Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Lickety Split

The other night we had some friends over to dinner, and the conversation turned to the subject of curious and funky meat products. Highlights included:
  • Scrapple
  • Head cheese.
  • Head cheese po-boys.
  • Tripe.
  • How bad tripe can be if you cooked it without a recipe and have no idea what you're doing.*
  • Hog maws.
  • Chitlins.
  • Spring lamb.
  • Matt's "born-with-all-its-flavor" theory.
  • Pigs feet.
  • The fact that pickled pigs feet aren't good when consumed straight from the jar.**
  • The recent trendiness of offal in haute cuisine.
  • Tongue.
When "tongue" came up, Mary described a certain clipping she had saved from her home town newspaper, which I begged her to pass it along to me. She has kindly obliged, and now I'm passing it along to you:



Isn't it beautiful? And what more persuasive argument could there be for the effectiveness of advertising in the Ville Platte Gazette? I'm serious. If you can sell 100 tongues*** you can probably sell any damn thing.

Thank you, Mary. Lickety split!

* I learned this the hard way.

** I also learned this the hard way.

*** I wonder what "Unclean Calf Tongues" are.

Flown the Coop

Our lovely and talented Maysey Craddock has flown the coop to the other side of the pond.

All the best, sweetie.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Big Mouth Bill and His Lil' Tufts of Hair

Back in the Day

On the subject of second line's, here's a picture of my grandfather's from back in the day:


Victor Olivier

Things really aren't so different.

Uptown Swingers

Almost every Sunday in New Orleans there's a second line. These aren't the ones put on in the French Quarter for the benefit of tourists. They travel, instead, through the old, predominantly black neighborhoods and are largely unnoticed by the rest of the city. Each second line is organized by a specific Social and Pleasure Club (descendents and outgrowths of old-style neighborhood organizations). Each club has its own designated Sunday during the year to parade, and each travels its own particular route twisting several miles and stopping at various bars along the way.

There's always a brass band. Members of the club dress to the nines in coordinated suits and show off their best dance moves* (second lines have their own very distinct dance style associated with them). And dozens or even hundreds of friends, family members, and other revelers march and dance along with them. People dance in the street, on the sidewalk, on porches, and even on top of bus stops. Neighborhood entrepeneurs follow along selling beer out of coolers, and others set up along the way to sell food from grills in the back of their trucks. There's always a police escort, but they merely make sure no one gets too rowdy, turning a blind eye to the various smaller legal infractions that occur (rampant dope-smoking, dancing on bus stops, etc).

We live at the edge of one of the main second line neighborhoods, and occasionally they will pass near us. This Sunday the Uptown Swingers rolled right by our house. I hopped up, hoisted Louise on my shoulders, and we followed them along for about ten blocks (Louise didn't want to stop, but other obligations and my sore back prevented us from going further). I managed to snap a few pictures along the way (although it was a challenge in a densely packed, moving crowd with a good sized child on me) and am posting them here:









If you're itching to see some more second line pictures, go over to Hilary's site. She's got some beauties.

* A number of years ago there was a city mandate that all parading organizations had to racially integrate. It was principally directed at the Mardi Gras krewes, but also theoretically included the Social and Pleasure Clubs. The rule was mostly ignored by the clubs, but our friend, Jorin, was an exception. He had been attending second lines for years and had picked up the dance style. When the ruling occurred, he was invited to join by one of the groups. Now he's a perrenial favorite. Each year his group would stop part of the way along the route at the grandmother's house of one of the members. Inside they would change from the fancy outfits they were already wearing into their really fancy suits with matching Italian leather shoes (the cost of the outfits goes well into 4 digits). Then, one by one, they would emerge from the house and dance on the stoop, showing off their best moves. When Jorin's turn would approach, you could feel the crowd start to get excited, and when he finally appeared they would bust out chanting, "Go white boy! Go white boy! Go white boy!" And he never disappointed. It was a always a beautiful sight.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Robbie-Boy



It wasn't intentional, but I think I drew Robert Mitchum.

Effin' Wankers

That-A-Way



Trying on a new style, courtesy of this guy.

Friday, May 27, 2005

F O W V G H Fish D



My contribution to Photo Friday (subject: "Symbol")

Reclining L

Darth Cheez-It


The Dark Lord must have Cheez-Its.

