Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Random photos from our weekend in Savannah.

A Colorful Stroll
The Mistress takes a colorful stroll along Drayton Street.

More beneath the fold...

Augusta Block

Peeling Paint 3
An old door at the Sentient Bean.

Peeling Paint 1

Carson’s Rainbowcycle

This bicycle is a prime example of What’s Popular with the Arty Kids in Savannah.

Never mind the colors. What’s interesting to me is that this is an ultra-lightweight fixed-gear racing bicycle, the sort that aspiring Velocimen ride in a velodrome. Fixed-gear, yes - the drive train is a chain that links the pedals and the rear wheel. There is no coaster mechanism: while the bike moves, the pedals must turn. And there are no brakes.

It’s hairy enough to ride a machine like this in the controlled environment of a velodrome. To ride one on city streets is sheer madness...but plenty of SCAD students do it.


More Found Art at the home of the Mistress of Sarcasm.

It looks like an innocent little house...


...but what’s that lurking in the bushes?

Bughouse Detail

Gaaaahhh! It’s the Giant Beetle that ate Detroit!

[Click to embiggen...but only if you dare!]


The current issue of The South magazine features an article on Acme Costumes, a Savannah shop that sells (duh) costumes, props, and stage make-up. What better way to introduce Hallowe’en than with this vaguely disturbing image from Page 60...featuring someone who may be familiar to my Esteemed Readers?

Hallowe’en Mistress
­©2007 The South magazine.

Yes, indeedy - it’s the Mistress of Sarcasm herownself, looking like she’s ready to jab that evil-looking syringe into someone’s nethers. Yow!

And if that were not sinister enough, here’s Neighbor, her cat:

Scary Neighbor
Photo by The Other Elisson.

Scary Neighbor in Motion
Quit looking at me like that!

Admit it: doesn’t that give you the Shit-Willies? You know it does.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Here are a couple of panoramas I shot while in Savannah this weekend. Click to embiggen.

Forsyth Panorama
The Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savannah’s newest ultra-luxe hotel, is prominently featured in this 360° panorama.

Forsyth Panorama 2
The art installation in the center of the park.

These pans were assembled from sequences of photos with Autostitch.

Monday, October 29, 2007


This month’s Sommelier Guild dinner and wine tasting was held at Veni Vidi Vici in midtown Atlanta.

I had Wagyu beef sirloin, grilled medium rare with a nice savory crust, sliced and served with sautéed shallots and frisée lettuce; a salad of striped beets and haricots verts (dem’s Green Beans) with truffles and aged Camembert; for dessert, crème brulée. All of this was washed down by lashings of Klinker Brick 2004 Lodi Old Vines Zinfandel...

No, wait. That was the dinner I had Saturday night at Bistro Savannah with the Mistress of Sarcasm, SWMBO, and the Other Elisson.

The tasting tonight was Italian-themed, with a total of eleven different wines. Denny has the wine list and menu posted here. Sound good? It was every bit as good as it sounds...and maybe even better.

In addition to Denny, we were joined by Houston Steve and Son of Houston Steve, both of whom have spent plenty of time in the very places where this evening’s wines came from. Son of Houston Steve, having recently returned from a lengthy tour of duty in Uzbekistan and Moldova with the Peace Corps, had many entertaining stories of Life in Borat-Land.

[Lest you think Mr. Debonair walks around with his pinky out and his nose in the air, be advised that I consumed, with considerable gusto, a cheeseburger at Wendy’s last night during our trip back from Savannah. I was, in fact, ready to order the Baconator, but I thought better of it: The idea of scarfing down 830 calories worth of cheeseburger (incorporating 51 grams of fat, yet) was capable of horrifying even me. Plus, I was with the Missus, who is a Past Master at helping me avoid my worst impulses...and my brother, the Other Elisson, who lives a revoltingly ascetic lifestyle when he is not under our Baleful Influence. Watching me eat a Baconator might make his head explode.]

Oh, the pain and indignity of Gracious Living...


Tater Tots
Tater Tots.

Herewith some Found Art from the Mistress of Sarcasm’s apartment.

Well, what would you call it?

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Science Fiction Razor
The 21st Century Science Fiction Nuclear-Powered Interplanetary Face-Scraper.

Dear Gillette Razor Peeps:

I wanted to tell you how much I’m enjoying my brand-new Science Fiction Interplanetary Face-Scraping Device. So far, using your Deep Blue 21st Century Space Gel along with the Fusion Power Five-Blade Razor, I have had several extremely close, comfortable shaves.

Despite this, your sinister plan to convert me from a Mach 3 Turbo user to a Fusion Power Borg-Drone will not succeed. The replacement blades for the Mach 3 razor are already ridiculously expensive. Why, for an elusive incremental improvement in Shave Quality, would I want to pay yet more? I mean, the Fusion Power razor is real cool-looking and all that, but, geez, with blades going for what - three, four bucks a throw? - I could stick with my existing Shave-Gear and save enough money to buy Plan 9 from Outer Space on Blu-Ray DVD in just one month.

But that is all neither here nor there. The real reason for this Open Letter is to tell you that your Genius Marketers have stepped on their dicks. Before the inevitable flood of lawsuits comes rolling in, you should at least be afforded the privilege of a “Heads Up.”

Here’s the deal.

I purchased your Nuclear-Powered Science Fiction Razor for two reasons, and two reasons only. One is that I had received a coupon that was worth five whole dollars towards the purchase of your Insidious Shaving Device. The other was that your marketing boys had put together an attractive package deal: a razor, one battery, one Blade-Assemblage, a big can of Shave Gel, and – the topper! – a sleeve of “Gillette Champions” golf balls, all for the very reasonable price of $9.98. Which, with my coupon, was less than five bucks. At that price, I could justify using the razor until the blade got dull, then throwing the whole thing out...and I’d still have most of the can of shave gel left to use with my regular razor. Wotta bargain!

Now, about those golf balls.

Just so you know, I did not buy your attractively-packaged Face-Scraper because of the sleeve of golf balls that came with it. But I would think that, if you’re going to put your Corporate Brand on something - even something as far removed from your regular Field of Expertise as a golf ball - you want it to represent you well. I mean, you have a picture of Tiger frickin’ Woods on the box and all.

When I removed the sleeve of balls from the package, I noticed that they had a weird “feel” to them. Almost as though they were not real golf balls, but balls that had been worked over by the same Intergalactic Pod-Agency that did such a good job replacing real people with dead, unfeeling (but real-looking) Pod People in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Just for fun, I took a real golf ball, dropped it from shoulder height on a flat concrete surface. As expected, the ball hit the floor with a sharp “click” and rebounded, almost reaching the hand that dropped it.

Then I took a “Gillette Champions” ball and dropped it from shoulder height. Thud. It may have bounced as high as one inch, but it was hard to tell - because I was laughing so hard. It was as if someone had packed three identical dimpled, enwhitened rocks in that sleeve.

Anyone who actually tried to use one of those Freebie Balls would likely end up with a broken wrist.

Razor technology has come a long way since Gronk the Caveman first scraped his beard off with a clamshell back in the Middle Pleistocene. But I’m here to tell you, not even the whisky-saturated Scots who first conceived the game of golf back in windswept, boggy antiquity ever thought to try playing the game with fucking rocks.

