Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Volume 11.

Still more stuff that should be in the dictionary but isn’t.

Previous installments of the Blog d’Elisson Dictionary may be found in the Archives: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5, Volume 6, Volume 7, Volume 8, Volume 9, and Volume 10.

Doody Decimal System [du-di-de-si-ml sis-tem] (n) - A highly unofficial set of standards and guidelines by which feces may be assigned numerical rankings for size, texture, and pungency.

“Jeezus, Charlie! What the hell did you do in there? That one hadda be a ten on the Stench-O-Meter!”

Update: Looks like El Crapitan El Capitan beat me to it.


SWMBO, Before and After. [Click to embiggen.]

Free, that is, of the Pernicious Tooth-Encircling Metallic Bands.

Today was the day She Who Must Be Obeyed has awaited eagerly for lo, these many months. Today was the day that her course of orthodontic treatment was completed.

Today was the day the braces came off.

It seems like ages ago when they were first put on, back on January 16, 2005. SWMBO had dreaded it, for it was the first step on what she knew would be a long, difficult, and (sometimes) painful road. Eighteen months of orthodontia, followed by jaw surgery: orthognathic mandibular extension. Recuperation, then more orthodontia. All in all, a two-year course of treatment.

Now, gone are the post-adjustment headaches. Gone are the days - three months all told - of being unable to chew following jaw surgery. Gone, the constant post-meal paranoia that there is an unsightly chunk of food lodged in the grillework.

All that’s left? Sheer beauty, I tells ya.

Oh, boy! Ribs, apples, and chewy caramel!


I have, in Matters Physical,
A single, sole complaint.
There is nothing as obnoxious as
A Warhead in the Taint.

With this part of my anatomy
I don’t care to be acquaint
Ed. But I know it of necessity
When a Warhead’s in my Taint.

To discuss these loathsome matters
I have little self-restraint.
What compels me to go tell ye
’Bout the Warhead in my Taint?

It’s difficult to reach it
For with iodine to paint
There is nothing as repulsive as
A Warhead in the Taint.

Inflammation makes it painful -
T’would provoke a very Saint.
Excruciating? Nothing beats
A Warhead in the Taint.

I’d really like to squeeze it, but
It hurts too much. I cain’t.
There is nothing quite as tender as
A Warhead in the Taint.

The very thought of popping it
’S enough to make me faint.
It’s hard to get much lev’rage on
A Warhead in the Taint.

I got out the mirror and checked ’im -
It’s an inch and a half South-South-West of my rectum!

O, Lord up in the heavens,
Please attend my mournful plaint -
Preserve thy humble servant
From the Warhead in the Taint.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


My e-mail is acting wonky these days. Messages are going astray, and I seem to be geeting a few that are intended for a different recipient. But sometimes that is a rich source of unexpected humor. Checkit:


  Ned Holmes, Broadcast Standards and Practices

To:    Saatchi & Saatchi

Re:    Domino’s Pizza Advertising Campaign

We have reviewed the storyboards for the proposed Domino’s
Pizza advertising campaign
and must insist on some edits.
Our comments on specific scenes and characters follow:

  • Guy with Big Nose (“Nothing like the smell of
    Domino’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Pizza...”) –
    Acceptable, but with reservations due to possible
    concerns over offensive stereotyping. Make sure
    the actor does not portray the character as
    being Jewish.

  • Guy with Big Mouth (“C’mon, man, it’s all
    about the taste...”) –
    Acceptable as is.

  • Possibly argumentative dialogue between
    Guy with Big Nose and Guy with Big Mouth –
    Acceptable, as long as there is no implied
    probable escalation of the good-natured
    argument into physical violence. Be sure actors
    smile as they deliver their lines.

  • Guy with Big Eyes (“Look at the cheese!”) –
    Acceptable as is.

  • Guy with Big Ears (“Man, that sounds good...”) –
    Acceptable as is, despite possible unpleasant
    association with Ferengi aliens. (Issue mainly
    of concern among Star Trek nerds.)

  • Guy with Baseball Bat-Size Dick
    (“This pizza is fucking great!”) –
    Does not meet current standards. Scene
    must be cut in its entirety.

Please contact me immediately if there are any questions
about the required script/storyboard changes.


Monday, February 26, 2007


It’s the Righteous Hungarian Secret of Cucumbers, and I snarfed it offa this nice lady.

If you want the secret, go here. But I’m warning you: Once you try this recipe, no other form of cucumber (save for, perhaps, that most glorious Half-Sour Pickle) will satisfy your Cucumber Jones. I am serious.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Joe Tobacco has offered up some exceptionally kind words:
There’s simply no argument to be made that blogs using profanity or obscenity aren’t good blogs; I defy anyone to read Velociman, Elisson, Eric, Steve H., Erica, Stevie, and Richard, or peruse the archives at Gut Rumbles, and tell me that isn’t some of the best writing, on-line or off-line, you’ve ever seen.
A little context is appropriate here. Joe’s post was about the use of profanity in blogs, and while one might take one’s inclusion in a list of Blogs That Use Profanity a left-handed compliment, that wasn’t the point. The point was that good writing does not preclude the use of profanity, nor does it require same.

It’s all in the technique.

As I have explained in these Electronic Pages, I come by my profane vocabulary honestly, having learned my earliest vulgar expressions at my grandmother’s knee. But any brainless fool can curse like a sailor after a bad night on shore. You have to wield the occasional fuckbomb like any other Writerly Tool: with finesse.

As with all things in life, excess in the Swearing of Vile Oaths is a thing best avoided. But neither is it to be feared to the point of complete disuse. “Oh, fudge!” just doesn’t convey the same gravitas as “Fuuuuuck!”

I don’t have an issue with my kids reading my blog: They are adults, living on their own. For that matter, I don’t have a problem with my Rabbi reading my blog.

But to go back to Mr. Joe Tobacco, his is a high compliment indeed. Being ranked with the folks on his little list is a High Honor, and for that I thank him. And though there’s a little voice in my head saying one of Harvey Keitel’s memorable lines from Pulp Fiction [“Well, let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet.”], I feel that a little reciprocity is in order.

Joe is that rarest of rara avises, an Intelligent, Well-Spoken Centrist. This post gives a bit of insight into his political philosophy. What differentiates Joe from almost every other political blogger I’ve ever read is that he is at once articulate and almost completely nondogmatic. None of this “My mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with the facts” ’tude. His site, Cadillac Tight, is well worth a visit.

Anyway, that’s my opinion. I could be wrong.


Lio 022207
Lio ©2007 Universal Press Syndicate.

There’s a new face on the Funny Pages these days, and I like it.

The strip is Lio, by Mark Tatulli. Drawn in a spidery style packed with fine detail, both its art and its humor are reminiscent of Edward Gorey and Gahan Wilson.

Lio is a little guy who inhabits a dark world - the world of a child’s perfervid imagination. He’s a little like the Haley Joel Osment character in The Sixth Sense, the main difference being that when Lio sees dead people, he will, like as not, run off to play with them. He revels in the surreal.

I’m the kind of guy who reads the funnies every day whenever possible. And Lio is one of a handful of strips that never fail to make me smile...or laugh out loud.

And it’s not just because the little bastard thinks like I do.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Mad #1

Years ago, as a young Snot-Nosed Lad, I discovered MAD magazine.

It was April of 1962 and I was not yet ten years old. My mother, brother, and I were about to embark on an Adventure: we were going to take the Florida Special from New York to Miami.

The Florida Special, it should be noted, is a train. An honest-to-Gawd choo-choo, complete with Pullman cars. The trip would take 25 hours – a long stretch, but faster than driving, and way cheaper than flying.

In order to ensure that I would not go out of my mind with boredom, I bought a copy of MAD. The June 1962 issue was on the newsstands; it featured Alfred E. Neuman’s ridiculous phiz at the center of a bull-eye target. The joke was that a bulls-eye was worth zero points, the values increased as you moved toward the edge of the target.