What the fruck?!

Context? Who Needs Context?

Overheard at work today:

"It's kind of funny you're saying that while drinking out of a mouse's behind."

Know the Power

So last night on the spur of the moment I actually did go see the new Star Wars (by myself, I should add). Athough it was far from perfect* my inner six year-old thoroughly enjoyed it. Perhaps a little too much. At bed time, while I was still prancing around the bedroom in my underwear making lightsaber noises, Sarah quietly warned me, "David, beware of the Dork Side".

Indeed I will. The Dork Side is tempting and powerful, but what it offers is an illusion. We must always be vigilant to guard ourselves from it's lure. Thank you, Sarah.

* When the introduction scrolled up the screen I thrilled with excitement and nearly teared up. That feeling ended as soon as the actors started talking. I thoroughly enjoyed the escapist fantasy: the fight scenes, the other worlds, all of that was great. But, man, the acting stunk (at least most of it)! It was like watching a weak high shool drama dumped in the middle of a megamillion dollar production ("Ok, Anakin. Glower a little more... a little more... no, no, too glowery... perfect, roll camera!"). Lucas should stick to what he's good at, the whiz-bang-wow, and hire a sub-contracting director to deal with the actual talkie-talk.**

** Yes, I am getting a little heavy-handed with the footnotes. It will settle down soon.

I Love the Internet

My favorite accidental encounter with Slimbolala:

Someone at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow googled:
sew pattern for matrix trenchcoat for free
and wound up here.

They didn't stay long. Oh, well.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hair I Work With

Related to previous subjects of inquiry, I now present an initial taxonomy of the hair I work with:

The BuzzThe Engineer

Popular with military and ex-military types.A.k.a. "The Republican". The most popular men's do. A straight, standard guy cut.
The Mini-MulletWhole-Lotta-Hair

Favored by good ol' boys (and often worn in conjunction with The Southerner). Was quite popular two decades ago, but its habitat has dwindled in recent years.Bountiful and architectural, it requires an extensive use of hairspray. Mostly worn by females, but also found on one male coworker (who also has a Neat 'N Tidy and wears double-breasted suits with floral ties).

Once again, this is merely a work in progress, and we have only scratched the surface. The world of hair is a marvelous and mysterious place. We can never hope to fully understand it in all of its magnificence, but we must start somewhere.

Update:
Billy has rightly pointed out that The Buzz, while popular with the military set, is also big with the gay crowd. There are a lot more examples of the former than the latter at my current location, but the one obviously gay coworker does, in fact, sport a flat-top fade buzz cut.

Billy adds that his own barber, who is an old-school type and is quite expert at the flat-top buzz, does big business with both police officers and gay men. That's a curious market niche to be in.

"Magic Fairy Bed"

Middle of the night:

"I can't sleep. My bed is so hard and yours is so soft."

A little desperately, "Well, in the morning we'll see what we can do about it."

"Noooo!"

A little more desperately, "Yes, but yours is a magic fairy bed."

"Noooooo!"

Very desperately, "Ok, well I'll go talk to Mama and see what we should do about it, and I'll be back in 5 minutes."

"Ok." (asleep in 30 seconds)

Sucker.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Bad Eighties Elf

Some days I try to amuse you. Other days I merely try to amuse myself*. Today is looking like one of the latter. I had the following conversation with my wife at about 6:30 this morning:

Me: She's going to look weird, but that hair and the heavy eye liner and blue eye shadow... If she did something different she wouldn't look quite as weird.

Sarah: I think she' going for a sort of elf thing.

Me: Yeah but it's not even like cool Millenial elf. It's like bad Eighties elf.
At which point the dorky, sarcastic commentary in my head said, "Ooh! Bad Eighties Elf - awesome band name!" (yes, the dorky, sarcastic commentary in my head is not afraid of rehashing old jokes).

So my question to you is as follows. If Bad Eighties Elf was actually a band, what genre would it be?**

Update:
The other question is, what would be the name of their first single?

* I don't mean in the naughty sense. That's an entirely different matter.

** Again, since this is all for my own lame amusement, I have absolutely no expectation that anyone will bother to respond. On the other hand, if you did choose to respond, think how pleasantly surprised I would be.

