Sunday, December 31, 2023

Mozart Hippopotamus nominates Ten Finger Farmer 3000

 You know what, I don't have any better idea than you do. Here's to ya:

All of you, my darlings, will never truly know how important you have been to me this past year.  You've been wonderful!  Even if you prefer to lurk (HI SOPHIE!) I know you're out there, because I've embedded a Txl4 virus in the 'reply' box    because I can hear you giggling behind my shower curtain   I forgot where I was going with this.  But thank you for stopping by nonetheless. I appreciate each one of you and the things you have to say.  Reading your blogs is a bright spot in my day, even if I don't always comment. I'm just as freaked out by the Tx14 comment virus as you are   Some days the clams won't let me   

Did I keep my last New Years resolution?  Yes. I resolved to read The Classics, and I did. A good many of them, in fact. My takeaway is this:  

1. Thomas Hardy is a little over-represented.  

2. A lot of ancient Greeks and Romans are only famous because nobody thought to use certain scrolls as toilet paper. 

This year's resolution?  I'm thinking I would like to have a side hustle. A little something that brings in cash.  This will take some creative thinking, but that's what resolutions are all about - masochism  hiding from the robot airships  broadening one's horizons.  I mean at the very least.  So here's to me putting this out there!

Gratuitous drag king-age    

  And here's to you! Here's me hoping you all have an astounding 2024, you wonderful people!  My wish is that the light you shine comes back to you tenfold and the good you do comes back ten times more.  Here's to you all, heroes every one!


Thursday, December 28, 2023

Just The Facts

The facts are these:

The Biker and I (note the specific language here) had an absolutely LOVELY HOLIDAY!  We did!  And Boxing Day was wonderful too!  We hung out and drank eggnog and treated ourselves to some thoroughly decadent meals.  Him and I, kids, had a great holiday. We did.

It's the rest of the family that needs to be stuffed into a sack.  

To sum up:  We should have thought to turn our phones off.  

Fortunately, there was plenty of eggnog.


I do not have a hat head.  I don't. Not a regular hat head anyway.  I put a hat on, most hats, it begins slipping and tipping and grabbing my hair and it falls off. Most hats make me look like an egg-shaped lunatic.

Ah, but give me a hat with a brim and suddenly I am a star.  I'm not bragging, just stating the facts. 

For years now my go to has been the Flat Cap. Not to be confused with the eight-paneled Newsie - that's the one the Peaky Blinders wore:  

      Not this one. No no no no no. Looks like a cowflop.  


 THIS one. Yes yes yes yes yes!       

The Flat Cap and I were made for each other. Flat Caps - Tweed, Linen & Wax (

Anyway, I had one that I loved, and that I had paid a fair amount of money for years ago, because life is too short to go around wearing sad, cheap hats. That hat was perfectly tailored.  Flat sides, angled back, a relaxed straight shot to the brim, no snap, no buttons or tags or pompoms.  Glorious in every respect.

 That lovely hat got lost in the flood. I was so bummed.  

But guess what the Biker brought in from our storage place today? That's right! My hat!  And I am so happy!  I am wearing it right now!  (note from the future: I wore it for the rest of the day and forgot I had it on.)

I've been wearing a flat cap for...longer than I care to admit, now that I stop to do the math. Never mind how long. I looked damn good in my yoooth; I look better now, it can be argued, since my grey hair has come in very wiry and full, like a Karl Marx effect, less the beard. I look like a savage jazz aficionado with strong Communist leanings. 


Because we already have everything, for the last fifteen years or so we've been buying ourselves a 'house' gift for Christmas. You get to a certain age and you're just all gifted out. That and we've done a lot of buying low and selling high over the years, and once a lot of things have crossed your table, 'things' stop being special.

That is why we have a brand-new carpet cleaner under the tree this year.

Now if this had been a gift to me, from the Biker I'd still be pissed off.

      "The fuck you think I am, the help? Giving me this utilitarian bullshit for Christmas. No, you fucked up, you can't take it back now, it's done, I see what you think of me, it's fine, I'll just clean the Goddamn carpets now because I'm apparently the maid" and so on. 