It was a fateful purchase. Beginning with that issue, I became a MAD aficionado of sorts, eventually amassing an uninterrupted run of twelve years. Geeky? You bet.

I figured a few things out about MAD fairly quickly. One was that a lot of the artists and writers were Jewish. It was obvious not only from their names, but also their general comic sensibility. The presence of numerous Yiddish expressions was another clue. (Can you say “fershlugginer”?) Another was that the pages of the magazine were replete with inside jokes, or jokes that would be slyly inserted into every issue on one place or another.

If you’re old enough, you may remember some of these recurring jokes and catchphrases:
  • The “Arthur” avocado plant, an illustration of which would be buried in every issue at least once.

  • It’s crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide.

  • The MAD Zeppelin.

  • Osgood Z’Beard.

  • Moxie. The logo for this obscure New England soft drink would crop up randomly.

  • Halvah.
This last is a Middle Eastern confection with (thanks to MAD) a name that borders on the ridiculous. But it’s nothing more than a wet brick-like mass of sweetened, ground sesame seeds, available in any reasonably urbane delicatessen.

I had never had halvah. It was well after I had discovered its existence in the pages of MAD that I actually tasted the stuff. Not bad, but nothing that would compete with a good hunk of Swiss milk chocolate.

The topic of halvah came up today at the luncheon following Shabbat morning services. One of our friends had just returned from Israel, where she had purchased a good-sized chunk of the sweet delicacy. This led to a conversation about halvah: why, for example, is it pronounced “ha-la-vah” by so many Northeasterners. Random crap.

And yet, here was another Mystical Connection.

At this morning’s service (of which the first half, comprising the Birkot ha-Shachar, Pesukei d’Zimrah, and Shacharit prayers, I had the privilege of leading from the pulpit), we celebrated the Bat Mitzvah of a young lady with a familiar last name. After services, as we filed into the Social Hall for the Oneg Shabbat luncheon, I asked the father of the Bat Mitzvah:

“Are you, by any chance, related to ______?”

“Why, yes,” was the response. “He was my uncle.”

And so, when the topic of halvah surfaced at our table, I could only marvel at the connection. Halvah, the confection I discovered in the pages of MAD years before I actually tasted it. And the Bat Mitzvah girl, whose great-uncle had edited some of the classic comics of the pre-Code era, including Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat – but whose description by the New York Times as “one of the most important figures in postwar America” was based on the impact on American popular culture of his greatest creation. That creation, of course, was MAD, which was born in October of 1952 (same as Yours Truly) as a comic book. The great-uncle? Why, Harvey Kurtzman, his ownself.


Matata, looking especially regal.

Maybe it’s a trick of perspective, but Matata looks downright queenly in this photograph.

Royalty she may be, but deep down, she’s a Kitty Guttersnipe. Looka dis:

Hey, Big Boy - wanna see my fuzzy tummy?

What a slut.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Lois had had her sights trained on Superman for years, and tonight was the night it would all pay off.

Coaxing him out of his iconic super-tights had taken all of her feminine wiles. He had resisted, citing her safety, his desire to avoid romantic entanglements.

“What if you get pregnant?”

“You’re from Krypton. We have no DNA in common. No worries.”

Now, sitting astraddle his hips, she grasped his Super-Manhood, guiding it into her. She moaned with pleasure...

...until his orgasm blew her to pieces.

Damn, he thought. A Woman of Kleenex shouldn’t mess with a Man of Steel.

[Inspired by Larry Niven’s classic short work of speculative fiction, “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex,” you can hear the podcasted version of this story here.]


It’s Friday once again. Huzzah!

This promises to be an exceptionally musical weekend for She Who Must Be Obeyed and me. This evening, we’ll head off to the Ferst Center on the Georgia Tech campus to hear Béla Fleck and Chick Corea. Now, that’s a combination to reckon with.

I discovered Chick Corea via his (still exceptional) Inner Space album, which was already four years old when I first heard it in 1970. The disc features an all-star ensemble, including Joe Farrell (sax), Woody Shaw (trumpet), Steve Swallow and Ron Carter (bass), Joe Chambers and Grady Tate (drums), and, above all, Hubert Laws (flute). Corea himself later became a force in the jazz fusion movement with his band Return to Forever, which featured bassist Stanley Clarke. Remarkable stuff.

As for Béla Fleck, about eleven years ago I was browsing through the racks at a Blockbuster Music store in Houston when I heard his strangely appealing folky-jazzy banjo picking for the first time. I couldn’t resist buying a couple of his CD’s right then and there.

It’ll be interesting to hear what the two of them come up with together.

Saturday evening, the madness continues when we see Spamalot at the fabulous Fox Theatre. This show, beyond its being a comedy and musical celebration of Monty Python (and the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail in particular), resonates with me because that is the very movie SWMBO and I saw on our first evening together over 31 years ago. I’ll be sure to bring some coconuts for the sound effects.

But enough of this prattle. It’s time for this week’s Musical Miscellany from the wonderful white iPod d’Elisson:
  1. Illegal Smile (Live) - John Prine

    When I woke up this morning, things were lookin’ bad
    Seem like total silence was the only friend I had
    Bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down...and won
    And it was twelve o’clock before I realized
    That I was havin’ fun

    But fortunately I have the key to escape reality
    And you may see me tonight with an illegal smile
    It don’t cost very much, but it lasts a long while
    Won’t you please tell the man I didn’t kill anyone
    No, I’m just tryin’ to have me some fun

    Last time I checked my bankroll,
    It was gettin’ thin
    Sometimes it seems like the bottom
    Is the only place I’ve been
    I chased a rainbow down a one-way street...dead end
    And all my friends turned out to be insurance salesmen

    Repeat Chorus:
    Well, I sat down in my closet with all my overalls
    Tryin’ to get away
    From all the ears inside my walls
    I dreamed the police heard
    Everything I thought...what then?
    Well I went to court
    And the judge’s name was Hoffman

    Ah, but fortunately I have the key to escape reality
    And you may see me tonight with an illegal smile
    It don’t cost very much, but it lasts a long while
    Won’t you please tell the man I didn’t kill anyone
    No, I’m just tryin’ to have me some fun
    Well done
    Son of a gun
    Hot dog bun
    Attila the Hun
    My sister-in-law is an Irish nun

  2. He Is Not Dead Yet (Playoff) - Spamalot - Original Cast Album
  3. Improvisation No. 2 - Django Reinhardt
  4. Too Much Exposition - Urinetown - Original Cast Album
  5. Friday On My Mind - Easybeats
  6. Underture (Entr’acte) - Tommy - Original Broadway Cast
  7. Longer Boats (live, w/extra verse) - Cat Stevens
  8. Swift As The Wind - The Incredible String Band
  9. Weigh - Phish
  10. Hinokh Yafo - The Klezmatics
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


If you like animals, then sooner or later
You’re gonna have to visit the Modulator.
What he modulates is a mystery, they say,
But that Ark of his sails every Friday.

Yes, it’s time once again for the Friday Ark, the 127th incarnation of which is afloat at its usual spot at the Modulator.

I notice that my friend KeesKennis has become a serious Arkivist, with three contributions this week alone. This makes perfect sense, as Keesie lives in Africa, where animals of every description are thick on the ground. It also makes sense because Keesie posts a lot of animal photos, interspersed with his toothsome Boer-floavored English. Go pay him a visit, willya?

Of course, no weekend would be complete without the Carnival of the Cats, the Bloggy-Sphere’s most beloved Linkfest. This Sunday evening, you can catch CotC #153 at Scribblings.

Update: Carnival of the Cats #153 is up.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


That 1 Guy has a theory concerning the origins of the Lenten season - something with which we Jews have little truck.

I cannot vouch for the plausibility of his story, but it did get me to thinking.