Green


Another installment in my "retrospective".

My contribution to Photo Friday.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Ernie Orangetie

Pinwheel



This is from a while back.

You: Don't give us this stale crap. We want bleeding edge. We want "now"!
Me: Screw you. It's a "retrospective".

I joke because I love (and because my fear of real emotion makes me hide all true feeling behind a facade of pithy - and not so pithy - one-liners).

Friday, May 20, 2005

Kute, Kuddly, Killer Kitties

Hot tip from our Super-Secret-Slimbo-Sleuth (I'll call her "Beth"). Thieving bastards have stolen my Battle Royale concept (cause, ya know, I'm the only person ever to do it) and have turned it into a lucrative media empire:

http://kittenwar.com/

It's competing photos of kittens. You vote for the cutest. If you luv all things cute and cuddly, you'll luvvy-luv-luv this site. Of course, that's only the free version. Paying members get to see actual live video of the adorable critters battling to the death (just kidding - that would be mean).

The funniest part of the site, though, is the Losingest Kittens section. Remarkably, darling little "Cotton" (pictured here):



is only the eighth most losingest cat. Go figure.

As always, to become a Slimboperative, simply wear this secret disguise and send your hot tips about nothing in particular to slimbolala@hotmail.com

Chicken Fried Yoga

Last night I had yoga class. Before hand, I'd taken a bath and was all scrubby-fresh, but, unfortunately, I made the mistake of wearing the same t-shirt I'd worn during dinner. Dinner was chicken fried steak which was quite delicious, but the frying of the steak created a giant grease cloud which permeated everything it came in contact with. When I arrived at yoga I noticed a slight but inconsequential hint of the smell. However, as class went on and I warmed up the little chicken fried flavor molecules unleashed themselves, and by the end of class I was stretching and bending in my own personal cloud of batter fried goodness.

Embarrassing? Maybe a little. Conducive to the harmonious unison of mind and body? Absolutely! Mmm, santosha-licious.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Turkey Pot Pie vs. The Gin Fizz

We have a new challenger proposed by Beth, the Gin Fizz. Will Turkey Pot Pie remain victorious? Will it be toppled by this scrappy upstart? You decide.

Round 4:

a) Turkey Pot Pie?
b) The Gin Fizz?

Need more information? The internet says that a Gin Fizz is:
2 oz gin
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp powdered sugar
carbonated water

Shake gin, juice of lemon, and powdered sugar with ice and strain into a highball glass over two ice cubes. Fill with carbonated water, stir, and serve.
Place your vote.

Thtar Warth

So last night I went to see the 12:01 showing of the new Star Wars movie, Revenge of the Sith, and I'm posting my review:

It wath awethome, thpectacular, thtupendouth, thuper cool! The thpecial effecth were fabulouth! Betht Thtar Warth ever! You mutht thee thith movie!

Ok. Actually I haven't seen it yet because, unlike my friend, Zack, I'm not a huge dork (well, maybe I am, but that's not my particular cup of dork tea). It was all just a joke. Thorry.

Liquid Lunch (Martini Manifesto)



It was recently asked, "If there's anything you can tell me about martinis that I don't already know, I want to hear it!" Well, Mr. Keefe, I'm afraid I don't know what you know or don't know about martinis, and I certainly have nothing to say about them that hasn't been said somewhere before, but I do love them, and I won't hesitate to prattle on about them if invited.

There are three reasons I like martinis:

  1. I like looking at them. They are certainly the most beautiful drink in existence. I feel no need to argue this point.
  2. I like drinking them. They taste delicious, and they make me feel warm and fuzzy.
  3. I like making them. The ingredients are so simple. The process is so elegant. And the result is so lovely.
The viewing and drinking of martinis is relatively intuitive, so I'll focus on their manufacture.

The booze:
I'll avoid any dogmatic proclamations about the best booze for a martini. Use whatever gin or vodka you like (actually, some purists would deny the existence of a vodka martini, but they're a bunch of blind-drunk gin-hounds so what do they know). I do, of course, have my personal favorites:

Gin: My standby is Beefeaters. It's what my aunt always drinks during our Sunday luncheons so I have a sense of familial loyalty to it. It's also quite tasty. Bombay tastes vaguely like gasoline to me. I tend to avoid the various fancy new varieties (Grey Goose, etc.) out of a perverse sense of reverse-snobbery. I tend to avoid the various cheap gins due to plain old traditional snobbery.