But if we discuss this shit and agree on it together, it's absolutely fine. Not only that, it makes for an astounding Christmas.  Bring on the industrial lathe. Wheel in the riding lawnmower. How about a new chain hoist, a car, a stainless-steel prep table for the kitchen...absolutely no romance whatsoever, no surprise, no wrapping paper, no bow, no illusion of scarcity or uniqueness, just an invoice - and it's fantastic!  I mean it. You get to gloat and congratulate one another on your combined practicality, and you get an amazing, cozy feeling of togetherness and accomplishment just knowing that this stuff is going to make your life together more comfortable and efficient. 

Plus we have lots of recreationals and rockin' chow.   

It's open house up to New Years Eve here! Stop on by! You drink, you can smoke, you can snort off the top of the toilet tank if it suits ya. You can plink squirrels, you can visit the ancestral land of my people, you can play your music loud and dance how you want to dance. Hell, there's a brand-new carpet cleaner for you to admire too!

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Change of Heart

 I had a less than edifying post up about my current circumstances and I thought 'why bum people out?' so I took it down. Instead, here is a picture of a bunny.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

A-Rudolph the arf arf arf arf! Was a very arfy arf!

 The church I went to as a kid was an architectural marvel in it's day. No, it really was.  Take a look:

St. Johns Catholic Church, Milwaukie, Oregon. The tall swoopy-uppy thing is the church proper. Underneath that tall swoopy-uppy thing is the huge, huge sanctuary. The ceiling really does go all the way up into that spire.       

To give you some faint idea of how huge this place is inside

People used to come in from all over Oregon to attend mass here just to say they had, it was that famous. Infamous, really, as every older person still able to piss dust hated it with every atom of their being.  I thought it was cool as heck and I still do.  It looks like it was built by Klingons.  I say boring baroque decor might be good enough for other Catholics. We in Milwaukie were Swanky Catholics and very modern indeed. Qapla!!

As hard to love as this interior is, my very favorite Christmas memory took place there.  It was a High mass, and I was about seven years old, and the pomp and circumstance had just about worn me out.  Suddenly all the lights went out. No warning. It was completely silent. At first people gasped. After a few moments more, they'd begin to shift and whisper.  And then the candle above the tabernacle was lit, one tiny little point of light shining in the middle of this immense church.  Then the priest began to sing 'Silent Night', and hesitantly the congregation began to join him. He took a taper and lit it from the tabernacle candle, and he went around and lit all the candles on the altar. The sacristans took the light from him then, and went around the whole sanctuary, to all the votives and all the devotionals and lit them.  At the end of the song he simply said "Christ is born."

It's my favorite Christmas memory. And it's of Christmas - not fake Happy Holidays Christmas, where people get in fistfights over Playstations and send 34,000 cards and dash around to visit people they don't like. I left fake Christmas behind and I am better for it. 

I am probably the only American who hates the Christmas Classic 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer'. I hate the song, and I hate the holiday T.V. special. I do.

For some reason my dad was really taken by the song, but he'd just go around and yodel the words "Rudolph the red nosed reindeer!  Had a very shiny nose!" at random. Starting two months leading up to Christmas. And he'd change the words. "a-Rudolph the Red-Nosed Hoosegoooooow!  Had a ve - hry shiny schnooooo!" And he thought this was utterly hilarious, particularly when my mother got sick of hearing it fifteen times a day and began to yell. Then he'd just do it more. "Rudolph the woof woof a-reindeer!  He had a very shiny nose you know!"  

Now this may sound like fond holiday hijinks, but honestly by the week leading up to Christmas mom and I were ready to shoot the guy. It was demented. He'd answer the phone like this. He'd chase me around the house singing this.  I hid in our basement once, iot got so dumb, and I could hear him prowling around upstairs looking for me going "Rudolph the Goose nose a-honk honk! Had a very goosey goose! Are ya here?  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Red Nose! Was a very rainy day! Are ya here?"

"SHADDUP!" My mom would shout. 

That was the sound of the holidays at my house until my mom took the record off the player one day and broke it over her knee. My dad howled like she'd bit him. Honestly, he's lucky she didn't.