“Why,” thought I, “here is a Vile Substance that I have not yet posted about!”

Indeed. For ever since the earliest days, when Web-Logs were hyphenated and carved on individual waxen tablets by highly trained and dexterous Midget Scribes, intrepid Online Journalists have been unafraid to tackle Noxious Matters.

There is no shortage of Shitbloggage in the ’Sphere. For that matter, you don’t have to engage too much search engine horsepower to find bloggers writing about pretty much every other rank Bodily Secretion known to mankind.

Urine, Nasal Mucus, Ear Wax - you’ll find it all in Bloggy-World. [Hell - you’ll find it all right on this site. And it’s only a matter of time before I fill in the gaps and add a few posts on vomit, lymph, pus, and blood.]

But until now, I have never thought to plumb the mysteries of Navel Lint.

Let us be perfectly honest. Is there a single soul among us Innies who has not dug in that old Belly-Button with a fingertip, thereby to dig out a rich harvest of lint?

And not just lint. Lint with soul. Belly button lint bears as much resemblance to, say, Dryer Lint as the gemlike Sweet-Potatoes that grow in one’s ears bear to the mass-produced paraffin wax beloved of the candle industry. It’s the difference between microbrewed ale and Coors Light, between Château d’Yquem and jug wine.

Belly button lint is funky.

Let us again be perfectly honest. Is there a single soul among us Innies who has not dug in that old Belly-Button with a fingertip, thereby to dig out a rich harvest of lint...and who has not taken a surreptitious little whiff of that lint? ’Course not. It’d be like a pig turning up his nose at a truffle.

You Outies...why, you do not know what you are missing. And I, for one, am not about to show ya.


There’s no way the Missus is going to watch American Idol without her crew of Lap-Warmers. She’s surrounded!


El Capitan recently posted on the subject of toys - five favorite Childhood Toys, plus five toys he never had (but wished he did). That would make a resoundingly good meme, for everyone remembers with affection certain Playthings of their Snot-Nose Days.

I am convinced that one of the engines that drives the success of online auction sites (e.g., eBay) and online classified sites (e.g., Craigslist) is the nostalgia we Baby Boomers have for our toys. Finding an old favorite online is a little like striking gold.

My earliest Toy Memory is of a pair of rubber squeaky toys I had as a toddler: a giraffe and a frog. She Who Must Be Obeyed is convinced that I only remember these toys because they appear in photographs of the Extremely Young Elisson...but I know otherwise. I can still remember - albeit vaguely - clutching those little rubber critters as I waddled around the house.

When I became old enough to be trusted with small objects, I had toy trucks and road signs, all made of intricately cast metal. They’d be worth a small fortune today.

Anyone remember cap pistols? Every red-blooded American kid of the 1950’s had an arsenal of cap pistols, even kids from effete liberal families that believed in nuclear disarmament. When we weren’t playing Cowboys and Indians Western Beef Cattle Ranchers and Indigenous Americans, or Cops and Robbers Law Enforcement Officials and Possible Perpetrators (Assumed To Be Innocent Until Proven Guilty), we would just take the rolls of caps and smash them on a cinderblock with a hammer. More fun and noise even that the (yet-to-be-invented) bubble wrap!

Mattel revolutionized the Cap Pistol world with the invention of their Shootin’ Shell™ line of cap guns. These featured Greenie Stick-’Em Caps, individual circular caps - green instead of the traditional red - that could be peeled off a sheet and stuck to an individual cartridge that had a plastic spring-loaded bullet. When you fired one of those babies off, you’d get a satisfying BANG! and that grey plastic slug would actually fly out of the gun’s muzzle, the better to lodge in your kid brother’s gullet. The CPSC would shit a massive blood clot if one of these bad boys showed up in a toy store today.

We had board games, too. I remember one board game that purported to teach the names of all 48 states (this was the 1950’s, remember), along with their capitals and major products. Iowa - Des Moines - Fuckloads o’ Corn! To this day, I still know the capitals of all the states thanks to this obnoxious educational “toy.”

Cappy mentions Mousetrap as a toy he wished he had had. I had one of them when I was about ten years old. Hours of mindless amusement, building that Rube Goldbergesque mousetrap and then watching it function as the Big Finish. There’s probably a whole generation of operating system developers and programmers who got their first taste of Systems Design from this game. And it shows.

Anyone remember the Gilbert Chemistry Set? Chemistry sets nowaday are mere shadows of their former Toxic Selves, but back in the day, you could do some Major Damage with one of those things. Potassium Ferrocyanide! Copper Sulfate! Magnesium! Sodium Silicate! Better Living through Chemistry? Shyeah, if Better Living means filling the house with the aroma of brimstone and blowing up the parakeet.

I could go on and on. Fat-tire bikes. Block City. Tinkertoys. Great Garloo. Tonka Trucks - made of real, honest-to-Gawd steel!

But one of my favorite toys is one I made myself.

I took a chunk of wood and nailed all sorts of miscellaneous Random Hardware to it, calling the resulting Hotch-Potch my “Switchboard.” Of course, there was zero resemblance between this cobbled-together Magnum Eppis and anything that could actually be called a switchboard - but no matter. Childhood Imagination made it the most marvelous object in the world.

And then, one day, it simply disappeared. Had the Old Man found it and discarded it without realizing its import? Did it just get lost amidst the Miscellaneous Garage Detritus of our homestead? Who knows? But I mourned its loss as I had not mourned the loss of any Object Physical.

What toys do you remember from your Snot-Nose Days?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


The line outside the Las Vegas Chabad House snaked around the building, with Morty bringing up the rear. He mopped his forehead, feeling the sweat darken his armpits. Despite the heat, he smiled.

Every two minutes, the door would open and someone would come flying out with a shoeprint on his buttocks, a happy grin on his face. “Next!”

A curious passerby got Morty’s attention. “What’s going on?”

“You know that Kabbalah racket? Load of crap. This here’s the real deal, worth every penny they charge.”

“You mean...?”

“Yeah. Can’t make it in this town without a lucky Rabbi’s foot.”

Monday, February 19, 2007


Erin O’Brien

When I saw this charming self-portrait at Erin O’Brien’s site earlier today, it looked strangely...familiar.

Where had I seen that face before? That devilish grin, those mildly maniacal eyes?

And then it struck me...

Devil Girl

Why, it’s Devil Girl! From Elder Daughter’s infamous Lunchbox!

Clearly, this is what comes from eating too many effin’ Wasabi Crackers.


“It’s been years now, but I’ll never forget when we tried to rescue Ann from that giant ape.

“A bunch of us came along with Driscoll. He had seen Kong grab Ann and knew we had no time to lose.

“Skull Island? Horrible. Dinosaurs, swamps, and a ravine fulla giant bugs! I still get the sweats thinking about it.

“Anyhow, it was pretty easy to track that monkey. Every couple hundred yards, there’d be a steaming heap of Ape-Shit.

“But when we saw the blond hair in that last heap - why, that’s when we turned around and went home.”

[Be sure to visit the 100 Word Stories Podcast, where you can listen to this story as well as all the others that were submitted for Weekly Challenge #45. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite! (Especially if it’s mine.)]

Sunday, February 18, 2007


The cold wind is blowing outside on a sunny Sunday morning. But I’m inside...with She Who Must Be Obeyed, who has conjured up a Royal Breakfast.

Swedish pancakes with butter and lingonberries. Mugs of steaming hot coffee.

Life is sweet.

Friday, February 16, 2007


A salmonella outbreak has been traced to peanut butter, say CDC staffers in a recent news story.

Consumers should discard jars of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter that bear product codes beginning with the digits 2111. The affected product all appears to have been made at a single ConAgra, Inc. facility in Sylvester, Georgia.

Hundreds of people have been sickened in an area covering 39 states, with about a quarter of those affected requiring hospital care.