Vodka: I like Stoli. It tastes like vodka and it tastes good. Some of the fancy, ultra-pure vodkas such as Ketel One are too clean for me.
The vermouth:
Skip it for the vodka martini. Add it for the gin. Of course the meaining of the phrase "add it" has different, sometimes conceptually complicated, meanings in this context:

  • Old School - Time was when a martini was up to a third vermouth. Not my cup of tea but there you have it (my dear cousin, George, bless his heart, still tends to make them this way).
  • The Dry Martini - Add a hint, a tiny splash, a capful. Just line the glass (the In-and-Out Martini). There are various degrees and techniques.
  • The Extremely Dry Martini - This is where it gets interesting. The Extremely Dry Martini contains vermouth only in the sense that it actively contains the absence of vermouth. How much vermouth does it contain? An evanescently small amount - infinite parts gin to one part vermouth - less than a molecule - less than a quark - merely wave the vermouth bottle over the shaker - simply bow towards Paris. You get the idea.
All of that being said, I like a little vermouth.

Chilling the booze:
Chilling the booze is certainly the most critical step of the process, and is in essence quite simple (although it is also where bad martinis most frequently go wrong). Combine the booze and ice, and move them around* until everything is as icey as can be, the melted ice has comingled with the booze (a martini isn't actually all liquor although it's close), and a lovely layer of frost has formed on the outside. Pour into a well-chilled glass. Lovely.

Chilling the glass:
And that leads us to the chilling the glass. Fill it with ice to the top. Gently swirl until the glass feels like ice to the touch (this is the second most common place for martinis to go wrong - cold booze in a warm glass is a warm martini).

Garnishes:
Some drinks have such a dominant flavor of their own that you can throw any old thing in them and it will hardly make a difference. With martinis though, the ingredients are so simple that the choice of garnish substantially effects the outcome.

Olives: I like olives, and I like olives in martinis. Put 2. Put 3. Put them on a toothpick. Put them on a sword. Pour the olive juice in (a "dirty" martini) until it turns bright green. Do what you desire.

A twist (of lemon): I like twists, and I like twists in martinis. I use to drink martinis with olives and a twist (an "oliver twist"), but have recently migrated to a twist only. Do what you desire. Of course, the twist has it's own lovely little process. The thin sliver of lemon peel is twisted over the surface of drink misting it with a fine spray of the lemon oils. The twist is then run around the rim of the glass, peel side down, to impart the lemon flavor to the rim.**
VARIATIONS:

On the rocks:
Although purists in northern climes might be mortified, a "martini" here in New Orleans is, by default, a martini on the rocks. While certain advantages of the classic martini are lost, in particular the elegant appearance, at least it stays cold for more than two minutes on a hot summer afternoon. Only in recent decades has the "up" martini made significant in-roads here, and that, principally with younger people. When I bartended, if a person of a certain age ordered a martini I would simply serve it on the rocks automatically. Only if they were younger would I ask them to specify.

Chocolate martinis, green apple martinis, etc:
I've never had any of them. I have nothing to say about them. They may be wonderful (although I doubt it), but they do not posess the qualities of a martini that interest me.

The Lillet Martini:
The one true variation that I have had and liked is the Lillet martini (it's got some other name, but I don't know what it is). Lillet is an French apertif which by itself is a tad sweet for my taste, but it makes a wonderful ingredient in a cocktail. The martini is approximately 3 parts vodka to 1 part Lillet (vary the proportion depending on how sweet you like it - I prefer them relatively dry). Garnish with a twist. The result is very pretty - it's the color of a light, white wine - and has a crisp, citrus taste. Excellent for warm weather.

So, mercifully, we reach the end. I've said more then I intended to, and probably more than anyone wanted to hear. My apologies if I've bored you. Be careful what you ask for.

