am pleased to say I have kept.

We would eat hot dogs from the original Nathan’s - none finer - and Yonah Schimmel’s knishes. I can still taste ’em. Hell, I’m probably still digesting ’em.

There was the last Great Amusement Park there, George C. Tilyou’s famous Steeplechase, named for a ride that involved metal horses that ran on an outdoor track. Indoors, there were carnival-style rides, along with gigantic wooden slides. You sat on a blanket to use the slide, and the penalty for touching its surface while you were in motion was a painful burn.

One day, we went in to Manhattan to go to Radio City. I remember nothing about the movie we saw there except for its title - Fanny - but the rest of the experience, which included seeing the Rockettes and hearing the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ, was indelibly engraved on my little-kid mind.

After a week, I was ready to go home, back to the familiar landscape of the ’Burbs...but my week in Brooklyn still sits in the cobwebby Memory Banks of my younger days, filed under “Seven Days of Magic.” Walt Disney, with all his Disneyland charm and wiles, could never compete.


The sincerest form of flattery.

Submitted for your approval is today’s Pearls Before Swine comic strip:

[Click to embiggen.]

Of course, we all know who thought of it first...

Colander Borg-Man!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


On a cold evening, there’s nothing as reassuring as a warm, wooly blanket - even if Miss Matata has a fur coat of her own.

Monday, January 29, 2007


(“Talmid Chocham” is a Yiddish term meaning “Talmud Scholar,” in case you were curious.)

Courtesy of Notes from Nancy’s Noodle, here’s one of those Stupid-Ass Quizzes that is making the rounds.

This one touts itself as the “Ultimate Bible Quiz.” Well, I don’t know about that, but it was pretty challenging - mainly because more than half of it concerned itself with the New Testament, which falls outside of what we Jooooz study in religious school. That knowledge is stuff I picked up from (1) osmosis, (2) Gideon bibles, and (3) American popular culture.

As for the questions drawn from the Hebrew Bible (what many of y’all call the Old Testament), those were easy for someone who reads that book in the Original Language several times a week.

But enough Egotistical Tub-Thumping. Here are the results...

You know the Bible 92%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes



Some people like to name their cars.

Eric, for example, has an Audi convertible he calls Sylvia. It’s a perfectly appropriate name for a beautiful little machine.

I, on the other hand, have owned many motor vehicles, upon few of which I ever saw fit to bestow a moniker. Except for The Great Red Shark, a 1976 Caddy Coupe de Ville we owned briefly back in the late 1970’s (we dumped it when the Iranian oil shock of 1979 jacked up the cost of a fill-up to $30 in 1979 money), I can’t think of any names I may have applied to our cars. Beyond “You Stinking Piece of Shit,” an all-purpose handle I would trot out in times of trouble, that is.

But every car has its own unique personality, the current Elissonmobile being no exception. And anything with a personality, be it a dog, cat, monkey, or Process Server, deserves its own name.

Do you have a name for your car?

And what would you call the Elissonmobile?

I’m thinking “Clusterfuck McQueen.”

Not that it’s a bad car. I just like the way it sounds.

[For instructions on Photoshopping your own Pixar Car, go here. Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora goes to Amid of Cartoon Brew for the link.]


Have you ever stuck a Q-Tip in your ear and fished out an Earwax-Booger so horrifying that your first impulse was to flush the offending Q-Tip down the toilet rather than chuck it in the trash can?

Yeah, me neither.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


She Who Must Be Obeyed and I sat at the breakfast table, the scattered remnants of the Dutch Baby Pancake she had made cooling on our plates. I took one last pull on my coffee.

The Missus tossed her head, indicating the stairs in the back of the kitchen.

“Well, we might as well go and get this over with.”

We looked at each other.

She continued, “It’s always so much harder to do it again if you put it off.”

We looked at each other once more. This time I wore a sly grin.

“Are we thinking about the same thing?” asked The Missus.

“Aren’t we?” I said.

“You’re thinking about sex, aren’t you?” asked The Missus.

“Well, yeah. Aren’t you?”

“I was thinking about going to the gym.”


Wonder what to eat for your daily ration?
Check out the Carnival at Right Wing Nation!

Yes, indeedy - the latest edition of the Carnival of the Recipes is up at Right Wing Nation. It’s chock-full of recipes for Comfort Food, but with the occasional Fishy Horror thrown in to make it interesting. Stop by and check it out!

Friday, January 26, 2007


It’s a beautiful Friday morning in Sweat City.

Yes, Sweat City. I’ve been here since Wednesday a.m., when I was greeted by a day’s worth of cold, rainy misery. But the front finally blew on through, leaving moderate temps and the deep blue sky that marks this town’s most glorious days. Not that I have had much of a chance to enjoy ’em. Sadly, my packed schedule of Bidnis-Related Activities has prevented me from doing much more than collapsing into my hotel room late at night.

It’s been a bit frustrating, that hotel room. Pleasant enough, but the hotel’s internet access has been on the fritz for the entire length of my stay. This is both good and bad news: It keeps me out of my Great Corporate Salt Mine e-mail, but it also keeps me out of Blodgyland. (Some of you may think that’s a good thing.)
This evening, I’ll get back in that Silver Aerial Bus for my ride home. After the debacle I dealt with last Sunday coming back from “Ballmer,” I am hoping for an on-time flight. Shyeah, right.

But it’s time for the Friday Random Ten, and I shall not be deterred. And I’m the guy that put the “turd” in deterred.

Here followeth this week’s Random Selection of Moozikal Miscellany from the iPod d’Elisson:
  1. Kalfou Danjere - Boukman Eksperyans
  2. Honeysuckle Rose - Django Reinhardt
  3. Hunting Bears - Radiohead
  4. Something/Blue Jay Way - The Beatles
  5. It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City - Bruce Springsteen

    I had skin like leather and the diamond-hard look of a cobra
    I was born blue and weathered but I burst just like a supernova
    I could walk like Brando right into the sun
    Dance just like a Casanova
    With my blackjack and jacket and hair slicked sweet
    Silver star studs on my duds like a Harley in heat
    When I strut down the street I could feel its heartbeat
    The sisters fell back said, “Don’t that man look pretty.”
    The cripple on the corner cried out “Nickels for your pity.”
    Them gasoline boys downtown sure talk gritty
    It’s so hard to be a saint in the city

    I was the king of the alley, mama, I could talk some trash
    I was the prince of the paupers crowned downtown at the beggar’s bash
    I was the pimp’s main prophet I kept everything cool
    Just a backstreet gambler with the luck to lose
    And when the heat came down and it was left on the ground
    The devil appeared like Jesus through the steam in the street
    Showin’ me a hand I knew even the cops couldn’t beat
    I felt his hot breath on my neck as I dove into the heat
    It’s so hard to be a saint when you’re just a boy out on the street

    And the sages of the subway sit just like the living dead
    As the tracks clack out the rhythm, their eyes fixed straight ahead
    They ride the line of balance and hold on by just a thread
    But it’s too hot in these tunnels you can get hit up by the heat
    You get up to get out at your next stop but they push you back down in your seat
    Your heart starts beatin’ faster as you struggle to your feet
    Then you’re outa that hole back up on the street

    And them South Side sisters sure look pretty
    The cripple on the corner cries out, “Nickels for your pity.”
    Them downtown boys they sure talk gritty
    It’s so hard to be a saint in the city

  6. Take Time - The Books
  7. Busted Bicycle - Leo Kottke
  8. Zol Nokh Zayn Shabes - The Klezmer Conservatory Band
  9. Nature’s Way - Spirit
  10. Cigarette - The Clarks
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


The Friday Ark has set its sail
The beasties all stand by the rail
They beckon towards the Internet
As if to say, “Ain’t you visited yet?”