So I’m just giving you a little advance notice. Any day now, the flood of lawsuits is likely to start, all from people who have injured themselves trying to use your stupid-ass golf balls for their (nominally) intended purpose. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

[Now - how about a case of real Titleists by way of thanking me?]

Saturday, October 27, 2007



Whenever Blown-Eyed Blodgers gather, you can be sure that events take place that, like the legends and myths of old, grow in the retelling. As the redoubtable Sammy would say, “You can’t make this shit up.” But you can embellish at will...and that is another thing we Blown-Eyes are good at.

The events of last October at Eric’s Big Bad Birthday Open House are not exactly shrouded in mystery, but like the elephant described by a multitude of blind men, there are several versions of the story.

Sammy’s is here.

Velociman’s is here.

It was Sam who was inspired to bring together the people involved in the Original Incident for a Commemorative Photo Shoot by the banks of the ’Hooch. There was a slight problem, though. V-man was there. Sam was there. Dax was there. But T1G, alas, was not.

The solution? Thanks to the magic of PhotoShop, T1G’s place could be filled by a stand-in (and a well-endowed one, at that), his head added on later. And that’s where I came in, a member of the conspiracy.

Of course I, too, had to add my Two Cents...with a little Vile Doggerel...

No matter what your circumstance,
In Mansion or in Hovel,
To guard against the Evil Chance,
It helps to have a Shovel.

The sots who dare to tempt my wife
With drink or acts of love’ll
Be beaten within Inch of Life
With this, my trusty Shovel.

Its handle, like unto a Bat,
A very Lou-ville Sluggel.
Its blade will be a Painful Hat:
At least, when Head meets Shovel.

The AR-15’s quite the gun -
Reduces Meat to Rubble.
Brute Force, alas, is much more fun:
That’s why I wield my Shovel.

So watch yourself at Eric’s place,
Not e’en the Lord above’ll
Be able to protect your face
From that there Straight White Shovel.


You guys up there at Eric’s this weekend? Be advised...keep Fiona well away from the Chocolate Vodka...and Eric away from the Gardening Equipment.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I Been Framed!
Hakuna: “Halp! I been framed!”

No, Hakuna is not in jail. She is merely surveying the Food-Bowl Area to see whether chubby sister Matata has left any scraps and crumbs of kibble for her.

The Friday Ark, now sailing on its 162nd Voyage, is up at the Modulator (seventh on the list of the 100 Most Informative Blogs, according to a soon-to-be discredited study at Carnegie Mellon University).

This Sunday, be sure to catch Carnival of the Cats, the 188th edition of which will be hosted by Missy, KC, and Bear.

Update: CotC #188 is up.


Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

Last night, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I joined a few of our friends for a Musical Evening at Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center.

The concert? Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, that same bunch of swingsters that were featured in the movie Swingers, as well as playing the Super Bowl XXXIII halftime show. [That was the 1999 edition of the Super Bowl, the one in which the Atlanta Falcons had their asses handed to them by the Denver Broncos. Hmmpf.]

The current incarnation of BBVD consists of nine guys, led by the inimitable Scotty Morris on vocals and guitar. And the set cooked, babies. Ninety minutes, no intermission.

I was predisposed to enjoy the show. After all, what other group boasts five Fedora Wearin’ Dudes? And they played Cab Calloway’s old classic “Minnie the Moocher,” a tune that’s been dear to my heart since my Small-Kid Days, when my Dad - Eli, hizzownself - would sing it to me.

Hey folks, here’s the story bout Minnie the Moocher
She was a red-hot hoochie coocher
She was the roughest toughest frail
But Minnie had a heart as big as a whale

Hi de hi de hi de hi (hi de hi de hi de hi)
Ho de ho de ho de ho (ho de ho de ho de ho)
He de he de he de he (he de he de he de he)
Hi de hi de hi de ho (hi de hi de hi de ho)

She messed around with a bloke named Smokey
She loved him, though he was cokey
He took her down to Chinatown
And showed her how to kick that gong around

Hi de hi de hi de hi (hi de hi de hi de hi)
Whoah ni ni ni ni (whoah ni ni ni ni)
He de he de he de he (he de he de he de he)
A hi de hi de hi de ho (hi de hi de hi de ho)

She had a dream about the king of Sweden
He gave her things that she was needin’
He built her a house of gold and steel
A diamond car with platinum wheels

A hi de hi de hi de hi de hi de hi de hi (hi de hi de hi de hi de hi de hi de hi)
Ho de ho de ho de ho de ho de ho de ho (ho de ho de ho de ho de ho de ho de ho)

He gave her his townhouse and his racing horses
Each meal she ate was a dozen courses
Had a million dollars in nickels and dimes
She sat around and counted them all a million times

Hi de hi de hi de hi (hi de hi de hi de hi)
Whoah (whoah)
He de he de he de he (he de he de he de he)
Hi de hi de hi de ho (hi de hi de hi de ho)


Poor Min, poor Min, poor Minnie...

Yeah. That’s the kind of Dad I have.

He would’ve enjoyed this show, too. Money, babies!


Welcome once again to Blog d’Elisson’s Friday Random Ten, the weekly feature in which I post a selection of Choice Cuts spewed out at random by the iPod d’Elisson.

What’s on the box? Let’s check it out:
  1. The Ascent of Stan - Ben Folds

  2. Detachable Penis - King Missile III

    This gem comes our way through the kind offices of Dax Montana.

    I woke up this morning with a bad hangover, and my penis was missing again. This happens all the time. It’s detachable. This comes in handy a lot of the time. I can leave it home when I think it’s going to get me in trouble, or I can rent it out when I don’t need it. But now and then I go to a party, get drunk, and the next morning I can’t for the life of me remember what I did with it. First I looked around my apartment and I couldn’t find it, so I called up the place where the party was; they hadn’t seen it either. I asked them to check the medicine cabinet ’cause for some reason, I leave it there sometimes, but not this time. So I told them if it pops up to let me know. I called a few people who were at the party, but they were no help either. I was starting to get desperate. I really don’t like being without my penis for too long. It makes me feel like less of a man and I really hate to have to sit down every time I take a leak. After a few hours of searching the house and calling everyone I could think of, I was starting to get very depressed, so I went to the Kiev and had breakfast. Then as I walked down Second Avenue toward St. Mark’s Place, where all those people sell used books and other junk on the street, I saw my penis lying on a blanket next to a broken toaster oven. Some guy was selling it. I had to buy it off him. He wanted 22 bucks, but I talked him down to 17. I took it home, washed it off, and put it back on. I was happy again. Complete. People sometimes tell me I should get it permanently attached, but I don’t know. Even though sometimes it’s a pain in the ass, I like having a detachable penis.