* Of course the precise means of moving the booze and ice is the subject of the well know Shaken vs. Stirred debate. Though I prefer stirring, I will, again, refrain from dogma. Shake if you will, but if you shake, shake it like you're trying to wake a deeply slumbering loved one, not like you're trying to kill a cat. We recently had dinner at restaurant that shall go nameless (although this is their website). The prices were such that everything really needed to be perfect to justify them, and the martini I had before dinner was, sadly, far from perfect. The bartender poured the contents in the shaker and then furiously shook it for the better part of a minute. When he poured the martini out into the glass it was cloudy and full of little ice chunks.

** The bartender who brutalized my martini also screwed up the twist, running it with the inner white side of the peel on the rim and then twisting it - the right steps but done wrong and in the wrong order largely defeating the purpose of the process. I would be more forgiving if I hadn't had to sell one of my children to pay for the damn thing.

Also my slightly tongue-in-cheek submission to Illustration Friday (subject: "Nourishment")

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

She's Back!

Hurray! The best music show on radio anywhere ever has returned! Sort of. Sometimes.

It used to be that on Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m here in New Orleans one could turn on the radio, tune in to WWOZ, and hear Blues with Lou, two hours of gritty old blues and R&B, the real stuff, no crap, all good, all the time. It was hosted by Louise, a British ex-pat who always sounded like she'd had way too many drinks and cigarettes the night before and was doing her absolute best just to prevent things from spiralling out of control. I liked the show so much, it played a role in the naming of our eldest daughter. Then, one day, she was gone.

Now she's back (again, sort of, sometimes - same time slot but not every week - I haven't quite figured it out yet). It's so good to hear her and those excellent, excellent records again.

For those of you flung far and wide across the country and around the globe, you can listen to it on the net. WWOZ, Wednesdays, 2-4 p.m., Central Standard Time, maybe.

Update: Apparently she's on every other week, so check in 2 weeks from yesterday.

People Pot Pie

Well, our Battle Royale has its ups and downs, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Let's recap:

Round 1:
Keanu Reeves vs. Carol Channing
Winner: Carol Channing

Round 2:
Carol Channing vs. Turkey Pot Pie
Winner: Turkey Pot Pie

Round 3:
Turkey Pot Pie vs. Gandalf
Winner: Turkey Pot Pie

Round 2 got rather heated. Trash was talked. Tricks were played. Then, let's face it, Round 3 kind of fizzled. I'm principally to blame. Gandalf clearly did not excite this crowd (I spend way to much time around geeks, so my sense of what's interesting is warped). But why should I choose the contenders? Down with patriarchy. Up with people. This blog is your blog.

So, I humbly suggest that you choose. Send an e-mail with your proposed contender to:

slimbolala@hotmail.com

And if your contender wins? Fame, glory, and boundless wealth shall be yours (or something like that). My only request is that you try to keep it sporting and make it a fair match (stay in the same "weight class", so to speak - so ringers such as "sex" and "a bijillion dollars" - or "sex on a bijillion dollars" - would be excluded). Beyond that, anything goes.

Let the games begin.

Update (and clarification):
Sorry. Apparently I don't explain things well because I'm dumb. The ideas is that you would propose a single contender (you would "sponsor" that contender, as it were). From the various submissions, I would then select one of them to challenge the existing champion in the current round (if yours is not chosen in the current round, it might show up in a later round). For example, if you proposed "rubber vomit" and I selected "rubber vomit" as the challenger for Round 4, then Round 4 would be Turkey Pot Pie vs. Rubber Vomit. If, for some godforsaken reason, "rubber vomit" won, then kudos to you, and "rubber vomit" would be the new champion. In Round 5, "rubber vomit" would be pitted against a new contender proposed by somebody else. Make sense? Certainly not. But that's the idea.

New Clothes for Dolly

Speaking of Pointless Ephemera, I found this between 2 records in an old stack of 78s (more on that later), and I'm posting it just because it makes me laugh (ooh, and it would make a good "Hello Dolly" link!).



My favorite is the one with the glasses and the Wonder-Woman-esque cape ensemble (click image for larger version). Also, how old are these dolls supposed to be? On the one hand they're decidedly girlish, but on the other hand they have "mature" figures. Ick!

And let's not neglect the flipside of the page:



"That special couple", indeed. Why don't I have an apron with a detachable pot holder (I also wouldn't say no to the second set with the nifty "fish appliques")? Sarah, can you look into this?