“I eat peanut butter every week,” said Etowah, Tennessee’s Randolph Bletch, 27, one of the victims. “In fact, I have peanut butter almost every day. Last Monday I was having my favorite, raw chicken with peanut butter on a Kaiser roll with lettuce and tomato, and the next morning I felt awful.”

Melanie Hamby, a 44-year-old homemaker and candle-dipper from Snellville, Georgia, began feeling ill Wednesday morning.

“I had a peanut butter and Mexican spinach salad at lunch Tuesday. Next thing you know, it was coming outta both ends.”

Salmonella frequently is spread by contamination with feces. A ConAgra spokesman said that the company was conducting an internal investigation to establish the source of the contamination and to prevent future incidents.

Separately, a ConAgra marketing official informed reporters that, “...our plans to market ‘Peter Pan Peanut Butter with Poopy Pebble Pieces’ have been put on hold indefinitely.”


Friday seems to have rolled around rather quickly this week...perhaps the aftereffect of a long weekend in the mountains. But here I am, back in the Happy ’Burbs of Northern Atlanta, where the traffic is excremental and its growth is exponential.

I am looking forward to spending the weekend with the Mistress of Sarcasm, who rolled into town yesterday with boyfriend Mickey. Alas, my pleasure will be tempered by the fact that I currently am suffering with a dose of the Green Snots. I get colds but rarely, but when I do, they’re doozies. Perhaps Jimbo’s remedy - hot tea with lemon and a slug of Myers’s Jamaican Rum - will set me straight. Or on my ear.

Meantime, while we wait for my sinuses to drain, let’s inspect the Random Spewage of my Litle White Choon-Box, shall we? Listen up:
  1. Jou Nou Revolte - Boukman Eksperyans
  2. Lemmen jumalatar - Tuomari Nurmio & Alamaailman Vasarat
  3. Blame It On Cain (Alternate) - Elvis Costello
  4. The Fez - Steely Dan
  5. Sheik of Araby - Paul Whiteman
  6. Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand - The Beatles
  7. Still, There’ll Be More - Procol Harum

    I’ll bathe my eyes in a river of salt
    I’ll grow myself right up to the sky
    I’ll sing in the forest, tear down the trees
    I’ll foul all the fountains and trample the leaves
    I’ll blacken your Christmas and piss on your door
    You’ll cry out for mercy, but still there’ll be more
    I’ll put a blight in the orchard
    I’ll run wild through the fields
    I’ll waylay your daughter and kidnap your wife
    Savage her sexless and burn out her eyes
    I’ll blacken your Christmas and piss on your door
    You’ll cry out for mercy, but still there’ll be more

  8. Incognito - The Judybats
  9. No One Else - Weezer
  10. Shou-Biznes - Leningrad

    A ya tut pered vami krivlyayus’ i tantsuyu
    Igrayu na gitare poyu, blya nu i khuli
    A deneg ved’ nam platyat, kak kot naplakal
    Takoi blya shou-bizness, ebanyi mazafaka

    Gde vashi ruki, beite v ladoshi suki
    Gde vashi ruki, beite v ladoshi suki
    Gde vashi ruki, beite v ladoshi suki

    A vypit’ muzykantu, nuzhno litrov pyat’
    Chtoby, khotya by v noty nemnogo popadat’
    A deneg ved’ nam platyat, kak kot naplakal
    Takoi blya shou-bizness, ebanyi mazafaka

It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


Attention! Listen up!

Friday Ark #126 is afloat over at the Modulator, with Hakuna and Matata in pole position again. Woo-Hoo!

This Sunday, be sure to tune in to Pet’s Garden Blog to catch the 152nd edition of Carnival of the Cats.

That is all...

Update: Carnival of the Cats #152 is up.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


What is it about wimmin and their obsession about owning shoes?

Shoes and handbags. For the shoe, it must match something, no?

Shoelust. As a Penile-American™, I am at a loss to understand it, despite the fact that as a husband, and as a father of two daughters, I have been dealing with it for many years.

Imagine this exchange between Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda, who was found to have stashed thousands of pairs of shoes away in Malacañang Palace:

F: “What? You got anothah fucking pair of shoes?”

I: “No, I got another hundred fucking pairs of shoes. You no like it? Find another First Lady to play with your shriveled old pizzle, Mr. No-Dick-tator!”

But I digress. What I really wanted to do was share with you this leetle viddy that the Mistress of Sarcasm has brought to my attention.

Caution: Not safe for work, unless your workplace encourages the watching of videos that contain Random Fuckbombs and that cause you to spray coffee on your keyboard and monitor, much to the consternation of the IT Department.


There’s a site called Ask And Ye Shall Receive that publishes snarky reviews of Random Blogs...and it looks like I’ve been selected for a few smacks with the Fuckbat.

Their main bone of contention:
...listen up Mister Smarty Pants, roll up them thar sidebars! Christ on a bike! I think this guy has linked to every blog in the free world! I scrolled for a good 2 minutes and still didn’t hit the end of that fucking thing!
It’s a fair cop, well worth the Atomic Finger I got.

They say bad publicity is better than no publicity. How ’bout Mediocre Publicity?


For Saint Valentine’s Day - or pretty much any other day - what could be better than a Meatloaf in a Box?

Here’s the Missus, playing with her new toy:

(Or is it the other way around?)


The Missus and I got a Carnivorous Craving yesterday.

Maybe it was that small pile of beef short ribs sitting in the fridge that provided inspiration, but we decided to share a Beefy Dinner with our friends Gary and JoAnn. And I settled on a recipe that I found in my Balthazar Cookbook: Braised Short Ribs of Beef.

It ain’t Fast Food. Allow about 4-1/2 hours. Braising takes time.

Braised Short Ribs of Beef.

You take 5-7 pounds of beef short ribs, tie ’em up with butcher’s string, and season liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat up a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a heavy Dutch oven and brown the ribs, about three minutes to a side, working in two batches. Pour off the excess grease between batches.

Put the meat aside and throw in three carrots (peeled and chopped into one-inch chunks), a small onion (likewise chopped), four shallots (peeled and sliced 1/4" thick), and three garlic cloves (peeled and halved). Sauté until the onion is lightly browned, about five minutes.

Prepare a bouquet garni: take three sprigs of fresh rosemary, six sprigs of fresh thyme, and a bay leaf, and place between two halves of a celery stalk. Tie the bundle together with butcher’s twine and set aside.

Add three tablespoons of tomato paste to the mess o’ veggies in the Dutch oven. Mix well and cook down for another two minutes. Now add three tablespoons of all-purpose flour and stir everything together well.

Dump in four cups (one 750 ml bottle is close enough) of good red wine, preferably a nice Cabernet. Add 1/2 cup of ruby Port and toss in that bouquet garni. Bring the whole mess to a moderate simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 325°F.

Now add the meat, stacking it in two layers. Add about 4-6 cups of veal stock (beef broth works fine), enough to cover the meat. Bring the whole mess back to the simmer, then cover and stick it in the oven for three hours.

After it’s been in the oven for an hour or so, take it out and swap the meat on the top layer with the meat on the bottom - then put it back in the oven to finish.

Take the meat out (it should be tender!) and remove the string. Set aside.

Now take all the goop in the Dutch oven and strain it into a saucepan. Toss out the solids. Bring the goop up to a moderate simmer and cook it down for about an hour, until it’s reduced to a nice glaze-y consistency. Put the meat back in and heat through, then arrange it on a platter. Sprinkle on a little chopped fresh parsley.

I served these bad boys on a bed of pan-sautéed root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, and celery. You peel and smash five garlic cloves and sauté ’em in hot olive oil until light brown, then throw in the veggies (hock ’em into little dice first). Sauté for five minutes on a high flame, then turn it down to medium for another ten minutes, stirring frequently. Splash in a little water after five minutes to generate some steam.