  3. My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains - Captain Beefheart

    I’ll let a train be my feet
    If it’s too far to walk to you
    If a train don’t go there I’ll get a jet or a bus
    Because I’m going to find you
    You’re going to see me shadow soon around you
    And my head is my only house unless it rains

    I walk the meadow plains
    Water deserts are my eyes until I find you
    I won’t sleep until I find you
    I won’t eat until I find you
    My heart won’t beat until
    I wrap my arms around you

    My arms are just two things in the way
    Until I can wrap them around you
    You can make my sad song happy
    Make a bad world good
    I can feel you out there moving
    You’re mine, I know I’ll find you
    And my head is my only house until I’ve found you

    I hate to have other people hear me sing this song
    If this reaches you before I do
    Follow it to “I love you”
    That’s where I’ll find you
    And my head is my only house until I find you

  4. Noviy God (live) - Leningrad

  5. Birmingham - Randy Newman

    Got a wife got a family
    Earn my livin’ with my hand
    I’m a roller in a steel mill
    In downtown Birmingham

    My daddy was a barber
    And a most unsightly man
    He was born in Tuscaloosa
    But he died right here in Birmingham

    Birmingham Birmingham
    The greatest city in Alabam’
    You can travel ’cross this entire land
    But there’s no place like Birmingham

    Got a wife named Mary
    But she’s called Marie
    We live in a three room house
    With a pepper tree
    And I work all day in the factory
    That’s all right with me

    Got a big black dog
    And his name is Dan
    Who lives in my backyard in Birmingham
    He is the meanest dog in Alabam’
    Get ’em Dan

  6. I Scare Myself - Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks

  7. The Black Angel’s Death - The Velvet Underground

  8. Relax - Richard Cheese

    Being a cover of the infamous song by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

  9. Here, There, and Everywhere - The Beatles

  10. Looks Like I’m Up Shit Creek Again - Tom Waits
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


Moonlight Panorama
Click to embiggen.

Streetlights and moonlight illuminate this panoramic view of the Neighborhood d’Elisson.

The image is composed of eight separate photographs hammered together using Autostitch, a freeware program.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Talk Dirndl To Me

When going on a Fall Excursion,
It helps if you can walk the walk.
Is transvestism your perversion?
Thrill me with your Dirndl Talk.

It adds a touch of titillation,
When a man puts on a dirndl.
Fit too tight? Avoid vexation -
Just be sure to wear a girndl.

If her heart’s locked, then take this Key:
Let her be Robin, you Maid Marian.
Be sure to lift it when you pee,
To stay dry in your Dress Bavarian.

A village with a German theme -
Mit einem Bra und Paar von Panties.
Whip up some Bavarian cream
When you’re there, O Mr. Man-Tease.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Pomegranate Pile Driver
Pomegranate Pile Driver.

“Why, Mr. Debonair - whatever are you drinking? It looks so...elegant.

It’s a Pomegranate Pile Driver - a new twist on a venerable old recipe. The perfect tipple, now that I’ve achieved Double-Nickelhood.

I was going to fix myself a Pile Driver (AKA Bebe Rebozo, in honor of Richard Nixon’s old buddy), when I realized I had the wherewithal to Kick It Up A Notch. For the gracious and talented Erica - the Wiseass Jooette herownself - had presented me with a bottle of Van Gogh Pomegranate Vodka. The combination of flavorful pomegranate and rich prune sounded perverse, yet irresistible.

Following the basic recipe for the Pile Driver, I put some ice in a cocktail shaker and added one ounce pomegranate vodka (actually, I used closer to two ounces); four ounces Sunsweet prune juice (the contents of one of those small cans); and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Shake - pour into a Martini glass - garnish with a slice of lemon and, of course, a prune on a toothpick.

And, be damned if it didn’t taste just fine.

Alas, as flavorsome as the Pomegranate Pile Driver is, it just wouldn’t do for one to become an overenthusiastic consumer. Given that its main ingredient has a reputation for its laxative effects (effects that, in a certain segment of the population, may be seen as desirable), care must be taken when enjoying this Perverse, yet Elegant Cocktail.

Because it’s one thing to get shitfaced...


Last night, as we were watching “Chuck,” I did a little Internet Research. The show features an actor by the name of Adam Baldwin. Having grown up one block south of the Baldwin Brothers, I was having a Senior Moment - I didn’t remember Alec, Billy, Stephen, and Daniel having a brother Adam.

And that’s because they didn’t. Adam is an Unrelated Baldwin.

But my Internet Research revealed some interesting facts about Massapequa, my hometown. I found out that Massapequa (and its incorporated component, Massapequa Park) has one of the highest concentrations of Italian-Americans in the country...between 40 and 50%, depending on which part of town you’re looking at.

No surprise there. Matzoh-Pizza, I used to call it, where Italians and Jews live peacefully together. It certainly accounts for the large number of pizza joints. You couldn’t get a bad pizza in Massapequa if you Domino’s or Papa John’s stands a chance.

That got me thinking about Saint Rose of Lima, the huge Catholic church that stands on Merrick Road to this day. And that, in turn, got me thinking about Naming Conventions for Houses of Worship.

Catholics like to name their Houses of Worship after Saintly People, it seems to me. Jews, on the other hand, do not. With us, it’s names like “Beth Shalom” (House of Peace), “Shaarei Tzedek” (Gates of Righteousness) and “Etz Chaim” (Tree of Life). Or something that includes the name “Israel,” naturally enough. It’d be easy enough to construct a Random Synagogue-Name Generator that would splice words like “Shalom,” “Tzedek,” “Torah,” and “Chaim” to corresponding words like “Beth” or “Kahal” (congregation) - you’d never run out of Shul Names.

When you see a name like “Beth Moshiach” or “Shaarei Yeshua,” you know you’re dealing with so-called Messianic Jews. Or as we Jews would say, “Christians.”

Protestant church names are more varied. First Baptist Church and Second Baptist Church - those are pretty common. “Church of Christ” - there are plenty of those - always struck me as redundant. Who else would you worship in a church? The Buddha? L. Ron Hubbard?

Church of Zeejus
Zion Pentecostal Tabernacle Church.

Here’s a good one: the Zion Pentecostal Tabernacle Church pictured above. Probably a real church name, even though the sign is fake (Zeejus!). Sounds evangelical, no? But except from the word “Church” - a dead giveaway that Christians are involved somehow - the other terms are right out of the Hebrew Bible. Zion: that’s an obvious one. Pentecostal: Pentecost is derived from the Greek name for Shavuot, one of the three Pilgrimage Festivals required in the Law of Moses. Tabernacle: from the Latin tabernaculum, or little tent, it’s the word used to describe the portable sanctuary (mishkan) the Israelites carried in their desert wanderings. For some reason, it’s also a French-Canadian epithet (Tabernac!) But despite all of the Jewish-seeming content of the name, when I see “Zion Pentacostal Tabernacle” on a House of Worship, I’m thinking that Jews will be thin on the ground in there. There might, however, be snakes.

Then there are the Primitive Baptist Churches. Services have gotta be interesting there, with the congregation decked out in their best Sunday bearskins and loincloths. Gawd only knows what ends up in the collection plate...

What interesting House o’ Worship names have you seen?


As I left morning Minyan, dark clouds scudded across the sky, a blackish dawn sky lit eerily with colors of rose and orange.