Yes, Friday Ark #123 is up at (surprise!) Modulator.

In fact, I am a wee bit surprised. My post concerning Ligers was relegated to the “Other Vertebrates” category rather than included in “Cats.” I mean, last I checked, the Liger was a cat, am I right? Or should the latter category be retitled “Felis Domesticus” and its entries restricted to housecats?

This Sunday evening, Carnival of the Cats swings by Mind of Mog for its 149th outing. Be sure to stop by and say hello to alla them kitties. Including my Liger friend.

Carnival of the Cats #149 is up.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Fish heads, fish heads
Roly poly fish heads
Fish heads, fish heads
Eat them up, yum!

[Subtitle snatched from El Capitan, who in turn snarfed it up from Barnes & Barnes.]

In these Electronic Pages, I have written numerous times about the bizarre things in the Elisson diet. Snake soup, Shanghai hairy crab, poutine, jellyfish - all these have, at one time or another, been Fair Game for my relentless and bizarre appetite.

Even sardine and Laughing Cow tacos, as I related in a recent post.

Peanut butter pizza? Yes indeedy. Sounds horrendous, no? But spreading a thin layer of peanut butter on a pizza crust before adding the tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings actually enhances the flavor of the ’za, adding a subtle depth. It also has a few other side benefits: (1) horrifying all of your friends, and (2) keeping any people with peanut allergies away from your pizza. Try it!

But we started this thing with Fish Heads, and by Gawd, that’s what I wanted to write about.

The very idea of eating fish heads fills most people with fear and loathing. Back in my Snot-Nose Days, I would watch my grandmother make gefilte fish from scratch, grinding the fish in a meat grinder, adding the matzoh meal and other ingredients, and then carefully stuffing the mixture back into the eviscerated fish before poaching it. (The term gefilte - stuffed - betrays the origins of the dish.) None of that store-bought crap for her.

I would stand, slackjawed and horrorstruck, observing the whole repulsive process. Feeesh! With their heads! Yaaggh! Never mind that it actually tasted good. Kids never care whether something might taste good - not if it looks evil enough.

But let’s face it. Eating the head of another creature is not for the squeamish. The eyes! The braaains! Mr. Debonair, my friends, is no zombie. He does not eat brains.

And yet...

At a banquet in Thailand, I was once served a ferociously hot chicken curry. In Asia, people tend to eat anything that’s not nailed down, so nothing goes to waste. As the guest of honor, I was served the chicken’s head...and I was expected to eat it. To demur would have been insulting, as well as denying the locals a good laugh at my expense, so I chowed down. Mmmm, chicken head.

When we lived in Houston and the girls - all three of ’em - were only beginning to get acclimated to the idea of eating sushi, I used to horrify them by ordering ama-ebi, AKA “sweet shrimp.” Unlike “regular” shrimp sushi, which was lightly cooked and headless, ama-ebi was served in two courses: first, the beheaded shrimp, raw, on the basic Sushi Rice Pad; and second, the deep-fried heads, served in their own little dish. Let me tell you that everything tastes better fried, even if it has little beady eyes and monster antennae. The Mistress of Sarcasm and Elder Daughter would scream blue murder when the waitress would deliver my Shrimp Heads unto me.

And then there are Fish Heads. Fish head curry, as it happens, is a speciality of Singapore. On my last visit there, we stopped at a restaurant hard by the causeway to Johore, Malaysia, where I enjoyed a steaming, fragrant bowl of the local fish head curry. Almost a soup, it was redolent of the exotic spices of the East, with ingredients too numerous and mysterious to name - and with just a little bit of rice to add substance. And fish heads. Lotsa fish heads.

But it was Damn Tasty. The cheek meat (a Doctor Lecter favorite) was especially tender. I didn’t even mind that my luncheon was staring back at me as I ate it. It put me in mind of C. S. Calverley’s poem “To a Baked Fish”:

Preserve a respectful demeanor
When you are brought into the room.
Don’t stare at the guests as they’re eating
No matter how much they consume.

Fish heads! Fish heads! Eat them up, yum!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


If you want to see a honkin’ big Kitty-Cat, check this out...

Holy Crap. A Liger! The humongousized hybrid offspring of a male lion and a female tiger: Now, that is One Big Pussy.

No doubt, you are as horror-struck as I. Looka the size of that thing! What do it eat? Probably anything it pleases. Elephants, Steve Irwin, sperm whales, the Elusive Giant Squid...

Thank Gawd these things do not live in the wild.

Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to KeesKennis for the link. Scary, innit?


“...while our nation building capacity is pretty much maxed out right now, our nation taking apart capacity is largely sitting idle.”

The words of wisdom above are from Neptunus Lex, a site that was recommended to me by the estimable Eric.

“Lex” is a naval officer and aviator; a former TOPGUN instructor; and a Virginia gentleman to boot. And that is just scratching the surface of his most impressive curriculum vitae. He writes primarily about matters military and political, with an exceptional degree of clarity and intelligence.

Good stuff. Go check him out and tell him Elisson sent ya.


In the Land of Looxembourg, Fecal Matters were adjudicated by the Duke of Dookie.

He did not come to sit on his throne by noble birthright alone. He had studied Excremental Existentialism at Poopoo University - where the official Pootball Team Cheer was “Squeeze another touchdown out for Old Poo U!” - receiving his Dooktorate in Defecation for proving that shit, in fact, exists. De Facto Defecatio.

Now he was faced with a difficult case. A Stool Pigeon had caught the Vice-Chancellor adulterating his turds with Undigested Corn, a felony.

The Duke did his duty. “I sentence you to die...arrhea!”

[My entry for Weekly Challenge #41 at the 100 Word Stories Podcast, for which the topic is Fecal Matter. Right up my alley, some might say...and a most appropriate (hah!) selection for my 2000th published post.]


A Back in the Day Baby Cake.

Cast your envious eyes upon this product of the Back in the Day Bakery, a pleasant little shop within a short walk of the Mistress of Sarcasm’s digs.

This little fella is a Baby Cake. Only four inches in diameter, it may be thought of as either an extra-large fancy cupcake or as a Dinky-Ass Layer Cake. Either way, it is delicious.

Somehow, this one - a gift for our friend JoAnn - survived the potential depredations of Mickey (the Mistress’s boyfriend) while it awaited transport to Atlanta; and of a late-arriving, famished Elisson once it was relocated to our refrigerator.

Cheryl, flanked by the Food Network’s Bobbie and Jamie Deen.

Back in the Day is an unassuming little place that bills itself as “Savannah’s only Artisan Bakery.” In addition to the little gems pictured above, they crank out cupcakes, artisanal breads, and the best honkin’ brownies on the eastern seaboard. They make a curried chicken salad sammitch that will knock your socks off, thanks in part to a liberal dose of ginger. Best I’ve ever had. Oh, yeah - and handmade marshmallows. Big, pillowy, square-cut suckers that sit atop a mug of hot cocoa like the Rock of Gibraltar.

Cheryl and Griff, the owners, were recently featured on a segment of “Road Tasted” on the Food Network. And Cheryl has a blog, too. Check it out - there’s a link on the sidebar as well - and let her know I sent ya!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


[©2007 Tribune Media Services, Inc.] embedded in this Brewster Rockit strip from last Saturday. (Click on the image to embiggen.)

Are you nerdly enough to find it?