Now as for the T.V. special, let's just say it's a matter of taste. If you like this, you have no taste.

"OK OK so this is a good one, Rudolph. Guy walks into a theatrical agents office. 'So you wanna work in Vaudeville, huh? the agent asks. What kind of act ya got?'  OK OK now, and the guy goes 'Well, first my wife comes out and pulls a sweet potato straight out of her..."

Stop-motion animation has always given me the heebie jeebies. Clearly those things are dolls. Am I supposed to believe they're magic dolls that move and sing?  What weird reality is this? And why does it suck? 

I can trace my dislike of this saccharine offering to the vocal talents of Burl Ives. Burl Ives ruins everything. (Wow, I am desecrating all the holiday traditions, huh?  Look at me go.) I think the UK term for his sound is 'treacly'. Yes. Burl Ives was treacly.  Now he is dead.

So I began this post with a very gentle Christmas reminisce, and now here I am at the end and I've nearly written down the text of the dirtiest joke in the world (The Aristocrats) and it wasn't on purpose; I'm just writing down this and that.  I think I better leave it at this, OK?

Merry Christmas to all!


Sunday, December 17, 2023

All is Revealed



I know two culinary secrets. Just two. That I can remember. At the moment.

Secret one - the thing about teriyaki sauce and Mexican food.

...oh! I should explain. That mystery flavor that you just can't seem to duplicate at home?  It's teriyaki sauce. When you order that sizzling fajitas platter, that's what you're tasting in the meat marinade, as well as in most of the beef dishes. Yup. Teriyaki sauce. 



I am sorry to tell you this but that thing is not Photoshop.  It is a liver pate en gelatine with a glaze of buttermilk...stuff. Sorry.            

I wondered:  Why are there so many Jello salads and congealed salads and aspics and shit in vintage cookbooks?  Why was I chosen to live in the 1960s when that stuff was everywhere?  Why, God? 

My answer, after much research:  Because of Auguste Escoffier, The King of Chefs and the Chef of Kings.   

His star turn was fancy aspics, gelees, molds and terrines. His cookbook is full of the things. They were arguably the signature dishes at his ultra fashionable restaurant, The Savoy, which was the combined Alinea/ French Laundry of its day, the top destination for innovative fine dining, the place you went to see the rich and famous eat frogs' legs and pretend to like them.

It must have seemed like the absolute last word in trendy dining, having those glimmering, colorful  dishes land on your table, so novel, so special;  so unlike the utilitarian slop you ate at home. 

Jellies and aspics began appearing on tables all over America as soon as that first Escoffier cookbook landed in the stores back in 1903. The reason for its huge popularity here in the U.S.? It was novel as ol' Billy Heck - and it was pretty. How fancy!  How refined!  What a lovely conceit!  Pretty food...not just well presented, but turned into a heap of jewels! 



 Look at how pretty this is!  This is a terrine en croute and it's held together with neutral gelatine and sheer good looks. Nothing about it says 'Ordinarily we'd throw out hard boiled eggs this old'!         

Back in 1903, America was still struggling to be seen as a place just as cultured as the Old World. What could possibly be more sophisticated than serving such pretty food in your home? Why you must be very very wealthy indeed. Who ever heard of such a notion; I swannee.

 Jellies and aspics on the family table meant you were daring and debonaire and had quite refined tastes indeed. You had travelled, you had tasted, and by God you were sophisticated as fuck. Meanwhile Katy is in the kitchen boiling the crap out of bones that she'd been saving out of the week's meals. 



 That was then. By the time I came along, Jello molds were entering a new era of glamour, and were now being pushed as a low-calorie food. Suddenly it was the magic solution! Go to any buffet and see women loading up their plates like Mt. Fujiama with whatever Jello atrocity was on offer, no matter how much cheese, sugar or cream was in the thing, and listen to those women swear by all that was holy that every item on their plate was low-cal.  Just bear with me here. 

Jello came in vibrant colors and sugary fruit flavors. Most home cooks came from a background of c-grades, limited choices and necessity food, like parsnips and oatmeal and probably gravel and chunks of bark and shit.  I remember horrible Jello salads filled with pineapple and celery, suspended in a ruby red mound of cherry-flavored Jello, people, and being told by my mother "You just concentrate on the Jello. The other stuff will just slip down." 