Appropriately enough, I was listening to a Twilight Zone radio play: “Five Characters In Search Of An Exit.” You’ve probably seen this one on the old Twilight Zone TV show. Five random characters - a major, a clown, a hobo, a bagpipe player, and a ballerina - find themselves in a huge, featureless cylindrical room with high, straight walls and no way out except for the top of the room, which is open. A weird, artificial-seeming light comes from overhead, and a deafening clanging is heard at odd intervals. The occupants of the room have no idea who they are or how they got where they are.

It’s an engaging mystery - at least, if you’re among the 0.0001% of people who have never seen the episode on TV and who thus are unaware of the Trick Ending. For that other 99.9999%, it’s an exercise in Overwrought Writing. But I enjoyed it nevertheless, owing to Jason Alexander’s voice-acting skills and the tart interplay of dialogue between the overwrought Major, the witty Clown, and the besozzled Hobo.

And it’s a good working metaphor for those of us who look for a way to escape the daily tedium of life. After all, we’re not all that different from those characters. We’re trapped in a world we never made, as Howard the Duck might say, and we wonder what awaits us on the other side of the wall...

Monday, October 22, 2007


The Missus is a big fan of “Dancing With The Stars,” a show I can take or leave. But it has its moments. Because let’s face it: Dancing is, at its heart, nothing more than Ritualized Public Fucking Courtship.

Jane Seymour, for example. Great dancer. Spectacular bod.

I’d do her. Admit it - you would too,

Might even be worth the beatdown I’d get from the Missus, who is a mere two years her junior.

“Mrs. Quinn, Medicine Woman? I got yer medicine...right here.”


Here’s a nice, uncomplicated Booky Meme I discovered at Verbatim (my Blogmamma, though she has never acknowledged herself as such):

Grab the nearest book and answer the following questions:

Title and Author:

100 Suns by Michael Light

Is the book dedicated to anyone? If so, whom?

There is no dedication.

What is the first sentence?

“The images in this book show U.S. atomic detonations from the era of above-ground nuclear testing, which lasted from July 16, 1945 to November 4, 1962.”

Turn to page 47. Please share the first sentence of the first full paragraph.

[Note: Since this book is a collection of photographs with annotations in the back, I show here the first sentence of the annotation for the 47th photograph.]

“Seen in a long-exposure photograph, a portion of Wilson’s detonation cloud, five miles distant, drifts in the early morning wind.”

Join in if you want!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Beginning in August - a mere eleven weeks ago - I set out on a Literary Mission: to read all twenty novels comprising the Aubreyad, AKA the Aubrey/Maturin series of novels by the late Patrick O’Brian.

Aside from having seen the movie Master and Commander, I had first heard mention of the books from none other than Mr. Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash himself, Velociman, who had written several posts having to do with various aspects of the series. And then, as it happened, I found that fellow Morning Minyan attendee and Legion of Stevies member Houston Steve was a fan of O’Brian’s works as well, in fact owning copies of all twenty complete novels.

One thing led to another, and I began reading the books, with Houston Steve delivering new ones to me as I devoured the older ones.

This evening, I finished the final complete novel in the series (Blue At The Mizzen), at the end of which Jack Aubrey finally gets word that he has achieved his lifetime ambition, that of being promoted to Admiral and being able to hoist his own flag as commander of a squadron. It’s a bittersweet farewell to a character whom I’ve gotten to know and enjoy over the course of twenty books.

There is a fragmentary novel, The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey, published in the United States under the more compact name 21 and consisting of approximately three rough-draft chapters written by O’Brian shortly before he died in 2000. I’ll read it if I can get my hands on it, but it will be like eating an appetizer and waiting for an entrée that will never arrive.

Besides, isn’t twenty books enough?

Maybe not. Because, perhaps more than any other novels I have read, the O’Brian books truly transport me to another time and place. It’s no doubt the result of an unusual writing style, a style crammed with period language and detail, a style that forms the underpinning of novels that read as though they would, as pieces of writing, be perfectly at home in the period which they portray so magnificently.

Sure, the vocabulary, being so much of the early 19th century as well as being replete with obscure and archaic nautical terminology, is daunting...but after a while one becomes comfortable with all that talk of cross-catharpins, orlops, tompions, and bow-chasers. And it is then that one can imagine himself up in the crosstrees, smelling the salt air in a fine topgallantsail breeze and feeling the pitch and roll of the ship.

I’m under no illusions. The early 19th century was not an especially fun time to be alive. For that matter, any time before the discovery of anesthesia was not a fun time to be alive. But the stories of individual people’s lives set against the backdrop of historical events make for a powerful narrative, and it’s one to which I hope to return.

In the meantime, it’s time to put aside the Sea Legs and get used, once again, to life on dry land. Alas.


This has been an exceptionally Meaty Weekend so far for Meaty Boy.

Ribeye steaks grilled over charcoal and slathered with hot garlic butter? Oh, wait - that was last weekend.

Friday evening, we had our friends Laura Belle and Don over for a roast leg of lamb. I had been jonesing for lamb for some time*, and Laura Belle is one of the few people I know who is willing – nay, eager – to share it with me. For She Who Must Be Obeyed is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a consumer of Exotic Meats. Even the Dark Meat of the prosaic Chicken is outside her comfort zone, let alone a slice of something that bleated whilst alive. She and Don ate chicken breasts, while Laura Belle and I feasted...

The lamb was excellent. After trimming it thoroughly (the fat is what gives most lamb its gamy flavor) and brining it for two hours in kosher salt, sugar, and crushed raw garlic cloves, I rubbed it with a paste made from roasted garlic and chopped parsley. After a quick sear in a hot skillet atop Darth Stover, into a 400°F oven it went until the internal temp hit 130°F (I like my lambie on the rare side).

Damn, that was tasty...but there was still More Meat to Come.

Last night, we celebrated G’s birthday by going out to Wildfire, where both G and I ordered porterhouse steaks. Pittsburgh-style, if you please, medium rare. It’s the perfect steak for someone who can’t decide between a filet and a New York strip: it has both, plus a nice, flavorsome bone.

Excuse me while I scrape some cholesterol off my left ventricle.

Tonight? Leftover lamb, of course. Not ba-a-a-a-d, not ba-a-a-a-d at all!

*And no, you filthy-minded bastards - not because of the Lamby Abomination that showed up at Helen last week. Really. I think.


With the recent passing of Joey Bishop, the Rat Pack - that iconic gang of fun-loving entertainers so beloved in the 1960’s - now belongs to the ages. Joey was the last of the Pack to head off to the Great Las Vegas Lounge in the Sky, predeceased by Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Back in the day, the Pack dominated popular entertainment, making their presence known not only in Las Vegas (where they entertained frequently and, just as frequently, made impromptu appearances at each other’s performances), but in movies and popular music. There was even a White House connection, thanks to Peter Lawford (John F. Kennedy’s brother-in-law); this, combined with Sinatra’s Mob connections, gave the group a certain amount of political influence as well as notoriety.

The demise of the Rat Pack has left a vacuum in the world of entertainment. And in these nanny-state, politically correct days, all of that hard-drinking (Martinis! Whiskey!), cigarette-smoking, and starlet-fucking behavior for which the Rat Packers were famous would be a hard act to follow.

But not to worry...because the Blown-Eyes have the situation well in hand...

Presenting...the Cat Pack!

