Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Alice doesn't bleed here anymore.

Dear diary: Saw Aallysse today. I hardly recognized her. She was a foot taller, covered from stem to stern in temporary tattoos. Her hair was shaved except on the left side which she rolled up like a fringed window shade that she could adjust depending on the position of the sun. Its amazing how much a person can change in two months. Surprisingly, though, she still had a faint mustache.
She spells her name Alice now. It was on her "Hi may name is ____ tag. She's joined a congregation of snake handlers and was begging for change. She needed enough to get a venom vaccination. I can't remember her looking so happy or so winsome. She also squinted less with her hair that way.
I thought about the days I spent by her side while she practiced grating cheese. Her Mother was a championship cheese grater who held the world record for grating a 5 lb block of Parmesan. Alice had the right technique but her large knuckles proved to be her undoing. I found myself remembering all the hours I spent holding her cheese or bandaging her fingers.
I had a strong impulse to ask her to come back but her asp kept getting between us. It looked to me to be a very angry asp, not large but muscular. There was a time once when I was convinced she was the one. Now I realized it could never work out between us, a snake handler and a reformed Jew with a reptiles allergy.

She gave me a kiss goodbye. It was sweet. I gave her all my loose change. It was 97 cents. Not a lot but I had to skip the bus and hoof the 40 blocks home.
As we wished each other well it started to drizzle. I pretended not to notice but some of Alice's tattoos were beginning to run. I was glad for the rain, though - I didn't want her to see the perspiration stains growing under my arm pits. She was born without sweat glands and didn't see the point. I really didn't want to have that conversation again.

Walking away towards home I kept telling myself 'Don't look back. Don't look back.' I just couldn't shake the feeling that her asp was following me.
Diary, life is so cruel.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vince, We Hardly Knew Ye

I was thinking about Fred. You probably know him better as Vince. But when I met him he was Fred. I was wondering what ever happened to him? And why did he always walk with a limp? He ran without any trouble - but he always limped when he walked. Sometimes it was his right leg, sometimes his left, but always a limp.
I only saw him run once. It was summer in Venezuela. But we were in Idaho and it was 20 freakin' below. Bored out of our beanies - I bet him a twenty he wouldn't run around the outside of the house naked . Fred said that he didn't believe I really even HAD $20 dollars. When I pulled the bill out of my pocket he sucker - punched me.  I woke up god-knows-how-much-later lying outside in the snow -- sans my $20, sans my pants (they were Sansabelts - very chic in the 70's) and sans any feeling in my extremities. But I had a new found respect for Fred's gamesmanship.
I loved Fred like a brother until the fateful day I spotted him limping down the street with my best girl on his arm. I don't know what came over me but I must have snapped. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the beer, or the Jack Daniels, or the Harvey's Bristol Crème. Maybe it was the smack or crack or hash, the meth or the H. Maybe it was the memories stirred up by the scent of Canoe in the air. (Fred always smelled of Canoe, he was two fifths Iroquois) or maybe it was just the last straw and you know how much I hate drinking from the can.
I don't remember what happened next. It's probably for the best, cause somehow I ended up in the Merchant Marines on a freighter in the south pacific. But that's another story for another day and right now, I'm thinking about Fred. Sorry, I don't mean to bore you. To hell with Fred - know what I mean? Hey, leave the bottle, okay? Inside the cap it says I won a free download on itunes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving 101 Part 2 - Selecting The Perfect Turkey