This is real, people. This was a thing people ate.  

Jello was not only a magical calorie-canceller, it had also become a way to camouflage the food your family refused to eat. 

I mean, I get the idea; it's Jello! Jello is fun! Jello tastes like candy! So what if there's kohlrabi in that Lime flavored Jello salad? Just concentrate on the Jello and let the rest slip down!

Here's the punchline.  Escoffier glammed up the common terrine (which later morphed into the Jello Mold Salad) with truffles, vegetables cut into fancy shapes and garnishes as a way to get rid of ends, peelings, scrapings and stuff about to go by in his restaurant kitchen.  Yup. Grind it up, add some pungent seasonings and some aspic; then send it out onto the floor to wild acclaim. Well, with a sauce too; come on. He wasn't a total barbarian. But there  he was doing the same thing as the ladies in the late 1960's were doing - hiding everything you didn't want to eat under a coating of jiggly, glistening legerdemain.  His genius shines through in that he charged people dearly to eat this stuff and laughed all the way to the bank. Your aunt just thinks you're stupid.* 


OK then! Now you know why your great aunt keeps bringing that raspberry Jello with peas and parsnips thing to your family get togethers. The old dear thinks it's classy. 

You've got four things you can do when you find yourself in this situation: 

1. Tell her 'It's just too pretty to eat!' and use it as a centerpiece  

2. Niggle out a serving that's all Raspberry Jello and hide your efforts by shooting a fuck-ton of Kool Whip on it 

3. Open the door and sling it outside like a Frisbee 

4. Put her in a home


*Hell, they'll never notice the squash and onions under a coating of Orange flavored Jello!"

** Anyone in the UK recognize these people?  I give you:  My Evil Aunt – Many have one, I have two!

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Your First Fun FirstNations Fact!

 That last post got me thinking. I worked as a maid for years, and I worked my way up from the hot-sheet places to The Hilton, and finally into private home situations where all I did all day was listen to the lady of the house reminisce. One nice lady who lived in Golden Gardens used to make me Swedish Krumkakke! THEY PAID ME TO EAT KRUMKAKKE!!

Out of all those different places over all those years, the place where I ran into the most creeps was the one I wrote about when last we met - The RoseVilla in Portland, Oregon. 

-YES yes I know I called it the City Center in my last post. I was wrong. The City Center was on the other side of the river and was all kinds of skanky. The Rose Villa was plush.  It also had the worst customers by far.  And hey, look at you, you lucky thing! Here comes another sleazy tale from the Rose Villa!

One fine day I was going down the line cleaning the poolside suites. Now for those of you who have never been a chambermaid/bellman, your opening 'maid service' gambit goes like this:

1. Knock in a sharp, no-nonsense way. This is best accomplished with the knuckle of your pointer finger, and I have the arthritis to prove it. RAPRAPRAPRAP.

2. Announce 'Maid Service!' in a cheerful yet businesslike tone of voice. Make sure people in other rooms can hear you. Not kidding. 

3. Listen at the door. Don't flatten your face up against it, just bend near. Keep that shit classy.

4. Knock again. RAPRAPRAPRAP.  Say 'Maid Service!' in a cheerful yet businesslike tone of voice again. Make sure people in other rooms can hear you again. Listen at the door again.

5. Count to ten

6. If you hear nothing, open the door a smidge and announce 'Maid Service!' in the same cheerful yet businesslike tone of voice that is also loud, and enter s l o w l y.  

7. Cautiously draw your gun make sure nobody is in that room - not in the closets, in the shower, under the sink, in the cabinets; not in the bed, not suspended from the ceiling in a leather harness like Dabney Coleman. NOBODY shouldn't be in that room that didn't say there were going to be in that room, which makes enough sense for now.

8. Leave the exterior door open behind you at all times. This latter was a rule specific to the RoseVilla Hotel*. 

9. Commence cleaning the room. Top to bottom, back to front.

On this particular morning I made it as far as #7.

 The instant I turned the bathroom doorknob I heard someone inside. I said "Excuse me!" and stepped away fast.