Friday, October 19, 2007


This morning, as I wrote my usual Fuzzy Friday post linking to the weekly Friday Ark, I found myself omitting the usual Introductory Poem.

Giving the Ark short shrift, as it were.

But not to worry, for this evening, as we bade good-bye to our dinner guests, She Who Must Be Obeyed saw something that’ll make those Friday Ark visitors shit a collective Blood Clot. Checkit:

Mystery Bug
The Mystery Bug. WTF izzit? [Click to embuggen.]

Now - what the hell is that thing? And how can I keep it the hell away from me?

Update: Why, it’s a centipede! Makes perfect sense: “When I saw that damn bug, I pede my pants!”


Mea culpa.
Mea culpa.
Mea maxima culpa.

Guilty as charged.

I refer, of course, to the post “On the Virtues of Primitive Weaponry,” which prominently featured several Blown-Eyed Blodgers standing by the Chattahoochee River bearing shovels. A dig, if you will, at the Straight White Guy.

The photograph looks innocuous enough, but careful examination reveals that T1G’s face has been Photoshopped onto someone else’s body. A body with painted toenails and generous kalamatunis, in fact...Erica’s.

My Esteemed Readers should be aware that, while I took the photograph and Photoshopped it, the entire inspiration - for the photo as well as the Photoshop - came exclusively from the imagination of Sam Moore.

Sam conceived the idea. I executed it, as we had planned - and then I ran and posted it here, rather than sending it to him so that he could execute the rest of his Nefarious Plan. I blew it. Schmucks “R” Us.

Yes, I came up with the accompanying poem and the image of Shovel-Eric on my own, and added those elements...but that doesn’t mitigate the seriousness of my action. I stole Sam’s idea, and - even worse - only gave him credit in the comments, not on the face of the post.

That’s called Reprehensible Bloggy Conduct, friends, and I am thoroughly ashamed of my actions. What was I thinking? If I could, I’d blame the punch, but that’d be chickenshit. No: I did it.

I can’t even explain it. Besides, people who try to justify assholish behavior are, well, assholes. [The first rule of holes is, when you’re in one, stop digging. By extension, the first rule of assholes is, when you are one, stop being one.]

Perhaps the saddest thing about this whole mess is that it earned me a well-deserved boot in the ass from Zonker, a person whose respect and good opinion I value highly...and which, I fear, I may have lost forever. Yes, it took a Commentary Smackdown from Thunderman to wake my sorry ass up. Unblogmanlike Conduct in the extreme.

The Internet tends to foster a casual attitude toward intellectual property, but most of us know where the boundaries are. And instead of gingerly sticking my toe over the line, I jumped over it, with my entire Fat Ass.

No post, however humorous, is worth losing the respect of good friends...a respect which I hope I have not permanently damaged by my ill-considered conduct. My deepest apologies go to Sam; to Zonker, who so eloquently indicted me in the comments; and to the rest of my Esteemed Readers.


Welcome once again to Blog d’Elisson’s Friday Random Ten, the weekly feature in which I post Randomly Selected Choons from the Little White Choon-Box d’Elisson.

What’s playing today? Whaddaya say we take a look-see:
  1. Let’s Make The Water Turn Black - Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart

    Now believe me when I tell you that my song is really true
    I want everyone to listen and believe
    It’s about some little people from a long time ago
    And all the things the neighbors didn’t know
    Early in the morning Daddy Dinky went to work
    Selling lamps and chairs to San Ber’dino squares
    And I still remember Mama with her apron and her pad
    Feeding all the boys at Ed’s Cafe!
    Whizzing and pasting and pooting through the day.
    (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!)
    And all the while on a shelf in the shed:
    Ronnie saves his numies on a window in his room
    (A marvel to be seen: dysentery green)
    While Kenny and his buddies play a game out in the back:
    We see them after school in a world of their own
    (To some it might seem creepy what they do...)
    The neighbors on the right sat and watched them every night
    (I bet you’d do the same if they was you)
    Whizzing and pasting and pooting through the day
    (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!)
    And all the while on a shelf in the shed:
    Ronnie’s in the Army now and Kenny’s taking pills
    Oh! How they yearn to see a bomber burn!
    Color flashing, thunder crashing, dynamite machine!
    (Wait till the fire turns green...wait till the fire turns green)

  2. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) - Genesis
  3. Cultural Dub - Linton Kwesi Johnson
  4. Soon As I Get Paid - Keb’ Mo’
  5. Bullet In The Head - Rage Against The Machine
  6. Bananaphone - Raffi

    Caution! Dangerous earworm!

  7. You Really Got A Hold On Me - The Beatles
  8. Quality Time - Bobby Slayton
  9. Lakeus - Alamaailman Vasarat
  10. Lick My Decals Off, Baby - Captain Beefheart
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


Friday Ark #161 is up at the Modulator. Be sure to stop by and visit the Internet’s Finest Floating Menagerie.

Carnival of the Cats #187 will be hosted this coming Sunday evening at

And in other, non-animal-related news, you can visit the 23rd Kosher Cooking Carnival at Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen! Lotsa tasty stuff, there. Maybe the cats would eat some of it...

Update: CotC #187 is up.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Yet Another Shopping Center

Some sixteen months back, I wrote a post concerning the ever-increasing pace of development here in our immediate area.

Development, like so many other things in our lives, is a mixed blessing. The conveniences of suburban life, the multitudinous stores, the shopping malls with their thousand catchpenny engines, the easy availability of exotic and tasty foods - all of this comes with a price.

There’s more asphalt. More traffic. And less open land, less green space.

It was in April of this year that the Trader Joe’s foretold in that post finally opened for business. And I gotta admit, the Joe offers up a nice variety of quality foodstuffs, mostly private label, for reasonable prices. But at the end of the day, it’s just another place to help me dispose of my Disposable Income.

But now, I am really and truly fucked...

...because a brand spanking-new Target just opened its doors last week, less than a mile from Chez Elisson.

On the very same spot that Elder Daughter attended preschool a quarter century ago, there now stands a Target, complete with parking deck. A parking deck, ferGawdsakes! In East Cobb County, Jawjuh!

SWMBO’s favorite discount store, it is. I’m doomed.

How appropriate that Target’s corporate logo is a bullseye...because now there’s a great, big bullseye painted on my ass. Where my wallet is.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Planet Destin
Planet Destin. [Click to embiggen.]

Yes, Beachworld. Where else would a guy in a Panama hat want to live?

[Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to Sam Javanrouh at daily dose of imagery for the technique.]


Kitty Carriers
The Carriers: Harbingers of Unpleasant Experiences for Kitties.

This Monday, Hakuna and Matata, relying on that mystical Sixth Sense cats seem to be blessed with, knew that something was up...and they did not like it.

Indeed, it was time for their annual veterinary checkup, an experience that both of them dread. I’m not sure what bothers them more: the three-mile drive to the animal hospital, or the examination itself. If the noise and caterwauling were any indication, it’s the drive they hate, for they manage to be generally well-behaved during the poking, prodding, and needle-sticking.

Hakuna always knows when it’s Vet Time, and she’s a past master at making herself scarce. On top of that, she had a bladder infection and a touch of colitis last month, the which necessitated several “Catch Hakuna and Medicate Her” experiences, with the effect that she has been extremely suspicious in my presence.