Finish off by adding a couple tablespoons of butter and some chopped fresh parsley, and you’re good to go.

We served this forth with a green salad SWMBO put together, consisting of romaine with toasted pine nuts and dried cherries, along with a loaf of sourdough rye I had scored at Trader Joe’s earlier that day.

“A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou beside me, and pretty soon I’ll be fat, drunk, and in trouble.” - MAD Magazine

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I was not quite ten when I fell in love for the first time.

We were visiting my grandparents in Miami, where they kept a mountain of old Reader’s Digests. It was in their yellowed pages that I met her.

She was a twelve-year-old Catholic girl from a small Quebec town. My heart melted when I saw her. She had sandy hair and wore glasses. She was adorable, and I fell hopelessly in love.


My love would never be, could never be, reciprocated. She had died of leukemia.

Forty-five years later, the thought of her still breaks my heart.

[Written for the Valentine’s Day Special over at the 100 Word Stories Podcast.]


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

I’ve got you under my skin
I’ve got you deep in the heart of me
So deep in my heart, that you’re really a part of me
I’ve got you under my skin

I’ve tried so not to give in
I’ve said to myself this affair never will go so well
But why should I try to resist, when baby I know so well
That I’ve got you under my skin

I’d sacrifice anything come what might
For the sake of having you near
In spite of a warning voice that comes in the night
And repeats, repeats in my ear

Don’t you know, you fool, you never can win
Use your mentality, wake up to reality
But each time I do, just the thought of you
Makes me stop before I begin
’Cause I’ve got you under my skin

I was originally looking to the lyrics of “My Funny Valentine” for inspiration, but on closer examination, they were not a suitable frame for my thoughts regarding the Love of My Life, the Missus, She Who Must Be Obeyed. Lookit:

...Your looks are laughable


...Is your figure less than Greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

Well, the Missus has her Funny Moments. After all, the ability to make each other laugh on random occasions is one of the things that has kept our marriage strong for almost thirty years. But funny looks?

She Who Must Be Obeyed, December 2006.


So I went elsewhere in the Sinatra canon, and found what I was seeking. For after so many years together, it often feels as as though we are under each other’s skin...two souls in one body.

She told me that I make “happily ever after” happen every day. High praise, indeed - and yet, how much more so does she do that for me?

Valentine’s Day, Schmalentine’s Day. It’s a form of goyische narrischkeit to which most of us subscribe in this country, thanks to the perfervid ministrations of the Card ’n’ Candy Cartel - the notion of a single day on which we must express our feelings of romantic love. But I’m here to tell you that with the Missus, it’s Valentine’s Day every frickin’ day.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Dr. Cox never missed an opportunity to harass the new first-year residents.

As he led the group of newbies on rounds, he made a point of seeking out patients with the most revolting, horrific conditions. Mrs. Finster, a 300-pound woman with a prolapsed rectum. Mr. Jones, who suffered from the increasingly rare Hansen’s disease. Leprosy had eaten away half his face. Nonetheless, the residents were unfazed.

But when they saw the guy in 303B, half of them retched on the spot. His scrotum was perforated, a mass of weeping sores.

Cox laughed inwardly. Wiffle Balls - gets ’em every time.

[Please note that the WIFFLE® Ball is a registered trademark of The Wiffle Ball Inc., Shelton, Connecticut.]


Let’s turn the tables, shall we?

Instead of you asking Mr. Debonair your angst- and despair-filled questions, why don’t we have Mr. Debonair ask a question of his Esteemed Readers on the eve of this Most Significant Day?

What will you be giving your lover for Valentine’s Day?

Candy Hearts

Something special, perhaps?


This is what we see when we look at our Hakuna.

Beautiful blue eyes, soft fur just begging to be skritched and petted.

But her sister Matata probably sees her a little differently...

“Oy - it’s that weird cat that hides all day and then dares touch my Sacred Food!”

Monday, February 12, 2007


During our Weekend Retreat, I had plenty of time to ponder the details of our Religious Liturgy. In the process, I could not help but notice that there was a tenuous connection to a few sites on my blogroll...

F’r instance, take Psalm 30, which is recited as a part of the daily morning service. Embedded therein is a sly reference to the Bakerina.

Ba-erev yalin bekhi v’laboker rinah - Tears may linger for the night, but joy comes with the dawn.

Boker rinah - joy at dawn - close enough to Bakerina for government work, am I right?

And then there’s Sisu.

Sisu is a Finnish word that can be translated to mean “strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.” [Wikipedia]. But in Hebrew, sisu means (we) rejoice: an example is its use in the Sabbath song “Sisu et Yerushalayim” (Rejoice in Jerusalem), with lyrics drawn from the book of Isaiah.

Can we draw the inference that the Big Guy approves of blogging? Who knows? But at least a few slices of my blogroll are Liturgically Appropriate.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


I’m in the library at Camp Ramah Darom in the north Georgia mountains, sneaking in a quick post.

The bonfire is roaring, heating the rocks that will power the Famous Sweat Hut. There are about a dozen guys in the Beit Knesset playing poker; the rest are out by the lake, standing around the bonfire and doing their level best to empty every bottle of single malt Scotch, reposado tequila, and all other High-End Spirits on hand. Bobby Slayton’s (intensely vulgar!) comic stylings are playing over the loudspeaker, adding to the general atmosphere of Boyish Merriment. And the crisp mountain air is perfumed with the aroma of cigar smoke.

Yes, it’s Saturday Night at Camp Ramah.

We’ve had a weekend filled with spirituality, excellent presentations by our guest speakers, and good food. Last night, we spent several hours demolishing several bottles of Scotland’s finest while socializing in the bunkhouse. With a crowd of about 70 guys - including a raft of Newbies - it’s been an exceptionally fine weekend so far.

In a few minutes, I’ll head back out to the lake and watch as the First-Timers experience the Famous Sweat Hut. While they schvitz, I’ll challenge my liver with a few more “wee drams.” It’ll help keep me warm. For up here in the mountains, the air is nice and cold, and there is a clear sky in which every star in the firmament is visible. Glorious.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Hi there, folks: I’m the Modulator.
I post links to cricket, cat, and ’gator.

The 125th Friday Ark (would that be the hemi-demi-sesquicentennial?) is up at (where the hell else?) the Modulator, with our very own Hakuna enjoying the pole position.

This coming Sunday evening, it will be the turn of When Cats Attack! to host Edition 151 of the Carnival of the Cats.

Hmmm...151. Perhaps WCA! will use an Overproof Rum theme...

Update: Carnival of the Cats #151 is up. Hic!


Well, technically, it’s Thursday.

But I won’t have time to post my traditional Friday Random Ten on Friday. Immediately after morning Minyan, I will be heading up to the north Georgia mountains for my annual drunken debauch Religious Retreat at Camp Ramah Darom.

Camp Ramah Darom
Camp Ramah Darom.

Think of it as a blogmeet...but without the blogs. And with a whole bunch of Religious Content. There will be plenty of conviviality and catching up with friends from around the entire Southeast. And did I mention Adult Beverages? There will be plenty of those.

A full weekend of a Kosher Diet, and complete adherence to the myriad restrictions of the Jewish Sabbath. As soon as the sun goes down on Friday, there will be no smoking (hold those cigars!), photography, flipping light switches, using electronic devices (including telephones), lighting fires, driving, or photography, until the sun sets Saturday night. It’s a sort of enforced downtime...and far more relaxing and pleasant than it may sound.

During morning services Saturday, I will - thanks to the vagaries of the calendar - read the Ten Commandments (the Exodus version). It’s a dramatic event to hear it chanted in the original Hebrew, one of only three passages in the Torah for which the congregation stands while it is read aloud. Afterwards, a wee dram (in Yiddish, a bissel schnapps) will be consumed by way of celebration.