 It doesn't pay to be too careful when you are a woman working alone in a room, and our policy at the Rose Villa was very clear: whenever something iffy happened, you immediately went to the office in person to report it.* I was halfway across the lot when I heard a shout behind me. I turned and looked. 

There on the sidewalk outside stood a naked, red-haired man shouting in a squeaky tone of voice and waving something over his head. I could not make out what he was saying, but I could tell that what he was waving overhead was a pair of red swimming trunks. 

Let's revisit that image just so we get it firmly fixed in our imaginations, shall we? He had blazing red hair, was blazing red naked, was out on the sidewalk in front of his room; and was waving his bathing suit over his head.  And shouting. 

I ran into the office like wild dingo doggies were after me. "There's a naked guy on the sidewalk out there," I said to the desk clerk. 

The desk clerk looked out the window. "I don't see anybody."

I explained the whole thing.

"I didn't see him," the desk clerk maintained. 

"Oh!  You caught me you sassy lil' peckerhead!  I just ran into the office on company time to lie to you!" I didn't say. 

Just then the phone rang, and the desk clerk answered it. I could hear a high-pitched voice ranting down the line, while Desk Clerk kept up a steady stream of 'I'm so sorry' and 'Oh my.' 

"That was the man in room 220," he said. "He said you...were in there."  And he said this was an odd little lilt in his voice. 

"I was," I said. "Briefly. I told you -"

"Well he just were in there."  The desk clerk sat there like a watery mole and blinked at me. 

"I was. I just said. I knocked, and -"

"He said you made him an...offer," said the clerk.  "I mean...he's checked in as Reverend Paterson, so I tend to believe, I mean..." and this utter waste of skin had the nerve to give me this little moue of disapproval. "I mean after all, you're a maid."

I was to find out that Reverend Naked not only complained about me 'propositioning' him, he complained about his room not having been done that day (it was, later, by a bellman.) 

He stayed for a week. By the end of that week we were all refusing to do his room.  He ended up being stuffed into a squad car because he'd gotten drunk and disorderly - and handsy - in our lounge. The cops took him down to Burnside** and kicked him out, which was common practice in those palmy days of carefree police harassment.  We never heard from him again - and we still had his luggage.

 Now that I think back I wonder if the owner had been pouring tales into the desk clerks' ear, or if he just hired the guy on the 'water seeks it's own level' plan. As for the Rev?  If it weren't for nuts there wouldn't be a hotel trade.  

There's no decent ending to this one. -well, I left for greener pastures, yeah. That's good. 


Your Fun FirstNations Fact:  This is the second time in my life that I've been chased by a naked man waving a swimsuit over his head! 


       There is no picture of a man waving a swimsuit overhead, so here is a picture of a Guy Fieri swimsuit instead. You are welcome. 


*Specific to this place because a. Just the year before a maid had nearly been raped in one of the rooms b. The place was in the center of town c. A lot of our customers were part of a test study being done using DMSO as a carrier agent for psychiatric drugs - so yeah, lots of good reasons. 

**Burnside was the scabrous Skid Row of Portland. Now the entirety of Portland is the scabrous Skid Row of Portland. It's a damned shame too. 

Aw Cheer Up Bunky:  Best Kitsch Theme Hotels in California (& the Rest of the US) (

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Remembrances of Membrances Remem Berance Ded


The Biker was flicking through some alt cinema this evening when he came upon a movie documentary about Nude Cleaners. This unleashed a torrent of memories from my early days, and once I sat down and sorted through those memories, I thought to myself 'Self, you have had a weird life.'

Back when I was a but a First City-State* I worked for a small yet locally prestigious motel-hotel which hosted researchers, specialists and other shit like that from all over the world who came to teach at the local medical school up the hill. Our parking lot would be full of Rolls Royces, our rooms full of self-important pro-social psychopaths, and the restaurant and lounge filled to stinkin' with big brains involved with Medical Research, and therefore Not Obligated To Flush Toilets.  And this was fine with me. They didn't tip, but they left me lots of high-quality pharmaceuticals. And cocaine!  Did I mention the cocaine? There was cocaine.   Oh gracious it was good stuff too.  One fat line and I finished those rooms with wings on and the best darn attitude in the whole wide world!