This also gives me an opportunity to mention my favorite new pointless website:

Threadbared.com

It's regular postings of old sewing patterns with catty commentary, and it's very funny.

Warning: Excessive exposure to old sewing patterns with catty commentary may turn you gay. Not that there's anything wrong with being gay... because there isn't... It was just a joke... Oh, nevermind.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To New Mexico

It once was asked, "what was the funny thing that happened on the way to New Mexico?" The answer is that there were actually several "funny" things that happened, if by "funny" one means, "bitterly miserable but happened a long time ago."

Sarah and I spent the summer between Sophomore and Junior years living in my home town of Charlottesville, VA. At the beginning of summer I bought an early '70s Volkswagen camper bus for $1000. It was remarkable. It drove like a school bus, and it still had all of the old camper equipment: the backseat that folded out into a bed, the little table, the sink, and the countless cabinets and cubbies. It was not perfect. It was rusting, and it broke down with some frequency, but I loved it.


My bus

And I had big plans for it. At the end of summer, I would take it on a giant road trip, from Charlottesville to Miami, dropping Sarah off at her parents, then up and over to New Orleans to see my grandparents and finally on to Santa Fe, NM (my first time out west) where I would be spending the fall semester.

Things didn't go precisely as planned.

Before departure:
We pack everything I own into the bus. Remarkably compact. Ship shape.

Charlottesville to Myrtle Beach:
We head south, smooth sailing.

Myrtle Beach:
Somehow we thought Myrtle Beach would be an interesting place to stop. It isn’t. We spend 3 hours fighting tourist traffic, looking for a campground with a vacancy. Finally we find one. We are briefly excited about our first night camping in the bus. Then, for unknown reasons, Sarah vomits all night.

Myrtle Beach to Miami:
We discover that the engine won't restart once stopped. Eventually it does start again, and I decide not to turn it off until we reach Miami. We refuel with the engine running in Jacksonville. We don't die.

Miami:
I spend a pleasant time in Miami hanging out with Sarah before my departure. The bus spends an expensive time at the shop having its starter replaced.

Alligator Alley:
The bus dies 60 miles west of Miami in the middle of the Everglades. I walk half a mile down the road to a ranger's station, and call Triple-A. The agent on the phone requests my street address. I explain that I cannot provide a street address since I am in the middle of a swamp. The representative continues to insist. Words are exchanged. Finally, I provide a fabricated address based on approximating the city block equivalent of 60 miles. I return to the bus and wait for the tow truck to arrive.

Miami (again):
The bus revisits the mechanic.

Miami to New Orleans:
The bus dies at random intervals restarting each time after a long wait.

New Orleans:
I visit my grandparents. They express doubt as to the wisdom of my endeavor. I express dismay at their doubt.

New Orleans to East Texas:
Westward, ho! I see my first dead armadillo east of Shreveport. I finally enter Texas and am surprised that it’s not brown. In the late afternoon my engine makes a severe gasp and dies. It restarts after a particularly long wait but makes alarming churning noises. I erratically putter to nearest campground and spend the night.

On to Tyler:
In the morning I slowly drive the short distance to Tyler, Rose Capital of America, and stop at the first mechanic I find. The bad news: half of the engine has melted. The good news: there’s a Volkswagen junkyard 2 miles away. I drive to the junkyard, the owner offers me $200 dollars for my bus, and I accept.

Downtown Tyler:
The new owner allows me use of my crippled vehicle for the remainder of the day. I drive into downtown Tyler to make the necessary arrangements where I learn that in addition to not selling booze, apparently nowhere in Tyler sells boxes. After much puttering I find several boxes soaked in trash juice in a dumpster. I deliver my packed belongings to the Greyhound station and buy a ticket. I return the bus to its new owner, bid it farewell, and catch a ride back to the station.

While waiting for the Greyhound, I try to call Sarah and tell her of my misfortune but receive a message saying all lines are busy.

Tyler to Dallas:
That evening I travel to Dallas in a much larger but substantially less charming bus.

Dallas:
I spend the night in the station, graciously declining offers of crack from local entrepreneurs. Security does not permit me to lie down on the bench even though there are hundreds of empty seats. I try Sarah several more times, each time with the same message: no available phone lines.