My recent missive on the topic of Lunchbox Horrors inspired this lovely lady to respond with a horrorshow of her own, talking about
...a weird sandwich my mother used to make us for lunches way back in the day; those lunchbox wonders we lovingly referred to as “guck sandwiches.”
The Guck Sandwich, when one deconstructs the ingredients, is essentially a SPAM and Thousand Island Dressing sandwich with some onions thrown in. I’m not sure what horrifies me more: the SPAM, or the flabby white bread the concoction is supposed to be assembled with. But as they (whoever “they” are) say, “de gustibus non est disputandum,” which means something like “all of your taste is in your ass, but I’m all right, Jack.”

Just kidding. Heh.

SPAM, its unsavory Internet associations aside, is of no culinary interest to me whatso-fucking-ever. I rank it right up there with the Indiana Brain Sandwich, Head Cheese, and Scrapple in the List of Substances That Are Only Marginally More Appetizing To Me Than A Human Turd. [That’s very similar, by the way, to the List of Foods That I Would Be Reluctant To Eat Even After A Nuclear Holocaust When Alternatives Are Quite Thin On The Ground.] But people who grew up with it - why, they love it. It’s a great illustration of the power of childhood-based nostalgia to influence our tastes.

Its lack of culinary appeal (to me) notwithstanding, I am fascinated by the fact that SPAM is, apparently, extremely popular in the islands of the Pacific Ocean. When the Missus and I were in Hawai’i, we observed first-hand that SPAM was everywhere. If you ordered musubi, the ubiquitous rice-ball snack, you would, like as not, find wads of SPAM buried in ’em. Yeef.

And it’s not just Hawai’i. Apparently, SPAM is popular throughout the Pacific region, from Micronesia to Samoa to Tonga to Tahiti. Hell, even Fiona likes it, and she’s in Singapore.

There are those that see this as a relic of the U.S. presence during and following World War II...or the natural growth in market demand for a product that needs no refrigeration in places that have none. But there’s another, possibly more sinister explanation.

No other commercially available meat product is so good at replicating the taste of human flesh.

Yes, the folks on a lot of those Pacific islands have an ancient (in some cases, not so ancient) history of eating their brethren and sistren…and, purportedly, SPAM’s flavor taps into that ancestral memory.

Travel writer Paul Theroux, in his book The Happy Isles of Oceania, says:
It was a theory of mine that former cannibals of Oceania now feasted on Spam because Spam came the nearest to approximating the porky taste of human flesh. “Long pig” as they called a cooked human being in much of Melanesia. It was a fact that the people-eaters of the Pacific had all evolved, or perhaps degenerated, into Spam-eaters. And in the absence of Spam they settled for corned beef, which also had a corpsy flavor.
Of course, this theory has numerous holes in it, one being SPAM’s popularity even in places that have no historical tradition of cannibalism. And even Paul Theroux later confessed that he had written the above paragraph with (you should excuse the expression) tongue in cheek.

And yet, I wonder.

I wonder why I like corned beef so much. And I wonder whether Jeffrey Dahmer was a fan of the Reuben sandwich.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Our little nephew William was having a conversation with his Dad when the word “catawampus” came up.

“What’s a catawampus, Daddy?” asked William.

“What do you think it is?”

“Is it that stuff we take out of Ringo’s litter box?”


A Nasty Luncheon

Take a couple of corn tortillas.

Nuke ’em in the microwave for about 30 seconds to soften ’em up.

Now getcha a couple of wedges of Laughing Cow Light Cheezoid Material. [I used the Original Swiss flavor ’cause it was handy, but the Garlic & Herb would have served nicely as well.] Spread ’em over the warm tortillas.

Open a can of sardines. Drain well. Divide the sardines between the two Cheesy Tortillas.

Now, roll them bad boys up and eat. Think of ’em as Fishy Burritos con Queso.

Your breath will, as the Mistress of Sarcasm might say, “smell like ass” the rest of the day, but so what? Sometimes one must suffer for the sake of Art...and Fine Cuisine.

To be honest, I don’t know what inspired me to make this, aside from the desperation born of an abiding hunger coupled with an aversion for doing any serious Kitchen Work in the middle of the day. But it was vaguely reminiscent of one of the Lunchbox Horrors my mother (of Blessèd Memory) would inflict upon me from time to time: the Sardine and Cream Cheese Sandwich on Wonder Bread. Sounds heinous, no? Fact is, those sammitches were pretty damn tasty, the only really horrific thing about them being the Wonder Bread.

Laughing Cow cheese and sardines on a frickin’ tortilla. How can something so wrong taste so right?


[Sung to the tune of “Chim Chim Cheree”]

Pan TroglodytesChimp chiminey
Chimp chiminey
Chimp chimpanzee!
A chimp is as lucky
As lucky can be

Chimp chiminey
Chimp chiminey
Chimp chimpanzoo!
He’ll pick up a turd and
He’ll throw it at you
Yes, you’d better duck
Or you’ll get hit by poo

Now as the Song of the Primate’s
Been sung
You may wonder why chimps
Like to lob us their dung

There’s an explanation
That is honest and true:
Pan troglodytes
Ain’t much different from you

We humans, with all of those
Brains in our head -
We don’t throw our shit
We lob missiles instead

Ensuring that millions
Don’t see light of day
But the chimp is not cursed
With the same DNA
His weapon’s a turd
Not a poison-gas spray

Yes, he’ll crimp off a length
Pick it up in his hand
Chuck it at your head
If it hits, he feels grand

Though he’s covered with hair
From his head to his toes
He knows where his shit is
Wherever he goes

Chimp chiminey
Chimp chiminey
Chimp chimpanzee!
A chimp’s as evolved
As you and as me

A few nucleotides
Cleave our species in twain
And we naked apes
With our extra-large brain
Might do well to listen to
These Monkey-Words:
Get rid of your bullets
Replace ’em with turds!

[Photo credit: Christian Yared, Montreal]


Elisson may have been gone, but the World o’ Bloggy Carnivals rolls on and on.

Just in case you may have missed ’em:

Friday Ark #122: Posted at the Modulator. When? Friday! Duh.

Carnival of the Cats #148: Posted at enrevanche by the estimable and inscrutable Barry Campbell.

Kosher Cooking Carnival #14: Posted at Elisheva Blogs, the KCC includes not only a fine selection of recipes, but a comprehensive update on the kashrus certification of numerous packaged foods. Sometimes a prepackaged food item will become newly certified (or recertified); sometimes decertified; sometimes there are label misprints; and sometimes there is intentional mislabeling. Caveat fresser!

That catches us up on the latest Carnivals. We now return you to our regular Blog d’Elisson program of dopey 100-word stories, cat photos, recipes, song lists, snarky Photoshops, and other random Stoopid Shit™.


A snowy afternoon in Baltimore.

My flight was supposed to land in Atlanta at 8:00 this evening. We boarded half an hour late, then sat on the tarmac awaiting de-icing and a few ground holds due to Atlanta weather. Lucky for me I was able to score an all-too-rare First Class upgrade. Big-ass seats and free whiskey go a long way toward easing the pain of a delay.

We landed at 11:30, three and a half hours late. I felt sorry for the ten or so passengers who missed their international connections. They were going to lose a day out of their schedule.

The northbound MARTA train left at midnight. Two stops down the line, we were held up for unspecified “technical difficulties.” Another couple of stops, and we had to wait for a southbound train to pass. They were single-tracking due to maintenance.

It was well after 8:00 pm, so we had to change trains at Lindbergh Center to get to Dunwoody. Meh. Arrived at Dunwoody at 1:00 am. It was so late, the parking lot exit booth was unmanned, the gate open. Saved me $12. Woo-hoo.