To catch Hakuna, you have to cut off her manifold hidey-holes and retreats. I started by chivvying her out of her favorite hiding place, the box spring of Elder Daughter’s bed. Then, methodically closing off each upstairs bedroom in its turn, I left her no choice but to try to hide downstairs.

She was smart enough to avoid getting cornered in the sunroom, where it’s easy to close the doors and trap her. But this time she outsmarted herself, electing to hide in the litter box. It’s one of those covered affairs, and there’s only one way in and out. Bwah-hah-hah-hahhhh!

I waited a decent interval to allow her to attend to her Personal Business - assuming she had any to transact. Then, I clapped the carrier over the opening, tilted it gently, and waited for her to bow to the inevitable Force o’ Gravity. It worked like a charm.

Once Hakuna was in her carrier, wearing an amazingly surly expression and making those low, moaning Meows of Evident Distress, it was relatively easy to grab the much more compliant Matata. I have the feeling she was too lazy to make any serious escape attempts.

Our veterinarian is a middle-aged man with strong, yet extraordinarily gentle hands, and a reassuring manner. It was a beautiful thing to watch as both kitties relaxed (about as much as they could) and allowed him to palpate them. Not a peep, even when they got their shots...and yet, the carriers that they had earlier tried so hard to avoid were now eagerly-sought sanctuaries.

Both cats - now twelve-year-old dowagers - came through their respective physicals with flying colors. I was gratified to see that Hakuna had even gained a few ounces after her health issues last month. Aging gracefully: that’s my girls.

As expected, yesterday both of them were quiet, keeping out of sight. With Matata in particular, the annual round of shots makes her feel logy and out of sorts. Practically inert, she was, curling up in her little fleece-lined bed. And Hakuna was just being, well, Hakuna.

They’re up and about today, though, as they shed their memories of the Dreaded Annual Visit...memories that will be reawakened the instant those carriers come out of the basement again.

Good Morning!


Midnight 1

Midnight 2

Joe Odom (Paul Hipp): Hey, you like that?

John Kelso (John Cusack): It’s strong.

Joe Odom: Yeah. Strong and good. Chatham Artillery Punch.

John Kelso: What’s in it?

Joe Odom: Three parts fruit, seven parts liquor. Whatever’s available, on both counts.

From Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


It is said that all great artists suffer for their art. The not-so-great ones make other people suffer.

Here’s a young lady whose art will truly make you suffer, a talent contest hopeful whose Mad Skillz place her firmly in the Land of the Unintentionally Humorous...right up there with Leonard Nimoy’s infamous rendition of the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.


A tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora goes to the ever-tasteful Kevin Kim.


Better: Obscene at the Stoopidmarket.

Cheesecake in a Tub!

Just what I need: Ready-to-eat cheesecake filling in a tub, fercryinoutloud.

Ah, well. Another aisle for me to avoid at the local Publix.

Monday, October 15, 2007


When it’s Fall and the autumnal air smells like an indefinable something
That might be woodsmoke, or falling leaves, or maybe the aroma of the frost on the pumpking
That’s when the Blown-eyed Blodgers assemble in Helen at the Chalet Kristy
To swap stories, hang out, and consume ridiculous amounts of Chatham Artillery Punch and get moderately pisty.

It’s the only place I know where a middle-aged man will stand in a parking lot and shimmy into a dirndl
That fits him reasonably well, although it would fit him better if he were wearing a girndl,
And which makes his Lady Friend wonder, no doubt, if it’s he, not she, who is saddled with a bunch of Key Issues,
But meanwhile, everyone else is laughing so hard that they need to wipe their faces with tissues.

Some people drive Miles to generate smiles and Perverse Sheepish Forms of Amusement
By bringing devices that call to mind Vices and various types of Self-Abusement.
His lovely wife (Holder) is a rara avis, by which I mean an unusual creature,
Who combines Bloggy Talent with the personally rewarding and yet extremely difficult task of being a Science Teacher.
With them came a friend, one Michelle, who is involved in the Performing Arts as both an actress and director,
And if you want someone to party with who can, incidentally, schlep a cripple up a flight of stairs, well, you’d do good to select ’er.

Did someone say cripple? Yes, we had one with us who claims to be both Elderly and Grouchy,
Who, when we started carrying him down the cabin’s staircase, we dumped unceremoniously on his back, where he lay in a sort of Fetal Crouchy.

Those two Manly Men (I mean Jimbo and Ken), who hail from the state of New Jersey,
Drove down so that Jim could play his Git-Box and regale us with a few Choons, even though it meant taking a break from blogging from the Place Alongside the Highway Where You Pee.

Zonker showed up, sans mullet and tats,
And, for that matter, sans blog, which at least means no posts about Recipes and Cats.

Joan of Argghh came up in her cargghh, bringing along the Legendary Jolly Roger and a bag full of amusing devices,
And Catfish arrived with a truckload of shrimp and several handy sacks of Shrimp-Boiling Spices.

It’s fair to say that there is one couple without whom no visit to Helen is complete:
Yes, that would be Ricondo 32 and Miss Georgia, who apparently has a “thing” for Monkeys, as evidenced by her actions at both this and the last blogmeet.

Sam and Barbie trundled in from North Carolina in order to make their appearance.
Barbie took about 800 photos, some of which are likely to show up on the Internet regardless of whether or not their subjects have granted them advance clearance.

RSM dropped by on both Friday and Saturday evenings, and even showed up uniformed and camoed,
Attentive to duty as he was, he didn’t drink much, preferring to hang out and watch everyone else get hammoed.

Driving up in his trailer from Florida was GuyK and the lovely Sweetthing, along with their brace of poodles and a Coleman stove for food-warming,
It’s easy to see why the Bloggy World at large thinks this guy is Charming, Just Charming.

Taking a break from Talledega were Kelly and the Senior Chief, who showed up Saturday just in time for dining and Adult Libation.
Good thing we didn’t eat Indian food, or Kelly would’ve had an entirely different (and much more unpleasant) Restroom Revelation.

John Cox brought his sketchbook and proceeded to create a series of Visual Impressions,
And the bloggers he made them impressions of will soon be paying their Head-Shrinkers for an seemingly endless series of Therapeutic Sessions.

Dax came in his leather hat and serape, causing several random passers-by on the streets of Helen to hum, under their breath, the Mexican Hat Dance.
Listening to him tell the story of the Glass-Eye Girl’s job interview is about the most fun you can have while wearing pants.

Leslie flew all the way from Chicago, just so she could be with the rest of us -
And I’m still trying to figure out if she would have been better off simply driving her Omnibus.

The Wiseass Jooette did not miss the festivities, managing to get all the way from Brooklyn to Helen just in time for Shabbos:
“What’s a nice Brooklyn girl doing in a place like this?” “Getting shikker with all the Blown-Eyed Bloggos.”

Eric, the Straight White Guy, came down from Tennessee with his lovely bride Fiona,
Only to play half-rubber under the influence of Chatham Artillery Punch and nearly give himself a hionia.