Sundown Saturday, we’ll light up the bonfire and heat up a few hundred pounds of Big Rocks, the better to operate the Famous Sweat Hut. That’s when the honkin’ Big Cigars will be trotted out, along with a selection of High-End Booze.

But now it’s time to check out the Random Musical Offerings of the iPod d’Elisson. Here they is:
  1. Professor Alexander Hartdegen - Klaus Badelt, The Time Machine (2002)
  2. Shvarts Un Vays - The Klezmatics
  3. Jabberwocky - Tom Waits
  4. Bublitchki - The Klezmer Conservatory Band
  5. In Taberna - Ego Sum Abbas - Christian Thielemann, Orff: Carmina Burana
  6. Pay It Back - Elvis Costello
  7. Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi - Christian Thielemann, Orff: Carmina Burana
  8. Meet Me Tomorrow Night - Professor Longhair
  9. Come Wi Goh Dung Deh - Linton Kwesi Johnson

    Come, wi go dung deh
    Mek wi tek a ride dung deh
    Come, wi go dung deh
    Mek wi fahwahd dung deh
    We nuh bad it up a bad it up a bad it up
    Come, wi go dung deh

    De peeple dem a bawl fi food dung deh
    Dem cyaan get no food but food dung deh
    De peeple dem a bawl fi work dung deh
    Dem cyaan get no work but work dung deh
    De peeple dem a bawl fi shelta dung deh
    Dem cyaan get a room but palace dung deh
    De peeple dem a bawl fi mercy dung deh
    Dem cyaan get no mercy, mercy no dung deh

    Come, wi go dung deh
    Mek wi tek a stride dung deh
    Come, wi go dung deh
    Mek wi fahwahd dung deh
    We nuh bad it up a bad it up a bad it up
    Come, wi go dung deh

    De peeple dem a fite fi work dung deh
    De peeple dem a fite wananada dung deh
    De peeple dem a fite fi stay alive dung deh
    De peeple dem a fite fi dem rites dung deh
    De peeple dem a fite oppression dung deh
    De peeple dem a fite fi dem life dung deh
    De peeple dem a fite fi suvvie dung deh
    De peeple dem a fite dem a fite dung deh

    So come, wi go dung deh
    Mek wi mek a stap dung deh
    So come, wi go dung deh
    Mek wi fahwahd dung deh
    We nuh bad it up a bad it up a bad it up
    Come, wi go dung deh

  10. We Both Reached For The Gun - Chicago The Musical
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Anna Nicole Smith, 1967-2007.

There’s a certain horrible irony in this latest piece of Celebrity News.

Anna Nicole Smith (née Vickie Lynn Hogan), who married an oil executive billionaire 763 63 years her senior - no doubt out of love - only to have to deal with a bitter court fight over his estate after his (totally predictable) death; who recently lost her 20-year-old son to what is now acknowledged to be a drug overdose; collapsed and died at the age of 39 today in south Florida.

It is unclear whether she called the front desk of her hotel to request an Early Checkout.

I guess now her late husband’s kids can get back to squabbling over whatever is left of the estate, adjudication of which has gone all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

Jeezus. I can’t even work up a decent case of schadenfreude over this. I mean, she may have been the Queen Gold-Digger of All Time, but somehow, this is sad...and more than a bit bizarre.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was right. The rich are different from you and me. They have more money. And they are, in some cases, Totally Fucked Up.

Vickie Lynn, requiescat in pace. Too bad you couldn’t take it with you...


For years, the magazine was Required Reading in almost every American home.

It became a national icon after adopting its new photojournalism format in 1936. Covering everything from the momentous to the mundane, its renowned photographers - Edward Steichen and Alfred Eisenstaedt among them - filled its pages with Pulitzer prize-winning pictures.

But now it was 1972, and the tastes of America had changed. Sales plummeted.

Henry Luce called his employees in to give them the bad news. He couldn’t afford to pay them.

How ironic, he thought. It simply took too much bread to maintain the staff of Life.


My podcasting efforts are a Work in Progress.

I’ve created a podcast feed at Odeo and at some point will link it to a separate site...but in the meantime, here’s your chance to listen to some of the Random Crap I’ve generated over the last eighteen months.

Plenty of 100-word stories here. I’m getting within shouting distance of my goal, which is to be able to publish a collection of 100 100-word stories.

But there are a few other Tasty Goodies...including the infamous Pooncast. Just in case you’re looking for 460 different ways to say “vagina.” [Since I’m an Equal Opportunity Offender, I will be happy to ’cast a few hundred different ways to say “penis” if someone can provide me with the nucleus of a list.]

You can subscribe to the podcast by copying the URL for the RSS feed into the podcast aggregator of your choice. Or just click on the link below:

Subscribe to My Odeo Podcast

Anyway, if you have a few spare minutes, give a listen. Most of these pieces run about two minutes. Allow twelve for the Pooncast, though...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


The story was on everyone’s lips at Post-Minyan Breakfast today: the Tale of the Murderous Jilted Astronette. Even The Reclusive ThunderMan has come out of semi-retirement to post about it.

You’ve probably heard most of the story by now. How Lisa Nowak drove almost 1000 miles nonstop, intending to confront Colleen Shipman, the woman who had stolen the heart of her lover William “Billy-O” Oefelein...the man for whom she had ditched her husband and three children.

Confront her she did, schpritzing her with pepper spray when Shipman got into her car, which had been parked at the Orlando International Airport. But Nowak may have had other plans as well, as evidenced by a few other knick-knacks she brought along with her: an unused BB-gun cartridge, a new steel mallet, knife, rubber tubing and large garbage bags.

Sounds like Chris Walken getting ready to deal with a pack of midgets. Putting the “Whack” in “Nowak.”

But here’s the beauty thing:
Police said Nowak, believing Shipman was romantically involved with Oefelein, had driven 900 miles [sic] from Houston - wearing diapers in the car so she would not have to make bathroom stops - to confront Shipman as she arrived in Orlando on a flight from Houston. [Emphasis mine.]
I can only imagine the scene as Nowak approached Shipman in the airport parking lot, pepper spray at the ready. Lissen!

Squish. Squish. Squish. Squish. Pssssshhht.

[“How long does it take to drive from Houston to Orlando?” “Depends.”]

Of course, merely wearing a diaper will not save you that much time. But this is where an Astronaut has big advantages over the rest of us. I’m sure that whenever her gas gauge needle started hovering near that E, she would simply pull up alongside a gasoline tanker truck to do one of those In-Flight Refueling Maneuvers, just like they do in Jet Fighter Training School...all the while cruising at 75 MPH down Interstate 10. “Gimme 15 gallons of regular go!”

I agree with Mr. Montana: This woman does not deserve to go to jail. Here you have a highly trained veteran of the spaceways, one who has displayed passion, fortitude, and the ability to plan and (partially) execute a mission. Rubber tubing! Garbage bags! Trenchcoat ’n’ Wig! Why, she’s a regular frickin’ MacGyver!

Naw. No jail time for Ms. Lisa “Wak-O” Nowak. She oughta be put on the Mars mission...and not just because she has nice Barsooms. Da lady gots Initiative!


A mysterious creature glided in the depths.

Legends had circulated for years, but never any hard evidence. The creature belonged to the shadowy realm of the Possibly Real occupied by Sasquatch, the Ten Lost Tribes, and the menehune of Hawai’i.

But when bowling ball-sized chunks of meat began boiling to the surface of the lake, each enveloped in a mysterious doughy casing, the locals called me in. Abe Schwartz, Dybbuk Hunter. Ghosts and Legendary Creatures a speciality.

After searching all my life, I had finally found her. The miraculous evidence left no doubt that it was the Kreploch-Ness Monster.

[You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the icon below.]

PupuPlayer FREE

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Laurence Simon, podcaster extraordinaire, is engaged in a Duel to the Death with Phil Rossi over at Podcast Pickle.

It’s the sixth and final round of the Pickle Tales compettion!

