Archive for February, 2008

Testicle Justice

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

From the Jack dogblog, the title may not be appropriate on this, a family oriented website. However, it is not nearly as offensive as the widely proclaimed monologues featuring a prominent but often well disguised female body part.Here then is the second essay from our dog, Jack, on his survival trial in the great southwest. For those of you who do not recollect, his most recent entry ended as follows:

My next column will be about meeting, up close and personal, a large extended family of fire ants and how it made me re-think the judicial process. In the interim, consider sending some gourmet dog treats my way. I’ll forward my p.o. box number, privately, on request. JACK

 Sadly, I must report that my last column resulted in not a single offer for a dog treat. No milkbone, no jerked meat twisties from Ol’ Roy, no dried cheeto flavored porcine ears, nada. The level of my disappointment is palpable as it is evident that you, yes, you, don’t understand a major principle in the animal world: no treats, no essays.I recently left New Mexico with a painful memory. While in a junkyard looking at old cars I elected to urinate too close to a teddy bear cholla. From the Airstream Life Tour of America here is a fine example, (click on the purple underline) It took the bossman 30 minutes to remove all spines from my groin area, all the while under the spectre of this sign.dscn0354.JPGAt the time, death seemed the more pleasurable option. Remember, it was his bright idea to look at the 1953 Buick Roadmaster.Normally, I read and obey the signs posted. The following example, from a rest area in rural Missouri, illustrates how my favorite chew toy ( the gay snowman) and I have enough sense to stay away from a sewage treatment facility.dscn0332.JPGAt the moment, I am now spending the winter in my Patagonia, Az., home, a small adobe with a lovely fenced in back yard….a place where I can nap for hours, dream about chasing squirrels, and erase the memory of the New Mexico trauma. However, three weeks ago, while dozing in the arms of the mythical goddess Morpheus, the same tender groin area was assaulted by an army of fire ants.250px-fire_ants02.jpgStartled by the burning sensation in that area which I deem to be quite private, my first inclination after howling like that guy in the Edvard Meunch painting, was to begin licking the tender area. Savagely. Let me tell you that dozens of live ants, swallowed, are the equivalent of three tablespoons of chili powder. Now I was burning at both ends. Emergency help was needed but my dyslexic handler dialed 119 instead of 911. Moron.Ultimately a decision had to be made:(A) Have him spray my entire gorgeous jet black exterior with a can of that toxic slime in an aerosol, the stuff that advertises “it kills them daid”or,(B) Do nothing and let me suffer until the pain and misery subside.Hence, the title chosen expresses the gravity of the need for a fire ant landmark decision;

Woe vs. Raid

 Okay, groan if you like, but be reminded that this stuff is worth what you pay for it.

Jack

P.O. Box 542

Patagonia, Az 85624 

The French Patient

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Do you ever think of the skills you wished had learned, but did not ? Like becoming a ballroom dancer, the equal to Fred Astaire, gliding effortlessly across a public television stage, doing the paso doble, the envy of the untuxedoed crowd.

Or casually taking your place on a piano bench to dazzle an audience with a Mozart concerto, molto allegro, accompanied by a dozen strings (no ukeleles please).

Or lifting your nose slightly skyward, speaking French on a sidewalk cafe in Paris, quietly honking like a goose in heat whose 12 hour Afrin nasal spray had worn off last week.

Never the francophile, I do, however, like the language, the wine, the bread, and a really good hot dog slathered in frenchs_food_logo.jpgFrench’s mustard.And who can resist those boys on the bicycles, shrink-wrapped like sausages, more colorful than a box of crayolas, pointy helmeted, and perhaps steroid influenced, on a swift traverse of charming countryside in the Tour de France?752px-tourdefrance_2005_07_09.jpg

Frankly, though, I’ve never been comfortable speaking many actual French words, even though I know the meanings through crossword puzzles. Examples:

etui- a sewing case

ennui-boredom

segue- bridge or transition

milieu-surrounding

and the list goes on…raison d’etre, cirque d’soleil, menage a trois, pinot noir, louvre.

Oh sure, there are many french words we may all use daily without hesitation or equivocation, e.g., crochet, physique, quiche, plateau, parfait, boudoir,or in the case of our esteemed editor and his virtual fan club, the entourage.

The point is, I can’t really go into a nice restaurant and order wine by telling the 22 y/o waitperson, Jason or Brianna, yes, we’ll have a bottle of the Pine Not, No Ear with our lasagna. Define embarassment.

So much easier to say, ‘we’ll have a glass of the house wine’, ‘in red please’. Or what do you have in a Murr Low ?

Perhaps in June 2008 we will go to France, visit the Airstream Park featured in the magazine, follow the Tour de France in a rented class C, and maybe even visit with the acclaimed Bruno.

But for now the editor has admonished me because one of my uncomfortable words is not really French at all, but Italian. Oh well, we’ll cross the Golden Gate segue when we come to it.

Foreign Policy Rocks, but Egg Rolls

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Often during a domestic travel malaise, your stomach growls and you may find yourself deep in a foreign policy fantasy, i.e., what’s for dinner ?  Far more complex than ordering waffles, whipped cream and maple syrup at the International House of Pancakes, your thoughts turn to chinese.

Shrimp fried rice, not Condoleeza Rice.

The allure of an exquisite egg roll; steaming, slithery glass noodles, freshly chopped cabbage, mushrooms, bamboo, pork, embraced in a golden wrapper…. scorch worthy on the roof of your mouth.

Do you choose your oriental restaurant because of their catchy names ? Really, some marquees are too generic to generate tastebud eroticism; Panda Express, Great Wall, House of Hunan, China Moon, yada, yada.  Far from the tyranny of MSG and cornstarch, there must be a word in Szechwan that translates to ‘blah’.   200px-fortune_cookie.jpg +++ One of my favorites was in Tucson, Arizona.  The billboard featured three smiling, squatting, Buddha-like characters named wee, went, and wong.  The Wee Went Wong Chinese Diner.+++ In Los Angeles, a clever, enterprising Jewish fellow named his Chinese restaurant, The Genghis Cohen.  Only in Southern California nearly any combination is possible; where I have yet, however, to discover a vegetarian taxidermist. +++ If you are ever wind down in Anchorage, Alaska and have a taste for almond chicken and stir fried noodles, pay a visit to The Hard Wok Cafe.+++ In rural New Hampshire, apparently no one within the Loo family managed to enamor any member of the Win family, as they named their place…. The Win, Win, No Loos Cafe.Were I to lose control and open my own oriental eatery, I think I’d name it The Chin Rest. Better that than politically insensitive, The Kitchink Sink.That’s it for now.  Disillusioned, I read recently that the fortune cookie, the symbolic finish line of a delightful oriental dinner, is purely occidental, a creation of Western culture.  An enterprise here in the U.S.A., The Won Ton Company, makes millions of  thought provoking cookies daily, but a billion Chinese have never enjoyed even one.  Mine read, “Every exit is an entrance to a new experience”….Confucius or am I just confused ?Two others of note:   elephant_kissing.jpg ”Don’t kiss an elephant on the lips today” onion_lily.jpg ”Alas, the onion you are eating is someone else’s water lily”. 

In our next entry, no more wok and roll, we will skewer the French. 

About the Author

Retired 1997.
Frequent travel. Loyal companions: wife, Lynn; dog, Jack.
Avocation: writing social and political satire.
Past life: three decade clinical pharmacy owner. Now in recovery.
Location: Northern Indiana, Eastern U.P. of Michigan, Southern Arizona

No telephone;
E-mail cspiher@aol.com