Drove home on empty, rain-slick streets, arriving Chez Elisson 1:20 am. The alarm is set for 5:30.


Friday, January 19, 2007


After the Great Protein Shortage of 2029, the genetic engineers started getting creative.

People needed protein, and the existing sources weren’t getting the job done. Beef cattle were practically extinct after the BSE epidemics in the late teens. Fish were laden with heavy metals, poultry with pesticides. Legumes were fine - except for their unfortunate vaporous side effects.

But then a brilliant Belgian geneticist had a breakthrough. An excellent protein source: animals that lived in a farmable colony. Roughly three apples high, they made a perfect portion. And in time, people got used to the color.

Smurf and Turf, anyone?

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Ahhh...So Happy It’s Thursday™!

What, pray tell, is Elisson doing posting his Friday Random Ten on Thursday? You may well ask.

Tomorrow morning, as soon as I have dispensed with my morning minyan obligations, I will be headed off to the Baltimore (pronounced “Ballmer” by the locals) area for a training session - part of my preparation for assuming a leadership role in the Southeastern Region of the International Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs.

Blogging over the next several days will be sporadic to nonexistent, alas.

The Missus will most likely use the Elisson-Free Weekend to run down to Savannah and visit the Mistress of Sarcasm. I am envious. My weekend will be filled with breakout sessions and presentations - as much as you can do over a weekend considering that writing on Shabbat is verboten. Her weekend will be filled with Mother-Daughter Fun.

But in the meantime, we have Choons to listen to, all lovingly selected in Random Sequence by the Little White Choon-Box d’Elisson...
  1. Tapajos River - Philip Glass
  2. Fred Jones Part 2 - Ben Folds

    Fred sits alone at his desk in the dark
    There’s an awkward young shadow that waits in the hall
    He’s cleared all his things and he’s put them in boxes
    Things that remind him: “Life has been good”

    Twenty-five years
    He’s worked at the paper
    A man’s here to take him downstairs
    And I’m sorry, Mr. Jones
    It’s time

    There was no party, there were no songs
    ’Cause today’s just a day like the day that he started
    No one is left here that knows his first name
    And life barrels on like a runaway train
    Where the passengers change
    They don’t change anything
    You get off; someone else can get on

    And I’m sorry, Mr. Jones
    It’s time

    Streetlight shines through the shades
    Casting lines on the floor, and lines on his face
    He reflects on the day

    Fred gets his paints out and goes to the basement
    Projecting some slides onto a plain white
    Canvas and traces it
    Fills in the spaces
    He turns off the slides, and it doesn’t look right
    Yeah, and all of these bastards
    Have taken his place
    He’s forgotten but not yet gone

    And I’m sorry, Mr. Jones
    And I’m sorry, Mr. Jones
    And I’m sorry, Mr. Jones
    It’s time

  3. The National Anthem - Radiohead
  4. Every Mother’s Son - Traffic
  5. No One Mourns The Wicked - Wicked, Original Cast Recording
  6. Toccata & Fugue in D Minor - Wendy Carlos, Switched-On Bach 2000
  7. Purpose - Avenue Q, Original Broadway Cast
  8. Bodhisattva - Steely Dan
  9. I Got A Line On You - Spirit
  10. Native Son - The Judybats
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


                   MIA (OS)
Now I'm gonna ask you a bunch of
quick questions I've come up with
that more of less tell me what kind
of person I'm having dinner with.
My theory is that when it comes to
important subjects, there's only
two ways a person can answer. For
instance, there's two kinds of
people in this world, Elvis people
and Beatles people. Now Beatles
people can like Elvis. And Elvis
people can like the Beatles. But
nobody likes them both equally.
Somewhere you have to make a
choice. And that choice tells me
who you are.

I can dig it.

I knew you could. First question,
Brady Bunch or the Partridge

The Partridge Family all the way,
no comparison.

On "Rich Man, Poor Man," who did
you like, Peter Strauss or Nick

Nick Nolte, of course.

Are you a "Bewitched" man, or a
"Jeannie" man?

"Bewitched," all the way, though I
always dug how Jeannie always
called Larry Hagman "master."

If you were "Archie," who would you
fuck first, Betty or Veronica?

Betty. I never understood Veronica

Filmgoers will immediately recognize the above exchange from Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino’s magnum opus.

The premise of the scene is that there are, in many areas of life, two choices, and one must come down on one side or the other. You cannot straddle the fence.

Do you know where you stand?

Elvis or the Beatles.

Betty or Veronica.

Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie.

Dick York or Dick Sargent.

Contemporary Western Civilization or Radical Islam.

And, possibly most important of all...

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Baby Bottleneck (1946)

Disney or Warner Brothers?

[Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to John Kricfalusi for putting up these fine animated clips.]

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Back when I was a wee lad, I developed an unfortunate affection for Tasty Pastries. Unfortunate, yes: for it has been a millstone around my neck in the daily struggle against excess avoirdupois. And yet...I would not part with my memories of the Goodies of Yesteryear.

I have written in these pages of my deep and abiding love for pie. It is a love that came unto me through the back door. Literally. For that is where the Dugan Man would appear, twice a week, to sell us our quotidian supply of coconut custard pie, Corn Toastettes, and blueberry tarts. I’m sure that, even today, I am still wearing some of those coconut custard pies around my midriff.

Dugan’s wasn’t the only option if you wanted pies and cakes. Entenmann’s, now a household name throughout the country, was a local operation back in my Snot-Nose Days. Their chocolate-covered doughnuts make the offerings from Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts - fresh-made though they may be - pallid and nasty by comparison.

[You are probably thinking, “What up wit’ all da store-bought cake and pie?” It’s simple: My mother was not a baker. I remember her baking exactly one cake in the entire time I lived at home, from earliest childhood until after college. It wasn’t bad. It was some sort of spice cake, and I can still remember its cinnamon-rich aroma. But the Momma d’Elisson cared not how good it may have tasted or smelled. She only knew that baking a cake was a bigger pain in the ass than buying one from the Dugan man. It was not until I was in high school that I met people whose mothers actually baked fresh pies and cakes every day. WTF!??!]

Most people in the States are familiar with Hostess cakes. Those dark, incredibly sweet cupcakes with the squirt of cream filling and that asphaltum-like slab of icing with its signature squiggle of white running down the center...the infamous Twinkies...the Hostess Sno-Ball, like a junior-sized cupcake (complete with filling squirt), except in lieu of the icing slab there was an insulating jacket of springy fluorescent pink marshmallow specially developed by NASA. But we had our local options, too. In New York it was Drake’s Cakes. Their products resembled the Hostess line-up, but they had something called the Devil Dog that was perversity itself: a “bun” consisting of two vaguely bun-shaped chocolate cakes, surrounding a “hot dog” that was nothing more or less than a monster pile of Creamy White Filling.

To this day, our rabbi insists on breaking his Yom Kippur fast with a Devil Dog.

Alas, Drake’s Cakes are no longer independent, having been subsumed by Interstate Bakeries Corporation, the conglomerate that produces Hostess Cakes. Dolly Madison Cakes? Same story.

Philadelphians, of course, have their Tastykakes. If you visit Philly without experiencing (1) a soft pretzel with mustard, (2) a Philly cheesesteak, and (3) Tastykakes, then you have wasted your trip.

Upon moving South, I discovered one of the regional specialities: the Moon Pie. I had had these things up North (Burry, the outfit that sold ’em, called ’em Scooter Pies) and had thought them loathesome, but down South the same confection seemed to have a special cachet. Velociman would probably explain it as the Gourmandise of the Retarded, but I tend to not judge the Moon Pie so harshly. I can embrace it. I simply do not eat it...with or without the traditional RC Cola accompaniment.