You can listen to the whole thing by clicking here...or go to the Podcast Pickle site.

Voting is a bit of a pain in the ass, because you have to be registered in the Podcast Pickle Forums - but once you’ve signed up (a huge pain in the ass simple process), it’s a snap to cast a ballot for your favorite.

After listening to the whole thing, starting with Round One, I’ve gotta go with Laurence - and not just because I know him. He has put together some brilliant stuff for this competition, including a pseudo-manifesto on World Peace (as told from the viewpoint of the inhabitants of the Land of Gorch) and a retelling of the Odyssey with Elvis subbing for Odysseus.

Go - listen and vote!

[And a Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora goes to Phil Rossi for the poster!]

Monday, February 05, 2007


An Arty Display at the Toronto airport, taken enroute to Saint John, New Brunswick this past summer.

The watery effect is an optical illusion caused by consuming thirty-five cups of Tim Horton’s coffee.


The Missus called to announce she was on her way home from work.

“Have you seen Hakuna today?” she asked.

I told her I had not.

I should explain that Matata leaves me alone most of the day, but inevitably there will be some kind of contact. She’ll come into my office looking for attention every so often, and should I open up a container of yogurt for lunch, she never fails to make an appearance, the better to demand the Kitty Yogurt Tax. Gotta yogurt the cat.

Hakuna, on the other hand, is a recluse. She’ll disappear for the better part of a day, coming out only when it’s dinnertime.

The Missus is convinced that if we don’t see Hakuna, it’s because she climbed up into a box spring and croaked. I’m convinced that if we don’t see Hakuna, it’s because she is being a hermit. I told her I’d find Hakuna, so as to put her mind at ease...or dispose of the body before she got home, one or the other.

Sure enough, as soon as I set out to look for the Wayward Invisi-Cat, I saw her sitting on the stairs in the kitchen. A hermit she may be, but she knows when it’s time for the Dinner-Bell to sound.


She Who Must Be Obeyed, 1977.

<RENVOICE>Get on weeth eet, man!</RENVOICE>

We all tend to get complacent when things are going well. “Let sleeping dogs lie” is the watchword of the day. But there comes a time when one must make a stand. Get off the dime. Shit or get off the pot. Decide!

It was thirty years ago today that I decided...and the happy consequences of that decision are with me every day. For on February 5, 1977, I - to use the popular expression - popped The Question to She Who Must Be Obeyed.

I had selected a romantic setting: at Courtlandt’s, a fine dining establishment in downtown Houston, now regrettably defunct. With red Bordeaux, Châteaubriand, and bananas Foster coursing recklessly through my veins, I issued my Modest Proposal...a proposal that was promptly accepted.

SWMBO and I had been seeing each other for just over thirteen months. It was very early on in our relationship that I realized that she was Something Special, and after a few months I realized that my feelings had progressed to where the dreaded “L word” came into play. But I was complacent in my least until my mother reminded me that the clock was ticking. “What the hell are you waiting for?” was the delicate way she phrased it.

What, indeed.

It’s thirty years later, and there is no decision I have ever made before or since that I am as pleased to have made. Happy Engage-a-Versary, my love!

Even better: the Missus informs me that she won eighty simoleons in her school’s Super Bowl pool! Is this one a keeper, or what?

Volume 10.

Still more stuff that should be in the dictionary but isn’t.

Previous installments of the Blog d’Elisson Dictionary may be found in the Archives: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5, Volume 6, Volume 7, Volume 8, and Volume 9.

Neiman Marxist [nee-man-marks-ist] (n) - A wealthy liberal.

The Neiman Marxist is perfectly happy for the government to spend your money, because he has plenty of his own... after taxes, of course.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Recognize this guy?

Some of my Esteemed Readers who enjoy a little Geetar Pickin’ might know him. A native Brooklynite with an American folk music pedigree par excellence, his most famous Musical Opus is now forty years old. He looks a little long in the tooth thanks to a few wrinkles and a head of silver hair, but his voice hasn’t changed much since his appearance onstage at Woodstock more than 37 years ago.

He’s currently touring with his son Abe and daughter Sarah Lee, pictured below.

Still stumped? Here are just some of the songs we heard him perform this evening:
  • Coming Into Los Angeles
  • City Of New Orleans
  • The Motorcycle Song
  • This Land Is Your Land
  • Alice’s Restaurant
More pics below the fold...

Sarah Lee and her daughter (who did not enjoy being on stage!)


You’d think it’s a completely hopeless situation, having to put up some programming opposite the Super Bowl, but the good folks at Animal Planet seem to have found a way to keep a surprisingly large number of people amused: Film a bunch of puppies running around in a model stadium.

For three fucking hours.

And, to break up the monotony, simply throw in a bunch of cute kitties playing with Kitty-Toys. Presto - a Half-Time Show!

There are enough people (1) who have little or no interest in football, and/or (2) who have what may very well be an unhealthy interest in Puppies and Kitties, to give Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl an audience equivalent to MSNBC’s rating for the State of the Union address...just one little fact I gleaned from the Puppy Bowl Wikipedia entry.

Me, I would have thrown a few feral hogs into the mix. Maybe half a dozen, just to make it interesting. But I guess the animal rights folks would get up in arms after seeing footage of fluffy little Samoyeds or cute Boston Terriers being eviscerated by a pack of bristly 800-pound tuskers.

I’ve gotta hand it to the TeeVee Boyz. I would never have picked Puppy Bowl as a viable alternative to the ridiculous display of Panem et Circenses that is the culmination of the American Football Post-Season...but the ratings speak for themselves.

And I’m happy about that...because there’s nothing quite like the Paternal Pride that a daddy feels when he sees his kid’s name on the Boob-Choob when they roll credits. Yes, indeedy - our very own Elder Daughter was a key member of the Puppy Bowl production team! Take a Bow! Wow!

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Alfonso’s was the best Indian restaurant in the Sierra Madre. In fact, it was the only Indian restaurant in the Sierra Madre.

[By Indian, of course, we mean East Indian, not Indigenous American.]

Gnarled, bewhiskered prospectors seeking a fine Chicken Korma or a piquant Lamb Vindaloo flocked to Alfonso’s, where you could get anything from hot naan to creamy saag paneer. For dessert? Kheer, delicately scented with cardamom.

The only weak spot on the menu? Fritters. Alfonso couldn’t make a fritter to save his life.

But did he care? No, he did not.

Bhajis? We ain’t got no stinking bhajis.”

[A tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to ThunderMan for providing Perverse Inspiration.]


Carl Denham was miserable.

He had brought King Kong back alive from Skull Island at the cost of fifteen men and untold thousands of dollars. His attempt to exhibit the beast on Broadway was a complete flop, thanks to the kind ministrations of the SPCA, PETA, and the unions. And Ann Darrow was in therapy.

But big as he was, Kong was still a monkey.

Denham dodged as Kong lobbed a Volkswagen-sized turd. Moments later, ten gallons of hot Ape-Spooge spattered the bars of the gargantuan enclosure.

Eighth Wonder of the World, my ass, thought Denham. Still a fucking monkey.

Friday, February 02, 2007


I have written on the topic of the awesome, yet evanescent, beauty to be found in the skies above us. Every so often, I will look up to see something heart-catchingly gorgeous, only to see it dissipate within moments.

Today, I didn’t have to look up, for I was already up: I was riding the Great Silver Aerial Bus back home, parked in a window seat on the port side of the aircraft.

As we turned westward and began to make our final approach into Atlanta, I looked out the window to see a layer of raggedy, dark grey clouds from horizon to horizon. The ground was dry, but the air was pregnant with moisture, looking as though it could rain any minute.

Wait a minute. There was one small gap in the clouds, one tiny patch of blue sky from which a cylindrical shaft of golden light shone down with the narrow intensity of a searchlight beam.

The Greeks had a word for it. The “Phallus of Zeus,” they would have called it.