In the Portland of that time there was a semi-legendary person known in Hospitality circles for living in the exclusive West Hills area and being super kinky. This person was said to be a surgeon in residence up at the medical school.  Was he married? Was he single?  Was he gay or straight? Did he even live in Portland?  Nobody knew. Word was, though,  he had a place up in Healy Heights, and he hired Fetish Maids. 

Well, Fetish maid. One at a time. You would arrive at his place to find an outfit, whatever that might consist of, put it on (or not) and then clean the whole place top to bottom. If you did a good job, you got called back. Otherwise, you found an envelope full of bills on your way out with a note that said, I guess, either 'Take a Hike,' or 'Come Back on Wednesday.' He supposedly watched you on CCTV from some secret location and jacked off or ate live baby mice or whatever freaky people do. 

This guy was not a legend, come to find out. 

My boss at the City Center was one of those old school jackasses who thought that the women who worked for him should also suck his dick. I did not agree. So this fuckweasel passed my information on to Fetish Dude.  And I got contacted. 

Fetish Dude called me at  home. He sounded like a friendly and educated person. He asked me if I took private contracts. He was very professional.

At that point in my life I had never been so scared. This freaky person was calling me up out of nowhere and assuming I was the type of person who did shit like that.  I wasn't!  Maybe I should have been. I would have made a stack of cash.  Too late now.

I got three phonecalls from this person, and all three times I was non-committal. Fetish guy was evidently no idiot, because I never got another call. 

It was when I noticed that fuckweasel boss was astounded that I kept on coming in to clean rooms that I put two and two together.

And so ends another thrilling take of yesteryear!  Would you have taken Fetish Dude's money?  Have you ever been a professional Erotic Maid/Butler? Do tell!   Share your stories of Chastity Assailed and Virtue Triumphant! unless you don't have any stories like that. Then tell us of your slide into SIN, won't you?


* That was a geography joke, y'all. It is as funny as you'd expect a geography joke to be too.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Importance of Being Self-Published


I am in full agreement with M. Arcati.  Vintage cookbooks are The Shiznizzle. I too collect them, although I'm far too short on room to be accumulating any more books. Well screw room I say.  I love cookbooks. I've gone through my Popular phase, my Serious Classics phase, my OO that's one I don't have phase, and now I am in my Nutjob phase.*  

The Nutjobs make up a whole niche category of cookbooks written by folks on the margins of sanity, society, and good taste. This category exploded in the 1960s, as you might imagine. My very favorite one is

  Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices, Volume I, by George Leonard Herter.

George Herter was the Baron Munchausen of the cookbook world. If it had not been for self-publishing, this book would never have seen the light of day.  I mean oh holy shit, people, this dude was not just eccentric, and he was not just quirky. 

   He was flaming batshit crazy.

 Bull Cook is best described as a fantasy novel about cooking, fictitious shellfish, The Sheer Gall Of Those Italians Thinking They Own The Tomato, and immanent nuclear war. It is also incredibly, incredibly readable, and I mean this sincerely. He has a very engaging style, and frankly you just can't wait to see what kind of weirdness he's going to come up with next, which helps move things along too.  In fact, do you like to get high and read?  Bull Cook is the exact book you want to be reading. 

I believe this guy really cared about food, and that he must have bothered chefs the wide world over chasing down recipes and techniques. Problem is, you cannot trust any of it. He tells us, for example, to use ANTHACITE FREAKIN COAL in our barbecues. Not charcoal. Never charcoal. Charcoal is dangerous. So yeah, you might be tempted to try this or that, but proceed only after long and careful thought. 

The rule when reading ol' George is:  George Lies A Lot. He perceives the lack of a fact?  He just yanks a 'fact' straight out of his ass.  I get the feeling that he was the kind of man in life that would just say whatever fell out of his mouth and leave you to deal with it. Kind of like L. Ron Hubbard, or Mr. Natural.