But there is yet another Regional Speciality in these parts, one that has its fervent partisans while at the same time inspiring horror in the hearts of those who have not, as yet, acquired a taste for the Un-Chocolate...


Hakuna enjoys the morning sun.

Hakuna is the more shy and retiring of our two cats. She likes to sit under the chair at the top of our front staircase, where her smaller and more aggressive sister Matata usually will not bother her.

That thing sitting atop the chair is a cat bed. Once in a blue moon, one of the cats (usually Matata, who likes confined spaces) will actually sleep in it.

The morning sun casts a wan, watery sort of light through the balusters on these winter mornings. Winter or summer, I like to see the interplay of light and dark at the top of the stairs...but the winter sun is more gentle. It seems to fit Hakuna’s personality: a cat that will not walk upon you but that will curl up next to you as you sit on the sofa. And like the winter sun, Hakuna somehow manages to keep you warm.


In my new job, I’m what you might call a specialist.

My profession is not noted for being selective about its clients. “If you got the dime, I’ve got the time” is the order of the day for most of my colleagues. Me, I’ve got standards.

My customers are all in the pipe and fixtures business.

Hey, it makes sense. The guys have plenty of cash - hell, they make more than surgeons. And they have needs.

I have needs too. My new job helps pay for my “medication.”

I’m not just a crack whore. I’m a plumber’s crack whore.


That’s the order of the day here at Blog d’Elisson...and we are assisted mightily in that endeavor by this fine Web-Site.

I encourage you to click the link. Hours of Fun for the Feebleminded await.

[Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to Freddie of Warts & All for the link. Another Fedora-Tip goes to Lisa for pointing me to Freddie’s site.]

Everyone loves popping bubblewrap, but my connection to that Fine Substance is more personal. Over the years, some of my responsibilities at The Great Corporate Salt Mine have included sales...and as fate would have it, one of my accounts was the world’s premier manufacturer of bubblewrap. So, if you’re a veteran bubblewrap-popper, some of those bubbles you’ve popped very likely were made of polyethylene that I sold!

Monday, January 15, 2007


Tonight was the Sommelier Guild of Atlanta’s January tasting, featuring the Bordeaux wines of 2000.

Denny, the Grouchy Old Wino Cripple, inveigled me into joining the Guild, and tonight was the first tasting I attended as a full-fledged member. (I had gone to the Guild’s Pinot Noir dinner in November as Denny’s guest but had missed the Champagne tasting in December owing to my travel schedule.)

What did we drink? Inquiring minds want to know...

[All vintage 2000 unless otherwise noted]

Speaker’s Wine:
Gravier Lacoste Blanc 2005

Flight #1:
Alter Ego (Margaux)
Pavillon Rouge (Margaux)
Clos du Marquis (St. Julien)

Flight #2:
Comtesse de Lalande (Pauillac)
Forts de Latour (Pauillac)
Pontet Canet (Pauillac)

Flight #3:
La Dame de Montrose (St. Estèphe)
Pagodas de Cos (St. Estèphe)
La Dominique (St. Emilion)

My personal favorite among all of these was the Pontet Canet, although the Forts de Latour (the crowd-pleaser) was hot on its heels. The Pavillon Rouge and the Dominique were also standouts...but there was not a lemon in the bunch. And as if all that were not enough, a few bottles got passed around as lagniappe after the tasting: a Château Haut-Brion (Graves) 1993 and a Château Lynch-Bages (Pauillac) 1985. Serious wines, these.

No dinner, per se, just piles of nice cheeses, grapes, and pâté to help absorb the alcohol and offer a counterpoint to the Veen-Oh.

Denny regaled us with tales of his just-concluded trip to Snowmass, and we talked a whole lot about topics ranging from Drinkage to Bloggage to Music. The boy is a Renaissance man, for sure.

Now to drift off to a fragrant sleep, a sleep perfumed by the Noble Grape...

Sucks to be us, don’t it?


One of our Blown-Star Blodgers, Walrilla, has fallen into a bit of bad health, having had his left foot amputated below the knee last Friday.

Those of us who have met Walrilla know that underneath his fearsome outward appearance lurks a gentle soul. Gentle, perhaps; yet he can still hang with the likes of Eric the Blade, Chipmunk-Man, and the GOC without missing a beat. Anyone who can stay awake long enough to watch Mullet-Boy pack it in has definitely got what it takes. The boy has stamina.

And he will need it. It won’t be easy being a Walrilla minus one flipper - but fortunately, you don’t blog with your feet.

Please stop by and wish the Bewhiskered One a speedy recovery.

A tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora goes to El Capitan and to the Confabulator for spreading the news.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


That’s the word for Carnival of the Recipes #125, which may be found over at New Hampshire State of Mind.

A new State Motto may be in order. How ’bout “Eat Well or Die”?


Plissken, the snake.

She Who Must Be Obeyed got us a cuddly new pet this afternoon.

Plissken - that’s what I call him - is a little guy, only about six inches from stem to stern. But I figure a diet of small mammals will get him up to size pretty quickly.

I wonder how well he’ll get along with the cats.

Friday, January 12, 2007


By the year 2032, advances in medical technology had made organ transplantation practically foolproof.

No longer did patients take anti-rejection drugs for a lifetime, waiting for their new organs to fail. One shot was all it took. Everything but the brain could be transplanted; lifespans of 135 years became common.

Only problem was, not enough raw material. Cloning might’ve helped, but the religious right killed that possibility. Then came the Anticrime Omnibus Bill of 2037.

All of which explains why Stewart, who had just received his third parking ticket, was headed for the organ banks.

Fucking parking meters, he thought.


I’m sure many of my Esteemed Readers occasionally watch Jeopardy!, one of that rarest of all things: an intelligent television quiz show.

I know from Television Quiz Shows, having been on one a few times. And Jeopardy! is the king of ’em all, owing to its combination of challenging questions, interesting categories, the possibility of winning real money, and the elements of strategy and quick thinking that contestants must demonstrate. The unusual “we give you the answer, you give us the question” format gives it an extra fillip.

At dinner the other night, sometime between the salad and the Spinach Tortellini, a whole new Jeopardy! category popped into my head, one which they have never, to my knowledge, used on the show. Alien Civilizations!

People who are familiar with the classic canon of Science Fiction - movies, books, and television - should have no problem providing the questions to these Jeopardy!-style answers. The corresponding questions are below the fold.

Alien Civilizations

The Answers:

200 Dollars
Don’t get too attached to these aliens, frequent nemeses of Captain Kirk.

400 Dollars
He and his robot landed in Washington, but their mission of peace was endangered when a nervous soldier’s bullet nicked ’im.

600 Dollars
He started out as “Enemy Mine,” but a member of this race turned out just fine.

800 Dollars
In the film Forbidden Planet, their advanced civilization was no match for the cruel monsters unleashed from their own subconscious minds.

1000 Dollars
They were able to send out emissaries bearing the solution to the world’s problems, wanting only “To Serve Man.”

The Questions:

200 Dollars
Who are the Klingons?

400 Dollars
Who was Klaatu?

600 Dollars
Who were the Dracs?

800 Dollars
Who were the Krell?

1000 Dollars
Who were the Kanamit?


[More bad news from the Georgia Aquarium, which suffered the second loss of a major attraction in as many weeks. Herewith a Déja Blogpost...]

Ralph, the late whale shark.