In the morning I finally reach Sarah and, with some relief, tell her of my misfortune. However, she informs me that Hurricane Andrew has just hit Miami, and, while she acknowledges my misfortune, the epic destruction surrounding her is of greater immediate concern. I acknowledge the epic destruction surrounding her, but point out that she and her family experienced no damage personally, and, while my crisis is certainly much smaller on an absolute scale, it is having a pronounced negative impact directly on me. Mutual lack of understanding ensues. Words are exchanged.

Dallas to El Paso:
I head on to El Paso. Now it's daytime and warm. The bus is crowded. As we travel west the bus gets progressively hotter, and it soon becomes apparent that the air conditioning is not working. Rude comments are made to the deodorant-free German tourists. People begin aggressively yelling at the bus driver. The atmosphere becomes mutinous. Finally the driver relents.

We stop in a tiny central Texas town and wait two hours in a shadeless parking lot for a new bus to arrive. People smoke profusely. A small, Australian socialist befriends me.


The socialist

The new bus arrives, and we board. Our relief to be in air-conditioning is quickly forgotten when we are struck by the overwhelming stench of human feces. The bathroom, we are informed, has not been pumped.


The poo-bus

The socialist sits next to me. He talks a lot. The roughnecks nearby don't seem to share his enthusiasm for Che Guevara. I get nervous. The poo-smell becomes unbearable. Finally the driver opens the vents up top which lets some of the smell and all of the air-conditioning out. The stench, the heat, and the socialist persist all the way to El Paso.

El Paso:
Nothing bad happens.

El Paso to Santa Fe:
The sun sets. The drive is beautiful. Nothing bad happens.

Santa Fe:
I am deposited at 2:00 a.m. in the parking lot of the (as I learn) closed Greyhound station in an unfamiliar neighborhood of an unfamiliar city. After wandering aimlessly I find a motel. In the morning I return to the station to retrieve my boxes which have arrived on the morning bus. A taxi delivers my crappy boxes and me to school.

So there you have it. A boy has dreams. The dreams are crushed. We laugh. The end.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Him, Her, and Her


Victor Olivier

Wet Dawg


Shake it like a wet dawg!

My contribution to Photo Friday, subject: "Action".

"Hang It On Something That Sways"

From the recent New York Times article on uber-fancy, high-concept cuisine in America:
"We could take that bacon strip and lay it on a plate, but it would be lifeless," Mr. Achatz said. "It would be dead. You hang it on something that sways and it becomes alive. It becomes interactive. It becomes sculpture."
Interactive bacon? Yeah, I got some interactive bacon right here if you know what I'm saying, haw, haw!

Sorry. They made me do it.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Devastating Lady

"A Beautiful Marble!"

"Is this a reuben [ruby] or a diamond or what?"

"It's a marble."

"A marble! A beautiful marble!" Pause. "What's a marble?"

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Channing Revealed!

Hilary is my new god. I bow down before her like a golden idol, and I like it. The mystery is solved. She has revealed herself as the true Carol Channing bizarro-blogger (so I now realize I completely misunderstood Billy). The fact that the aforementioned bizarro-blog is a product of artifice built solely for the purpose of a strange and confusing joke actually only makes me love it more. Allow me to savor the details:
  • The freakazoid profile pic.
  • The wacked-out "About Me" blurb.
  • Carol Channing plays baseball - depicted in yarn?!
  • The lengthy religious tracts (snagged from Thomas Paine, I'm informed) - so right, somehow.
  • The puzzling title.
  • "Marry the Mole", what the frick?!
  • The backdating of the the posts.
  • And my favorite detail, the deliciously odd "Hello Dolly" links, each hinting at a new horizon of bizarre delights.
Fantastique!

I'm really not sure anyone else finds this whole thing quite as funny as I do. Actually I have a vague sense that Hilary and I are like those kids in the corner of the lunchroom laughing until we snort milk out our noses while the rest of you flick green beans at us, but that's O.K. We can handle it.