The beam, visible in its entirety owing to the misty air, may have been only 200 feet wide where it intersected with the ground, illuminating a neatly drawn ellipse in the midst of south Atlanta. With more than a little frustration, I thought of my camera sitting in a closet back home.

Alas, this rare and wondrous vision was short-lived. Within twenty seconds, the gap in the clouds closed, and the golden beam was no more.


Groundhog Day
©2006 King Features Syndicate.

Yes, Groundhog Day. The day on which we ask the famous question, “How much ground could a groundhog hog if a groundhog could hog ground?” [And time for Lazy-Ass Elisson to pull his Annual Groundhog Day post out of his ass out of the Archives.]

You would think that Groundhog Day is a singularly American holiday, steeped as it is in Local Color, Historical Tradition, and More Than A Little Utter Silliness. Think about it: a day on which a large rodent is expected to predict the weather based on its paranoid reaction to Conditions of Illumination. And as if Punxsutawney Phil weren’t enough, down here in Georgia we have our own General Beauregard Lee to do the predictin’ honors. Gaaah.

But, ridiculous as Groundhog Day may be, we Americans don’t hold the patent on silly-ass animal-based holidays. Herewith, for your delectation, Blog d’Elisson presents an overview of...

Groundhog Day Observances Around the World

The Canadian equivalent of Groundhog Day is Muskrat Day, March 1. If “Inuvituk Izzie” sees his shadow, no maple syrup may be consumed until the Queen’s Birthday.

Domestik-Schweinestag is observed on March 15. A randomly-selected domesticated pig is taken outside. If it sees its shadow and squeals, it is promptly slaughtered, smoked, and eaten in the form of Rauch-Schinken (smoked bacon) to prevent malevolent Teutonic spirits from lodging in people’s hair.

Tanzanians celebrate Banana Slug Day on July 10. If Blinky the Banana Slug does not return to his habitation promptly after being coaxed from it, people refrain from eating bananas for six weeks. At the same time, they are encouraged to slug one another repeatedly and without obvious provocation.

The closest Indian equivalent of Groundhog Day is Cow Day, observed every freakin’ day of every year. If you see a cow, you are expected to get the hell out of its way. You are never expected to eat the cow. By observing Cow Day properly, Indians are assured of having twelve months of suffocating humidity, heat, and monsoons. As usual.

Know of any other interesting international holiday traditions? Leave a comment and tell us all about ’em!


It’s Friday morning in Sweat City. Again.

Once more, I am spending a few days in the bowels of the Great Corporate Salt Mine, having cruised in Wednesday afternoon. My timing was perfect: I arrived in the heart of a rainy-day rush hour that made the 40-minute drive from airport to hotel stretch out to over an hour and a half. Foo.

But you, Esteemed Reader, do not care about all of that, do you? No, you do not.

You also probably do not give a Rat’s Ass about the Random Spewage of my Little White Choon-Box. But since that is the topic of this post, we’re stuck with it. Give a listen:
  1. In Taberna - Estuans Interius - Christian Thielemann, Orff: Carmina Burana
  2. I’ve Just Seen A Face - The Beatles
  3. Beggar’s Dance - The Klezmatics
  4. My Friends - Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd: Original Broadway Cast Recording
  5. Saltwater To Quench Your Thirst - Michael Leviton
  6. The Canyons I Knew Well - James Hooker
  7. Summer’s Almost Gone - The Doors

    Summer’s almost gone
    Summer’s almost gone
    Almost gone
    Yeah, it’s almost gone
    Where will we be
    When the summer’s gone?

    Morning found us calmly unaware
    Noon burn gold into our hair
    At night, we swam the laughin’ sea
    When summer’s gone
    Where will we be
    Where will we be
    Where will we be

    Morning found us calmly unaware
    Noon burn gold into our hair
    At night, we swam the laughin’ sea
    When summer’s gone
    Where will we be

    Summer’s almost gone
    Summer’s almost gone
    We had some good times
    But they’re gone
    The winter’s comin’ on
    Summer’s almost gone

  8. Darlin’ - The Beach Boys
  9. Abba Zaba - Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band
  10. Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


Modulator is my name.
Modulatin’ is my game.
I think it would be really great
If I knew what it was I modulate.

The Friday Ark (the Bloggy-Sphere’s Zoological Park) sets sail today in its 124th incarnation at (where else?) the Modulator.

This Sunday evening, Carnival of the Cats returns to its Dark Origins at This Blog Is Full Of Crap, Laurence Simon’s flagship site. Number 150 in the series, it promises to be a Meowin’ Magnum Opus - don’t miss it.

Update: CotC #150 is up.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


“I think about that afternoon from time to time, and hate to admit I struggle more often than not to mold myself into someone, something, that is my old man, and not my old man. We all want to inherit the good traits, and not the bad. But the truth is, we are what we are.”

Go over here and read something by a real writer.


A hotel is, for the Weary Business Traveler, a Home Away From Home.

Hundreds - even thousands - of miles from the Ancestral Manse, a hotel is a sanctuary. More than just a bed, a toilet, a sink, and a television, it is a temporary cocoon, a place where one may put one’s feet up and rest after a long day of Salt Mine Toil.

Typically, upon checking into a hotel, the first thing I do after hanging up my coat and tossing my briefcase on the desk is to go and take a crap. Don’t ask me why, but there’s something about a freshly-cleaned hotel room that calleth unto my bowel like a hypersonic whistle calleth unto Rover. Perhaps it’s an unconscious urge to mark my territory, howbeit temporary. Although pissing in the corners would work just as well for that purpose.

Sometimes, though, a hotel room is just a little too “homey.” For that, we can thank the poorly-trained and inefficient housekeeping staff.

An example. This morning, as I prepared to perform my morning ablutions, I noticed that there was an empty shampoo bottle in the tub’s soap dish. Hmmm, thought I. The housekeeper must’ve missed it. I tossed it out.

But then, as I got into the shower and started the water running, I saw, hanging over the shower curtain rod against the wall, a pair of boxer shorts.

Not my boxer shorts. My boys need a home.

Evidently, the previous occupant of the room had hung them up there. (To dry? And after what unspeakable act?) And the housekeeper, who had already demonstrated to me that she was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, had not seen them. Or ignored them, thinking their owner would return.

I looked at the boxers hanging there, mouth semi-agape. Little things normally don’t bother me, but this had me completely skeeved out. Should I 86 them? That would involve touching them! Yeef! As far as I was concerned, those suckers were radioactive. I was willing to bet they’d still be there when I got back to my room this evening.

Worst thing is, probably now, the housekeeper thinks they’re mine. But the smart money says they’re here to stay. I guess they feel right at home...away from home.

Update: Motherfuckers are still hanging there. Ecch.


Here’s a Tall Tale courtesy of my very own Auntie Zelda. It’s an old chestnut, but it cracked me up first time I heard it...still does...

The scene opens with three guys of varied ethnicity [a prerequisite of this kind of story - E.] enjoying a drink together at the bar and bragging of their sexual prowess.

The Italian said, “Last week, my wife and I had great sex. I rubbed
her body all over with Tuscan extra-virgin olive oil, we made passionate love, and she screamed for five full minutes at the end.”

The Frenchman boasted, “Ça ne fait rien. Last week when my wife and I had sex, I rubbed her body all over with the finest Normandy butter. We then made passionate love and she screamed for fifteen minutes.”

The Jewish guy said, “Dus iz goornisht. Last week my wife and I also had sex. First I rubbed her body all over with chicken schmaltz. Then we made love, and she screamed for over six hours.”

The other two were stunned.

The amazed Frenchman asked, “Chicken schmaltz, my eye. What could you possibly have done to make your wife scream for six whole hours?

The Jewish guy said, “I wiped my hands on the bedspread...and then I wiped my dick on the drapes.”

[OK, so I may have modified it slightly.]