In all honesty, if you plan to buy a frozen (heaven fore fend) or even a freshly butchered and dressed bird, you might as well be blindfolded. They are all the same. Naturally, weight is a consideration; (about 5 pounds for each adult and 3 for each child.) To be cautious, if you will be serving any teenage boys plan on 7 lbs for each; Slightly less in California, more in New Jersey.
Besides weight, if you will need 30 pounds or more, you will want to have more than one bird. For example, you could have 3 fifteen pound birds – 2 for eating and one more to hold extra stuffing.  This is also helpful when you plan to make a more sophisticated stuffing recipe. There will always be one or two guest who prefer the basic version. Better still buy a box of Stove Top and let the heathen slobs have at it.
Then there is color. A pale pinkish hue indicates freshness but the bird may be dry and require excessive basting. A yellowish tinge indicates high fat content or, in some cases jaundice. In either instance I strongly suggest you throw away the liver, kidneys, gall bladder, etc. Just take that disgusting package they stuff inside the cavity like a Cracker Jack prize and chuck it. Don’t even feed it to your dog, unless you were planning to get rid of it anyway. (The dog, that is.)
If you really want a turkey worth eating, however, there is no substitute for choosing the Gobbler while he can still gobble.  There is more to be gleaned from looking them square in their dark little beady eyes, watching the swagger in their step, the feel and form of their feathers  and the wiggle in their waddle.
Everything I know about selecting fowl I learned from “Turkey” Tom Nexwinger, “The Turkey Whisperer”.
“Turk”, as his friend called him, was my Grandfather.  In the interest of time and space I can best pass along his wisdom in terms of what you don’t want to see in your live bird:
1.       You don’t want a smart bird. You will be cutting off the head anyway, so brains are of little importance.
2.       You don’t want an athletic bird. muscle makes a lousy sandwich.
3.       You don’t want an angry, sullen or crazy bird. All of these are caused by hormones which tend to detract from flavor.
In short, you want a fat stupid lazy mild-tempered bird.  As Grandpa Turk used to say …well, actually I couldn’t really understand anything the old fool used to say. He didn’t so much whisper; he wheezed, slurred and had an unusually strong sibilant “S”.  My cousins and I would get him to sing Miss The Mississippi And You , and then pee ourselves laughing behind his back.

Now that you have selected your perfect Thanksgiving turkey we can move on to Part 3 – preparing to roast. Hold on tight you inglorious basters, things are about to start heating up!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm Beginning To See A Lot Less Excess

I'm Beginning To See A Lot Less Excess (to the tune of  Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.)
With apologies to Meredith Wilson
I'm beginning to see a lot less excess
everywhere I go
The economy’s in the tank,
no money left in the bank

with bills unpaid and income getting low.
Still at Christmas we see a lot of excess;
Ads from every store
But the scariest sight to see is a foreclosure notice
hanging on your old front door.

I’m beginning to see a lot less excess
Hear the sales folk beg
go to shop for a children's book, they’ll convince you to buy a Nook
or a Kindle that will cost an arm and leg

Ostrich cowboy boots (full quill)
and a Cadillac De Ville
used to be
 for Britnee and Sven
Botox to puff and implants to stuff
was the hope of Baxter and G’wen ;
And Mom and Dad once wished they had a new spa and den.

But were seeing the end to all this excess
Everyone will know;
There's a guy washing out his socks, living in a cardboard box ,
The sturdy kind that doesn't mind the snow.
Yes, there’s bound to be an end to excess;
when the market dives
And the thing that will really be stinging
is the new tune you'll be singing for
your supper just to stay alive

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanksgiving Tips 101 for Holiday 2011

Hi Pilgrims and welcome to Thanksgiving Tips 101 for Holiday 2011. The feature for singles and others whose familiarity with their kitchen may be just slightly lower than their familiarity with the International Space Station.

So you've decided, for reasons known only to yourself, to cook dinner at home this Thanksgiving? Over the next few short weeks we will guide you, step by step, through the bare essentials you will need to make this happen.

Realizing that you are probably still dazed and somewhat confused over arriving at this milestone in life we will begin ever so slowly, gently easing you into the full magnitude of your undertaking. And so, without further ado, (and I suggest you take copious notes):

Step 1 - Find your oven.
a.This is usually a large metallic box with dials, buttons and some kind of clock or timing device. Advanced readers may already suspect we are not talking about the microwave. The rest of you - DON"T PANIC! In a worst case scenario we can help you find your oven
b. Use the process of elimination* (ie; it's not your refrigerator; it's not your dishwasher, etc). which, though time consuming, is usually fool proof.
c. As a last resort call 911 and report your oven has been stolen. Your local police will be more than happy to serve and protect as well as point out if you have overlooked it.

Next up: Turning the oven on! (warning - please don't start with out us; turning the oven off is equally as important.)

*we call this POE and will be referring to it often throughout the month.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

soup to nuts

Commercials get me so confused. I just switched my car insurance to Progresso. It's a high deductible, low sodium policy. It has PIP but no MSG.

Keeping it real.

I'm trying to keep it real.

If you want me to keep it interesting, I'm going to have to embellish a little bit.