Atlanta is again in mourning upon hearing the tragic news that Gasper Ralph, one of the Georgia Aquarium’s celebrated beluga whales whale sharks and a favorite among visitors, died unexpectedly.

Gasper had been suffering from osteomyelitis, a bone infection, and his condition had deteriorated in the past several weeks. Ralph had recently suffered a loss of appetite and a deterioration in swimming patterns. Jeff Swanagan, the Aquarium’s executive director, said that when staff members noted that Ralph had stopped swimming Thursday afternoon, they put him in a sling and began intensive treatment.
“We rescued Gasper knowing that he was seriously ill, but were hopeful that we might have been able to save him,” said Bernie Marcus, Georgia Aquarium benefactor and chairman of the board.“At 1:30, Ralph was observed not swimming,” Swanagan said. “Our husbandry staff and veterinary staff gave him medical attention, and they did that for eight straight hours.”

“The entire staff is saddened by what has happened today.”
Surviving Ralph are tankmates Norton (a male), Alice and Trixie (females).

In related news, the Georgia Aquarium today announced plans to build a 50,000-gallon 200,000-gallon capacity toilet bowl to facilitate disposal of the remains.


Geez, is it Friday already?

Yes it is - and that means it’s time for this week’s Friday Random Ten, the incredibly self-indulgent exercise in which I post whatever miscellaneous assortment of Musical Narrischkeit (that means foolishness, for those of my Esteemed Readers who are Yiddish-impaired) the iPod d’Elisson poops out.

What’s on the box today? Whaddaya say we take a look:
  1. Stagger Lee - Professor Longhair

    It was early, early one morning
    When I heard my bulldog bark -
    He was barking at the two men
    Who was gambling in the dark.

    It was Stagger Lee and Billy Lyons, boys
    And they gambled there very late
    Every time Stag threw seven,
    Billy Lyons told him that he threw eight.

    Stagger Lee lost all of his money
    And he lost his Cadillac
    He said, “I believe you been cheatin’, Billy -
    Don’t be here when I come back.”

    Stagger Lee went home
    And he knocked upon little Bertha’s door
    He said, “Wake up, little Bertha, baby
    And hand me my .44.”

    You know, Bertha jumped out of the bed, screaming
    Boys, she was lookin’ at Stagger Lee’s eyes
    She said, “Come on in, honey,
    I can see some poor man’s gonna die.”

    Stagger Lee told Bertha
    That he had lost his brand-new Cadillac
    But he believed Billy was cheatin’,
    And she knew he didn’t go for that.

    Stagger Lee went back on the corner
    Boys, he stood up in the barroom door
    He said, “Don’t nobody move,
    ’Cause I got my .44.”

    You know, Stagger Lee shot Billy Lyons
    Oh, he shot the poor boy so fast
    The bullet went through Billy
    And it broke the bartender’s glass.

    Billy Lyons started to holler,
    He cried, “Stag, don’t take my life -
    You know I got two little children
    And a poor little old sickly wife.”

    Stagger Lee told Billy,
    “Yes, I know you got a cute boy and girl,
    But if you wanna see your family, Billy,
    Meet ’em in another world.”

  2. Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi - Christian Thielemann, Orff: Carmina Burana
  3. It’s In The Subtext - James Newton Howard, King Kong (2005)
  4. Houses - Mitch Hedberg
  5. Chop ’Em Down - Matisyahu
  6. Life’s Been Good - Joe Walsh
  7. Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring - Wendy Carlos, Switched-On Bach 2000
  8. Dona Dona - Moishe Oysher and Sholom Secunda
  9. Everything You Did - Steely Dan
  10. Chinese Combo Number 5 - Weird Al Yankovic
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?




Tig and Gracie, the resident cats at, welcome you to today’s Friday Ark, the 121st edition of which is now sailing off into the deep blue Bloggy-Sphere Sea over at the Modulator.

And it’s as good a time as any to remind you that Carnival of the Cats #147 will be up this coming Sunday evening at Pet’s Garden Blog.

Kitties! Gotta love ’em.

Update: CotC #147 is up.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Blogging for Books

[Following is my entry in the January, 2007 installment of Blogging for Books, Jay Allen’s venerable competition at The Zero Boss. This month, B4B changes over to a new format, one which more properly might be called Blogging for Bucks. Regardless, I haven’t participated in quite some time...and since this month’s topic is Time, I couldn’t resist.]

The Time Traveller began his story, sitting back in his chair at first, and speaking wearily. Afterwards he got more animated. In writing it down I feel with only too much keenness the inadequacy of pen and ink - and, above all, my own inadequacy - to express its quality. You read, I will suppose, attentively enough; but you cannot see the speaker’s white, sincere face in the bright circle of the little lamp, nor hear the intonation of his voice. You cannot know how his expression followed the turns of his story! At first we glanced now and again at each other. After a time we ceased to do that, and looked only at the Time Traveller’s face.

“I told some of you last Thursday of the principles of the Time Machine, and showed you the actual thing itself, incomplete in the workshop. There it is now, a little travel-worn; one of the ivory bars is cracked and a rail bent, but it’s sound enough.

“It was at ten o’ cluck today that the first of all Time Machines began its career. I gave it a last tap, put a dab of goose grease on the quartz rod, and sat in the saddle. I suppose someone facing a hunter’s shotgun feels much the same fear and wonder about what is to happen next as I felt then. I pressed the starting lever and almost immediately the stopping lever; I felt a sensation of flying; and, looking round, I saw the laboratory almost exactly as before. Had anything happened? Then I noticed the cluck. A moment before, it had stood at a minute past ten; now it was nearly half past three!

“I drew a breath, grasped the starting lever, and went off with a thud. The laboratory got hazy and went dark. Huey and Dewey came in and waddled, apparently without seeing me, towards the pond. I suppose it must have taken them a minute or so to traverse the room, but to me they seemed to shoot across like an eagle in flight.

“As I gained speed, night followed day like the flapping of a wing. The dim walls of the laboratory fell away; I suppose the house must have been destroyed. The sun leaped across the sky every few seconds, each passage marking a day; eventually, as I gained pace, it became a band of fire that swayed from solstice to solstice, marking the passage of the years.

“The landscape grew misty and vague, the surface of the earth melting and flowing before my eyes. Eventually my thoughts came round to the idea of stopping. I pulled the stop lever over - a little too fast, it turns out, and found myself next to an overturned machine in the year 802,701.

“Almost immediately, I was surrounded by a crowd of what I took at first to be ducklings. They were small and delicate in appearance and spoke in a soft, liquid tongue, quacking gently as they probed me and my machine with inquisitive feathers. After extended bouts of pantomime (for which my education at the Colorado School of Mimes more than adequately prepared me!), we were able to make ourselves mutually understood.

“They called themselves the Muscoveloi, and their diminutive size was, as I discovered, natural to their species. As I spent more and more time with them, I saw that they lived lives of careless indolence, their every need provided for by some mysterious agency. Crusts of bread appeared on the surface of the pond as they swam, insects and fish were plentiful. None of them appeared to be starving; in fact, I observed that, among them, none appeared to be elderly. I also saw no evidence of sickness or disease - no avian influenza - during the entire time I spent among them.

“As I spent more time exploring this world of the far future, I became aware of the presence of strange shafts - mineshafts? I wondered - that led to some sort of subterranean structure. These I resolved to explore.

“It was at the bottom of one of these shafts that I made a grim discovery. The Muscoveloi were not alone in this world; beneath them lived another race of waterfowl, a race that had become thoroughly adapted to life in a nearly sunless environment. Their feathers were a pallid white, their eyes huge and pink, no doubt extremely sensitive to the low levels of light in their underground home. I could not understand their language; however, later, one of the Muscoveloi explained that these creatures were known as Mallardlocks.