Funny Cars


Victor Olivier

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Dad with Cigar


Victor Olivier

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Geek


Intructions:
  1. Place heavy white card stock in printer.
  2. Click on image for larger version.
  3. Right click on larger version and select "Print Picture...".
  4. Print.
  5. Cut out figure and base.
  6. Cut incisions along dotted lines.
  7. Insert figure into base.
  8. Place figure on top of computer monitor.
  9. Have imaginary discussions with figure, focusing on how nobody else truly understands you, how much you like his cool, Matrix-esque trenchcoat and glasses, the upcoming season of Stargate Atlantis, and how stupid those people are for voting for some dumb food product instead of the all-powerful Gandalf.
Enjoy!

Again, aspects of doodle-ology pseudo-copped from this lady.

Montrell and Louise

Thursday, May 05, 2005

F-e-l-l-a-t-i-o

From the St. Tammany Picayune:



There was further cause for alarm when, following her blunder, Richardson attempted to orally pleasure the microphone, resulting in minor injuries and and numerous freaked-out spelling bee enthusiasts.

Update: Also, "shock and awe" sounds familiar. Didn't we use egregious spelling mistakes to overwhelm Iraq in the early days of the war?

"Speedo" & Co.


At first I wasn't aware of connections between the individuals, but now I'm thinking that maybe they're part of and elite crime fighting unit or, perhaps, a top-secret counter-intelligence team ("Speedo": the hacker genius, Nick: able to get the gang out of tight spots with his old-timey wood working implements, Brit: mistress of disguise, etc.). I'm not sure what the others do. I'm guessing Eric is kind of like "Face" from the A-Team.

Doodle-ology pseudo-copped from this lady.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Mass Hysteria

I've recently been listening to snippets of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point on Radio For the Blind. They just completed a segment on mass hysteria, and that got me thinking about my one experience with the phenomenon.

When Sarah and I lived in Brooklyn we would make frequent Sunday treks into Chinatown for a dim sum brunch. The restaurant we went to (its name escapes me at the moment) was excellent and enormous. Upon entering off the street one would ride a golden escalator up two stories to an ornately decorated dining room the size of a football field that held at least a thousand diners. There guests were seated by hosts and hostesses with radios at one of dozens of large round tables, often with another group (I remember once having a conversation with a Chinese-American family from New Jersey who also regularly made the trek and being mildly stunned as their 4 year old daughter happily slurped up chickens' feet).

One Sunday we went with a friend from out of town. We were seated at table near the edge of the room. We had just completed our meal when a commotion occurred in the middle of the room. A woman quickly stood up covering her face with a handkerchief, yelled something, and began running towards the door. Others around her also started running. We watched in confusion as the wave of panic radiated out from the middle of the room towards us, and then we were running too, out an emergency exit, down three flights of stairs, along an underground tunnel, and then up and out onto the street.

We all stood around trying to understand what happened. We tried to talk to other customers, but no one near us spoke English. Soon, fire trucks arrived. The cooks on the second floor were leaning out the kitchen windows, laughing and talking, clearly unconcerned. Finally, we asked a fireman what had happened, and he said they hadn't found anything. Eventually we left. None of the customers that day paid. The restaurant certainly lost tens of thousands of dollars.

I have no idea what prompted that first woman to run. Perhaps there was some small, real event, or perhaps it was completely imagined, but it started a chain reaction in which the vast majority of people were responding solely to the responses of others. This chain continued until the entire room had evacuated, and most of us will never know why. I've never seen anything else like it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Cowboys and Indians


Victor Olivier

My grandfather was an avid (and talented) amateur photographer. I have boxes full of his old negatives, a remarkable trove. Some are quite beautiful. Others are just fascinating as a record of a different era. For a long time I haven't had access to a darkroom, and they've mostly just been sitting in storage. But now I've got a scanner and it's time to share.

The other night I began flipping through them. There are hundreds and hundreds, but I just pulled a couple which caught my eye. This is the first one (I plan to post more). It's a little blurry (I'm not sure if that's the scan or the original), but I love it. I think Tonto is my father. Dad, can you confirm?

Update: Yes, it is.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Pop It Like A Maple Tree

My recent favorite New Olreans bounce rap lyric heard while walking the dog:

"Shake it like a live oak! Shake it like a live oak! Shake it like a live oak! Shake it like a live oak!"