There is another argument; that Mr. Herter was just doing the 'wink wink nod nod', engaging in the Manly Art of Bullshit. Sure, it could be so. He might very well have been aiming for that 'hanging out in the duck blind telling dirty jokes, cigar-and-bourbon' kind of tone you'd see in the beer advertising of the day. The guy ran a wildly successful sporting goods operation after all. He marketed to men. Maybe I just don't get it because I wasn't hanging out in the right duck blinds.  

Except for the fact that   he was flaming batshit crazy.

Let's take a quick riffle through the pages of Bull Cook, shall we?

  We are given three paragraphs on How To Make A Peanut Butter Sandwich, and are left with a kitchen in flames and the lingering taste of pickles. 

Another recipe purports to be for something called Beer Coffee, but meanders through Belgian flax exportation, words originating from the French, and how shitty the food is in the Shannon Airport.  

Then we come to the recipe for FRESH WATER OYSTER STEW.  He boils the snot out of these mythical creatures, and then goes on to spend six and a half pages of How Shitty Seattle Seafood Restaurants Are. I don't think he was ever in Seattle. I think he was on another planet entirely smoking crack with Elvis.

 He tells us about the French Pea-Eating Craze of 1696 (?) and how Anthony Van Leeuwenhoek came to invent the dish Fish Anthony, which calls for canned peas and Campbells Cream of Mushroom Soup. 

He makes Coquilles St. Jacques out of empty clamshells and boiled fish, and claims this recipe was invented by St. Jacques himself. 

He speaks of how Ghengis Khan introduced caviar to an unsuspecting Russia. 

I'm sitting here now with the book open at my side and I'm still finding myself drawn off task. I have spent way too much time reading, fact checking, looking up articles and marveling at this man's special brand of lunacy. This is a compelling read, there's no doubt about it. I have said "Oh my God no" so many times the Biker is worried. And yet I'll put the book down and go to type; and a passage will leap up and go for my throat, like 'Salmon Queen Astrid of Belgium' which is made of canned salmon, and "If the Bourbon Street crowd go into a bar and look up from their drinks and do not see, among other things, a couple of well-formed breasts flopping about, the drink doesn't taste just right and they move to another bar."

 I love this book. Pray for me.


Because you suddenly feel a whole-body longing to read the prose of George L. Herter:  The Paris Review - Furious George - The Paris Review  

(You must be checked in, and you can only borrow for an hour at a time) Another George Herter Classic, free to read! George, the housewife : and how to diet and never be hungry : Herter, George Leonard, 1911-1994 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Holy crap you don't have an account at Internet Archive? WHAT ARE YOU THINKING??!? They've got every cookbook in the world on this bitch!!! Internet Archive: Digital Library of Free & Borrowable Books, Movies, Music & Wayback Machine

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Let's Give a Big Hand To Negative Nancy!!

We have had, let's say, some difficulties (FAMILY) lately and we've been dealing with that, which by no means excuses my absence, though it sure saps the will to write Charming Vignettes. Things are improving though, so here I am, and there you are.

Thanksgiving was great! Another culinary triumph thanks to The Biker.  (FAMILY) behaved. Good thing too. (FAMILY) might have gotten an Atomic Swirlie had that not been the case.

And nobody wants an atomic swirlie.       


 It's the oddest thing, but as I get older, the more I miss the 1970's.

Thing is, I hated the Seventies when I was in the Seventies. New furniture was photo finish over chipboard. Granny squares rained down like fallout.  Nobody needed a Bicentennial Toilet, Couch or Bedroom Set, but Sears sold them. Disco existed. People wore denim jumpsuits. Then there was Nixon, 'Nam, and the Chevrolet Citation. 

Yet here I am now, and here comes someone driving by in a Pinto, and I'll get this warm fuzzy and think 'Aw, that's nice.'

And I'm wrong!



OK holy shit this whole THING just came to mind. It's one of my pet rants. ____________________________


YOU KNOW          

Dear God what a piece of garbage the Pinto was. The marketing campaign was garbage. The design was garbage. The engine and drive train were garbage. No, those were worse than garbage. They were proof that there Is No God and that large corporations don't give a shit if you die in flames.