“The Muscoveloi, I saw, were alternately disgusted and horrified by the Mallardlocks. To attempt to talk of them was akin to telling a filthy joke to a refined lady. This attitude mystified me, especially as I had deduced that the Mallardlocks were the providers of the Muscoveloi’s bounty. Not only did they ensure that there was plenty of bread and insects to eat, they also maintained the ponds and swimming areas, keeping them swept clean of Duck Dookie. Why, then, were these Underground Brethren so reviled?

“It did not take me long to find out. On one of my subterranean expeditions, I could not help but notice the remains of a carnivorous meal. Upon closer examination, the nature of what I was seeing struck me with horror: These were duck bones!

“Cannibals! The Mallardlocks were cannibals!

“I tried to understand what had divided Duckdom in twain. Surely, the Muscoveloi were the descendants of the moneyed leisure classes, thousands of generations removed from their Ludwig von Drake-like ancestors. The Mallardlocks must have originally been their servants, the working-class ducks. As their habitats grew more and more apart from one another, they became socially estranged, eventually becoming two separate species. As I see it, the Upper-world duck had drifted towards his feeble prettiness, and the Under-world to mere mechanical industry. Then, at some point, the feeding of the Under-world became disjointed. The Mallardlocks being in contact with machinery, which, however perfect, still needs some brains to keep in operating condition, had probably retained rather more initiative, if less of every other ducklike character, than the Upper. And when other sustenance failed them, they turned to what old habit had hitherto forbidden. Poultry!

“And so I came back. For a long time I must have lain insensible upon the machine. The hands spun backward upon the dials; the landscape ebbed and flowed; the familiar buildings of Duckburg grew back. The laboratory sprang up around me. Presently I pressed the stopping lever and brought the Time Machine to a halt. I came in, and now I am telling you this story.

“I know that all this will be absolutely incredible to you. I cannot expect you to believe it. Take it as a dream - or a prophecy. A tall tale. And, taking it as a tall tale, what do you think of it?”

At first, nobody spoke. Then Filby cleared his throat.

“To tell ye the truth, George, I think it’s a wee bit Daffy.”

[Apologies to H. G. Wells. Some material used herein has been excerpted rather freely from The Time Machine, which novelette is now in the public domain in the United States.]


Hakuna and Matata.

Nothing says “Comfy” like two Cat-Sisters all snuggled up together.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


And no, I’m not referring to the usual Fine Quality of the material on the Boob Choob.

I’m talking about this fine preview video for the January 18 episode of Scrubs, which I spotted over at The Zero Boss. Jay, the Zero Boss hizzownself, in turn snarfed it from Mamacita, who writes at the appropriately titled Scheiss Weekly.

The Missus and I both think Scrubs is one of the best comedies on television, one that has never received the attention it deserves. And ya gotta love a show that will stage an entire musical number around the Diagnostic Capabilities of Excrement Analysis...a topic that has surfaced here in recent weeks.

Somehow, you, my Esteemed Readers, knew that this video would find a home on this site, didn’t you?

Watch and enjoy “Everything Comes Down To Poo.” And see how many synonyms for “poo” you can count.


Or, the Act of Eating Poultry at Home.

Last night we had our friend Debbie M. and her mother over for dinner, in observance of Debbie’s birthday. Of course, I’m too much of a gentleman to reveal which birthday, but it suffices to know that a couple of nickels were involved.

That’s vague enough, innit? After all, this country did, at one time, make a nickel three-cent piece.

The four of us had a very pleasant evening, complete with Ceremonial Birthday Cake. But how can you have any pudding cake if you don’t eat your meat? Answer: You cannot. And so we preceded the cake with a meal that included…chicken!

The Missus prepared a nice Insalata Caprese: sliced mini-tomatoes, each decorated with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a basil leaf, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and with a sprinkling of fleur de sel, that most eminent form of sea salt.

Meanwhile, I ginned out some Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, having roasted a handful of whole garlic heads the previous day. I had greased the garlic heads up nicely with olive oil, then roasted them at 350°F for an hour, until the flesh within was nice and tender. Using my handy-dandy ricer (kinda like a giant garlic press) I squooshed the softened garlicky goodness out of the heads, reserving it for later use. And now was the time. A couple of teaspoons of this fragrant garlic goo, added to three Idaho Russets (peeled, cut into chunks, then boiled for 30 minutes and put through the ricer) jacked the flavor profile up nicely. Whisk in some butter and hot milk to get the texture right, dot with more butter, and you’re good to go.

For a green vegetable, I sautéed up some broccoli rabe - the leafy, slightly bitter cousin to plain ol’ broccoli - with olive oil and garlic.

For the entrée, I had decided on something chickeny. How about something involving Pounded Chicken Titz? Why not?

Chicken Bazoom Roll-ups Florentine à la mode d’Elisson

4 boneless chicken breasts
One pound fresh spinach
4 oz Pecorino Romano cheese
Olive oil
¼ cup dried currants
½ cup pine nuts
4 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper

First, toast the pine nuts in a hot skillet until golden brown. Be careful not to burn ’em. Set aside.

Soak the currants in a cupful of hot water for 10-15 minutes. Drain; set aside.

Place a chicken breast on a heavy cutting board and cover with a layer of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat tenderizing mallet, pound that sucker flat. Repeat for the remaining chicken breasts.

In a sauté pan or skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add about half the minced garlic, then throw in the spinach. Cook it down until soft and dark green, then add the currants and pine nuts. (Save a few pine nuts to sprinkle on the completed roll-ups.) Grate in half of the Pecorino Romano. Stir well, take off the heat.

Now, take a flattened chicken breast. Put a couple of tablespoons of the spinach mixture in the center and flatten with the spoon. Roll up the chicken breast into a cylinder, trapping the spinach mixture within. Secure with a wooden toothpick and place into a baking dish. Repeat for the other breasts.

Drizzle the chicken breast roll-ups with olive oil, then sprinkle with the reserved garlic and pine nuts, plus a few twists of the pepper mill. Grate the remaining Pecorino Romano over the chicken.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 40 minutes. Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks before eating! Alternatively, the finished roll-ups may be sliced into attractive rounds before serving, if you’re sufficiently anal and Martha-Stewartish.


Eric the Blade recently posted on the topic of Pocket Knives, being of the opinion that everyone should carry one. They are, in his words, “useful things to have around.”

I can’t claim to have anything like Eric’s Cold Steel, the very blade that has convinced me that Off-Color Limericks are best shared in the most selective of circumstances, but I have a small assortment of pocket knives of varying degrees of utility. And my experience with knives goes back over fifty years, to my Snot-Nose Days.

In these electronic pages, I have previously related the tale of my first experience with a pocket knife, an ill-advised gift from my parents (!) when I had attained the tender age of four. What were they thinking?

These days, I’m like as not to carry a Schrade Old-Timer, a simple, uncomplicated folding knife. It’s razor-sharp, not too big, but it has come in handy on numerous occasions.

The Schrade Old-Timer.

Years ago, I never traveled anywhere without my Leatherman tool, that multiple-purpose Gew-Gaw of which a knife is just one of many components. It would nestle in my briefcase during my various business travels, at least until airport security procedures made it impossible to carry around.

Damn useful, that Leatherman. The first time I ever saw one, I was traveling with one of my direct reports, a tall, lanky fellow with a Julius Caesar haircut who was partial to lugging his papers around in a big black Jeppesen case. You know the kind: Airline captains use ’em to schlep their flight manuals around in. Big and boxy-looking.