Elisson and SWMBO arrived Friday evening, too early for dinner but well past the hour for lunch,
And he was armed with five gallons of that most deadly beverage, the aforementioned Chatham Artillery Punch.
That punch is good stuff, but if one drinks too much of it, one might possibly have a complaint,
And that complaint is, that Elisson may have had some of it too, and is now regaling everybody with poems about Warheads and Taint.

[Apologies to Ogden Knish]

Friday, October 12, 2007


Welcome once again to Blog d’Elisson’s Friday Random Ten, the weekly feature in which I post a random assortment of music and other audio ephemera from the iPod d’Elisson.

I’m here at Chez Elisson with Erica and Leslie, fresh arrived from their several travels. We’ll head out momentarily for a quick bite at the Local Bagel and Smoked Fish Emporium, after which we’ll pick up She Who Must Be Obeyed at her school and toddle on directly to Helen. Bloggy Fun awaiteth.

Good to see that Erica knows how to pack light, too. A month-long safari in Africa ain’t in it, as my friend Captain Aubrey would say.

Meanwhile, whadda we have to listen to, Johnny? Checkit:
  1. Shanty Town - Mr. Scruff
  2. Kyle’s Mom’s a B**ch - South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
  3. Brandenburg Concerto #3 in G - 1. Allegro - Trevor Pinnock; English Concerto
  4. I’m An Old Cowhand (From the Rio Grande) - Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks
  5. When Desperate Static Beats The Silence Up - Ben Folds
  6. The Spirit Of Man - Jeff Wayne
  7. Act Naturally - The Beatles
  8. Dona Dona - Moishe Oysher and Sholom Secunda
  9. The Sinister Minister - Béla Fleck & the Flecktones
  10. Waiting For The Rain - The Judybats
It’s Friday. What are you listening to?


Tonight We Dine in Helen


The bloggers gather on the banks
Of the Chattahoochee.
Meanwhile, in the Friday Ark
Assemble Cats and Poochies.

Yes, the Friday Ark sets sail once again, this time on its 160th voyage. Go check it out at the Modulator.

This Sunday evening, Momma Grace & Company plays host to Edition #186 of Carnival of the Cats. Be there or be...not there.

Update: CotC #186 is up.

Thursday, October 11, 2007



Here you see the ingredients for roughly five gallons of Vintage Popskull, more popularly known as Chatham Artillery Punch.

From the Cocktail Times website comes this bit o’ Historical Context:
The Chatham Artillery is the oldest military organization of record in Georgia. Organized May 1, 1786, their first official duty was to pay tribute at the funeral of General Nathaniel Greene.

When George Washington visited Savannah, May 12, 1792, the Chatham Artillery saluted him with 26 discharges from their field pieces. The company found such favor in the President’s eyes that shortly [afterward] the company received the gift of the “Washington Guns” captured at Yorktown, October 19, 1781.

The Washington Guns were fired to salute President James Monroe when he visited Savannah in May 1819 for the launching of the S.S. Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic.

These occasions were undoubtedly celebrated with Chatham Artillery Punch. No one is sure how the heady concoction originated, but Chatham Artillery members believe that gentle ladies made up the first beverage. Then, one by one, officers of the Artillery sneaked in and added this and that, thus creating Savannah’s most noted drink in two centuries.
Right. That would explain the, er, ahhh...extreme variety of the Alcohol-Bearing Tipples that comprise this very Heady Beverage. Wine - Catawba wine, no less. Rum. Gin. Brandy. Rye whiskey. And a dab of Benedictine.

It sits in my kitchen, now, in a slowly pulsating five-gallon bucket. Immediately before consuming it, we will add the Finishing Touch: the equivalent of one case of Champagne (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).

It will be delicious.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Or so Matata seems to be saying.

An expectant pose.

What a Kitty-Whore she is.


Oh I used to be disgusted
And now I try to be amused.
But since their wings have got rusted,
You know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

- Elvis Costello, “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”

Red Shoes 1

Red Shoes 2

The Mistress of Sarcasm does not paint her toes red, but she sure knows how to wear those Red Shoes.


There’s nothing makes me want to dance
Like a brand new pair of Underpants.

The blue-haired ladies look askance
When I show off my Underpants.

They’re free of bees and flies and ants.
They’re insect-free, my Underpants.

I’m hypnotized: I’m in a trance.
Those mesmerizing Underpants!

Averse to risk? Why take a chance?
I wear my Safety Underpants.

Their silken fabric draws one’s glance.
Gaze, gaze upon my Underpants.

Like armored Knight with Battle-Lance,
I’m protected in my Underpants.

I dine on animals and plants,
Take meals in my Underpants.

Residing in my lordly manse.
I wear my lordly Underpants.

[The theme of Weekly Challenge #78 at the 100 Word Stories Podcast is, of course, Underpants.]

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Yet Another Chinese Toy Recall.

Chinese Toy Recall

Stolen from Denny.

Heh. Practically begs for a caption, don’t it?



Yesterday, I met up with a few of the Blown Eyed Blodgers for an Indian Dinner in downtown Atlanta.

The occasion for the convocation (nice turn of phrase, that) was Matt Burden’s business-related visit to Atlanta. Matt, a good buddy of Eric the Straight White Guy, is familiar to an increasing number of folks in the Bloggy-Sphere as the guy behind Blackfive. His presence in town was a fine excuse to assemble a mini-blodgemeet.

And so it was that Eric drove down from Tennessee, stopping to join me for a pleasant luncheon at the Local Bagel and Smoked Fish Emporium. Afterwards, we proceeded to head downtown, where we were joined by Richard, the lovely Morrigan (Sister d’Bou), Zonker, and Denny...and, of course, Matt.

A short cab ride got us to Haveli, where we proceeded to stuff our collective faces with Indian food: chicken tikka masala, prawns korma, saag josh, various kulchas and naans, and biryani rice, all washed down by a plethora of beverages that included Kingfisher beer, cold Pinot Grigio, and masala tea. Delish.

Of course, there are always Unintended Consequences when one has a pleasant time.

Fortunately, I did not suffer the Unintended Consequences. Unfortunately, She Who Must Be Obeyed did...for throughout the night, unbeknownst to me as I slept the sleep of the Righteous and Well-Fed, the aforementioned saag josh - a seriously spicy lamb curry with spinach - began to generate prodigious quantities of Toxic Vapors, which said Vapors proceeded to perfume our bedroom to the point that SWMBO was left gasping and muttering imprecations under her breath.

No pleasure without pain, I suppose. But for SWMBO’s sake, next time I go for the cuisine of the Subcontinent, I’ll sleep on the sofa...


...English to Koreans.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Che Pie
“Is Nothing Sacred?” - National Lampoon January 1972 cover.
[Click to embiggen.]

to Ernesto “Che” Guevara, popular Iconic T-Shirt Image, over-romanticized revolutionary, insurrectionist, guerilla warrior, and murderer. AKA The Butcher of La Cabaña, Mr. Guevara succumbed 40 years ago this very day to injuries caused by the impact upon his vital organs of several leaden projectiles moving at high velocity. Or perhaps to the effects of High-Velocity Pie-Bashage.


The ability to tell a good story is a gift.

It’s one that I possess only to a modest degree...but what little Raconteurial Capability I have is inherited from my very own Daddy, Eli hizzownself.

I always used to love hearing my Daddy tell a story. Still do. Sure, he can tell a joke...but his real strength lies in the Shaggy Dog Story, the tale told at some length, often for a dubious payoff. My favorites are the ones he tells in his own unique brand of half-Yiddish, half-English, for no language is better designed to convey a joke than that of the Ashkenazic Jews.

His facial expressions alone are a joy to behold. At least, for me. Lookee:

Eli the Raconteur 1

Eli the Raconteur 2

Eli the Raconteur 3

Presented here for your amusement is a Tale Told by an Eli...The Piano Lesson, complete with subtitles in the necessary places.

Update: Want more of Eli’s stories? Here you go:Enjoy.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Duck Sammitch 1

OK. It’s safe to get up from under your computer desk now.

I meant Duck! the edible waterfowl, not Duck! the verbal imperative.

I love the Edible Duck. And this is a perfectly appropriate time to enjoy it, given the (probably apocryphal) story that the Momma d’Elisson was in the middle of enjoying a duck dinner when the labor pains announcing the imminent arrival of Yours Truly began.

Yesterday evening, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were out dining with Mr. and Mrs. Eli at Seasons 52, one of the newer restaurants in town. It’s where we had gone with a gaggle of friends to celebrate SWMBO’s birthday a month ago, the home of the Shtuppable Lamborghinis. And, seeing as how I was not sharp-set enough to enjoy a heavy meal, I ordered the Asian Duck Breast Salad, complete with chiffonnade of lettuce, grilled pineapple, almonds and sesame dressing. It was superb: not too heavy, and yet crammed with enough yummy duck meat so that I was well satisfied.

This I had ordered despite having already set the wheels in motion for yet another Ducky Dinner this evening. For I was in the end stages of the three-day advance prep for a Louisiana Duck Tit Sammitch.

The Louisiana Duck Tit Sammitch is inspired by an Emeril Lagasse recipe. I’ve made Emeril’s version, but this one is easier. Which you won’t believe, because it still takes three days to make. But it’s so worth it.

Uncle El’s Louisiana Duck Tit Sammitch

First, get a good size Muscovy duck breast or two. Rub it liberally with a 50:50 blend of kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Wrap it in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Take the duck breast(s) out and rinse off the salt and pepper in cold water. Dry with a kitchen towel. Now, put the breast(s) in a suitable size Tupperware container and scatter about 4-6 cloves worth of chopped garlic, about ten black peppercorns, and eight juniper berries. Don’t get overly anal about the measurements. Now dump in a whole bunch of Steen’s 100% cane syrup and make sure the duck is buried in it.

Stick the duck in the fridge for two days. Yes, two days. Turn it once in a while so the duck knows you still love it.

When you’re ready for your Louisiana Duck Tit Sammitch, take the duck out of the fridge and scrape off the goop. Season with kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper. Preheat your oven to 400°F.

In an oven-proof skillet, warm up a little olive oil. Add the breast(s), skin side down, and let cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.

When the skin is nice and crispy, turn the breasts over and cook for another 10 minutes. Then, stick the entire skillet in your preheated oven for 8 minutes (if you like your meat medium rare) - 10 minutes for medium-well. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing across the grain. [I also trimmed off some of the fat and rendered it down to make duck schmaltz and duck gribenes - cracklings. Mmmmm. Agghh, my heart!]

Here’s where Emeril and I go our separate ways.

I grabbed a hearty loaf of multi-grain bread I had scored this morning at Trader Joe’s and hacked off two thick slices.

One one slice of bread, I piled a good handful of some Salade Mort de Vampyr that was left over from our dinner Friday evening. Spinach with lotsa garlic. On the other slice went some excellent Green Hill, a soft, Brie-like cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy, a south Georgia artisanal cheesemaker. [A good ripe Brie, of course, would work just fine here.]

And now, the duck, sliced off the breast and piled high. Put the whole mess together, and BAM! (you should excuse the expression.) A Sammitch that will lay low your Duck Jones.

Duck Sammitch 2

And that’s not a load of Quap.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


World o’ Coke 2

What with the Poppa d’Elisson - Eli hizzownself - in town along with Missus Eli, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I did not want to do what we typically do on weekends. Namely, spend the first half of Saturday in shul, followed by a string of shopping expeditions, meaningless errands, and (perhaps) a short nap. After all, who wants to appear boring, excessively religious, and dissolute in front of the Parental Units?

So instead, we took a jaunt to midtown in order to check out the New and Improved World of Coca-Cola.

The new World of Coca-Cola, for those who give a Rat’s Ass, replaces a previous incarnation that was located hard by Underground Atlanta, a mostly failed attempt at Gentrification by Shopping. The new version is adjacent to the city’s biggest (and now second newest) tourist draw, the Georgia (“Biggest Honkin’ Fishtank on the Planet!”) Aquarium.

You have to hand it to the Coke Folks. They’ve managed to create a combination Museum and Corporate Sideshow that successfully gets people to pay for admission into what is, in essence, a highly concentrated Advertising-Rich Environment. It is, in fact, a celebration of advertising, a veritabobble Hog Wallow o’ Promotion.

But it’s also a slick, entertainingly packaged look at the history of a corporate American Icon, a cultural export that has effectively brought a slice of America to the world. That slice of America that causes people to want to ingest heavily sugared carbonated beverages, anyway. And as such, it’s worth a look.

Buying tickets online was a snap. And even better, I exercised, for the very first time, my ability as a Senior Classic Citizen to purchase a ticket at a discount. Oh, boy! Hey, two bucks is two bucks...enough to buy a dose of Geritol, or a tall, refreshing glass of Prune Juice.

I’m always fascinated by the Knowledgeable Backward Look at a successful enterprise, the delving back to the roots of a business that, by dint of having a good product and the people to market it effectively, takes over the world. What would John Pemberton have thought if he could have known that one day, his drugstore-spawned beverage would be available in dusty, far-off lands where lactating mothers are reduced to chewing rocks for nourishment?

In addition to the museum-style displays, there are a couple of movie shows. One, a clever computer-animated fantasy (“Behind the Scenes at the Happiness Factory”) that casts itself as a documentary-style look at what happens when you shove that coin into the Coke machine, is pretty much the first thing you see when you enter the building. The second, a “4-D” Movie Experience (a 3-D movie coupled with seats that shake, move up and down, and schpritz you with blasts of air and water droplets at appropriate times) is amusing mainly for its technical excellence, less so for its underlying theme: Coca-Cola is the Best Fucking Beverage in the Entire Universe.

But all this soda pop-a-ganda got me to thinking. What other Iconic American Products are out there, as yet uncelebrated by a museum-cum-circus spectravaganza?

How ’bout Ex-Lax?

I can see it now, conveniently located (where else?) in Brownsville, Texas: the World of Ex-Lax (the Chocolated Museum). From its humblest beginnings, when some prankster decided to bury a load of yellow phenolphthalein in some unsuspecting victim’s chocolate bar, to the multi-mega-million-dollar division of the multi-mega-billion-dollar company we all know and love so well today.

Come to Brownsville, where you can “Give your Dookie its Due!” The Ex-Lax Museum wants you!

[More pix below the fold.]

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