There must’ve been forty pounds of crap in that case of his. One cold January day, while we were dining with one of his accounts in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the handle to his Jeppesen gave up the ghost. Sheer overwork is what did it.

Not to worry, though. My guy was resourceful, as befits someone who styled himself “The Old Yankee Resin Pedlar.” He simply grabbed a wire hanger from the restaurant’s coat closet and used his Leatherman to make an on-the-spot temporary repair, one that was good enough to last until he got home. Just Damn! I decided right then and there that I needed one of those Leatherman sumbitches for myself.

Pocket knives are only part of the picture. We’ve got other knives, too. No household is complete without a set of fine kitchen blades. For years, we have relied on our Henckels knives for all-around kitchen tasks, and, thanks to the generosity of SWMBO’s brother (a frequent commenter here under the moniker Bro in-Law d’Elisson), we’ve supplemented these with an impressive set of Cutco cutlery.

We bought the Henckels knives here in Atlanta in the early 1980’s. They were so razor-sharp that the saleslady who was wrapping them up for us gave herself a good slice without realizing it. If we hadn’t alerted her to the bloody mess she was trailing thoughout the Housewares department, who knows when she would have noticed it?

I’ve got to agree with ol’ Eric. Knives are extremely useful tools to have around. In that rare event when you have to dig a bullet out of your ass, you don’t want to be stuck with only a plastic Carvel spoon.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


...when they go to the Ladies’ Room en masse? (Aside from the obvious, ya disgusting bastidge.)

The Mistress of Sarcasm, SWMBO, and Elder Daughter.

Why, they take pictures!

This one is from the Ladies’ Room at Wildfire, a new restaurant at Perimeter Mall that is not actually in the mall, but is located at the edge of the mall grounds. Yep: It’s on the perimeter of Perimeter.

And it’s where we dined on New Year’s Eve, when this image was captured.

Mark my words: Cameraphones will spell the end of society as we know it. No more privacy. But then again, we will be able to take crapblogging to new heights...

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Elder Daughter, circa 1996.

Beauty and grace are characteristics that I lack, but of which the ladies in my life have a-plenty.

As evidence, I submit this photograph of Elder Daughter, taken during one of her myriad dance recitals back in High School. Later, she would go on to choreograph and perform in shows at university.

The memory of some of those shows still brings a tear to my eye when I remember how proud I was of our daughter’s prodigious talents.

And she had talented friends, too. Look at the young lady on the far right. One of Elder Daughter’s best friends when this picture was taken, Erica Mansfield went directly to New York after being graduated from high school, there to pursue her dream of acting and dancing onstage. We last saw her a couple of years ago, when Mamma Mia! played at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Today, you can catch her at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York. Broadway!


Does this ever happen to you?

You’re happily minding your own business, when, suddenly, you are struck by the laugh-out-loud ridiculousness of a given word or name.

Suddenly, that word - whatever it may be - sounds completely silly. You can’t help thinking about it, and the more you try not to, the more it jams itself into your consciousness.

It has nothing to do with the word’s meaning. It has everything to do with how it sounds, and sometimes, how it’s spelled.

For She Who Must Be Obeyed, one word that pegs her Ridiculometer needle is “desk.”

Say it to yourself a few dozen times. You might begin to feel that “desk” is a ridiculous word, too.

In my case, I am frequently bedeviled by a Proper Noun. A name.

It’s a name that, through no fault of its owner, makes me want to laugh out loud.

Maeve Binchy.

Say it a few times. Let it roll around on your tongue. Maeve Binchy. Maeve Binchy.

God-damn! what a ridiculous assemblage of syllables. Maeve! Binchy!

Maeve Binchy is a real person. An author, no less, with at least fourteen novels, five short story collections, and a novella to her credit.

I have never read any of her books. I am not likely ever to read any of her books. I just can’t get past the name, which, for no apparent reason, simply strikes me as humorous. And these are the kind of Random Thoughts I have concerning Ms. B.:
  • Maeve Binchy is where America goes for seafood.

  • Hefty Hefty Binch-Sak

  • Don’t get your panties in a Binch.

  • How about a nice Hawaiian Binch?
Now: Does this ever happen to you? Or do I belong in an institution?

And if the answer to the second question is “Yes,” do you belong there with me?


Hakuna reminds us to Get on the Bus - Leslie’s Omnibus, that is - and visit Carnival of the Cats #146, posted this afternoon. It’s Kitty-Licious!


The Missus and I went in for our haircuts yesterday. Every four weeks, we go in together to the same young lady who has been cutting our hair for eight years now.

Ya gotta love a Hair Lady who gives you Zorch-Shaped Chocolates for your birthday. Plus, she looks enough like SWMBO to be mistaken for her daughter. Happens all the time.

The Shampoo-Girl who washed my hair yesterday in preparation for my cut did an outstanding job. Massaged all the convolutions right outta my brain, she did. Why pay for a $500-a-night hooker when you can get pretty much the same amount of pleasure out of a head-massage, for less than a hundredth of the price?

It cannot be an easy job, though. You pretty much have to deal with whatever clientele comes in the door: the sad lot of the Shampoo-Girl.

No matter whether he was a heavy tipper or not, how much of a pain in the ass must it have been to shampoo the Elephant Man?

Friday, January 05, 2007


We frequently join our friends Gary, JoAnn, Laura Belle, and Don for dinner Friday evenings. What with our various vacation and travel schedules over the past few weeks, tonight was the first night in several weeks that we could do our traditional Friday thing.

We generally stick close to home for our Friday evening outings, preferring to range farther afield on Saturday nights. Only problem with this is, East Cobb - our part of the Atlanta metroplex - is not exactly awash with restaurants. Most likely this is because of a long-ago decision by the Learned Elders of Cobb County, in which the county refused to be a part of the nascent Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. As a result, restaurants in Cobb County would need to rely on the local supply of janitors, busboys, and waiters, the pool of low-cost labor available inside the Perimeter being inaccessible.

This means that some of the local eateries tend to be crowded on weekend evenings.

OK, I can deal with that. But tonight, a night marked by intermittent bursts of heavy rain, it seemed as though every frickin’ Tom, Dick, and Harry in East Cobb decided to eat out.

Most places around here will not take reservations (why should they bother?), so you end up dealing with the infamous Waiting List. Laura Belle made a few phone calls. Longhorn had a 90 minute wait (!). There are very few restaurants at which I am willing to wait an hour and a half for a table; Longhorn is not one of them.

We ended up at Houlihan’s, where the wait was estimated at 45 minutes. We figured that by the time we went anywhere else (where we also would have to wait), we would have killed at least that much we stayed and schmoozed. Within 30 minutes, we had our table.

Houlihan’s has a menu that appears to have been written by a 27-year-old with a semi-snarky sense of humor. It’s mildly amusing. I’m happy to put up with it because the food is generally pretty good. I had the Mercury-Encrusted Salmon, and it was so good, I glowed in the dark. SWMBO ordered the Polish Onion Soup (it has a head of cabbage in it instead of a cheese-encrusted crouton), which also was a big hit.

Once upon a time, Houlihan’s had a menu item that beggared description. Really. It was a BLT made with an entire pound of bacon, served on two slices of bread that were sliced lengthwise from an entire Pullman loaf. I am not making this up.

I ordered it once. Once. Ate half of it, then took the other half home until it grew green hair in the back of the fridge. Why they took that gi-normous fuckin’ sammitch off the menu, I have no idea. Heart-healthy, my ass.