 I'll drag you out of this car and kick the shit out of yWHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN'T FIND MEXICO DAVE  

 Looking into the engine compartment of a Pinto was appalling. Everything under there, from the thing that held the battery in place to the plastic tape covering the wiring was noticeably, glaringly cheap. 

Driving a Pinto felt cheap, too.

As soon as you started the engine the thing filled with the smell, and the sound, of plastic. As the thing warmed up the smell got stronger and more little plastic voices joined the choir, rattling, buzzing, boinking, ticking. The plastic window cranks would go 'ddddddddddddddddddddddd' unless you jammed a twisted-up napkin in there. The plastic door locks would tweedle themselves up off their pegs until the plastic threads wore out. Then they'd just split and fall off.

Stone stock and trashy as the day it was made. Just looking at this pisses me off.     

Go ahead. Adjust the timing. Change the plugs. Won't matter. The whole car juddered in time with with the engine stroke, just like a tractor. The windows thrummed.  The mirrors jiggled. You could sit there waiting for a light and watch the screws that held on the window trim ka-deedling out of their holes. 

Put your foot all the way into a Pinto and all that would happen is a mild increase in speed, which is not the shit you want when you are driving in Seattle traffic. Or any traffic. Luckily this meant you wouldn't be doing any high-speed braking because the brakes were...class? class?  


The brakes were garbage.

The engines were atrocious. All the components were made using with the shittiest materials Ford could get away with. This was known as 'reducing weight for better fuel economy' and Ford did it because 'lower prices mean more people can afford Today's Ford.' And just think - once Todays Pinto burned your parents to death and you inherited, it would be a lot easier for you to buy Tomorrows Ford.  Circle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii


I have brought this subject up in the past and I always get people who pop up with I/my dad/my mom/my whoever owned a Pinto and it was super groovy,  God how I miss that car, I wish I still had it, I had my first date/cardiac event/Yankee Candle party in that Pinto - or my very favorite of all time, the proof that someone is really using those critical thinking skills, the statement that covers all sins:  "They were great little cars for the time.


THEY WEREN'T.       


*  Why The Ford Pinto Was One Of The Worst Cars Of All Time (

                          The Pinto Memo: ‘It’s Cheaper to let them Burn!’ | The Spokesman-Review

                          The Ford Pinto - The American Museum of Tort Law (

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Several Quaint Vignettes etc. El Apartmento

Important break for sexy logger chicks:

If there is one thing the Biker loves, it's gore. Naturally, today's modern media is his playground.  Yet imagine my surprise when I found him watching episodes of 'Botched' from nine years ago!  This is generally not his jam. If it's medical, he'd prefer they show up on the autopsy table.  

Well, I took me a look.  "Aha," I thought after a few scenes. "He's watching this for glimpses of bare titty.  Good Lord. Straight men."

Then I took a second look. 

"Holy crap," I thought, doing more than my share of mental heavy lifting this particular evening "These are some familiar faces...?"

So I went online, and between my spotty memory and IMDB I was able to identify several aged 'third shepherd from the left' actors from the Seventies, a future Ru-girl, and a whole lotta potential for an excellent drinking game. From misused medical terms to poor special effects, from bad stage management to 'Didn't I see you playing Judith Lights' sisters' chauffeur on an episode of Columbo?" this show has it all, including more bad wigs than you can shake a can of Aqua Net at. There is scar tissue. There are bad body doubles. There are doctors who cannot tell the difference between a vagina and a hole in the

- yes well.


Since I am never going to have the chance to travel to all the places I want to go (everywhere, including the past) I love to go on Google Maps > street view and virtually roam.

One of the things I've realized doing this is just how fucking huge America really is.   

Another thing I've realized is how much of an accomplishment it was to cross all that bullshit in a covered wagon.  Both my grandparents (and their families) did that. Oh, and one uncle who was a Civil War deserter who fucking walked here.

Interesting story: they tried to conscript my uncle Karl right off the boat from Germany; and he said kthnxNO and booked it over the purple mountains' majesty and across the fruited plains. The dude went from New Orleans to Milwaukie Oregon afoot, folks. 2517 miles. Speaking no the English.  

My grandmother hid him out in an outbuilding when he arrived in the middle of Winter, and then in the Spring he went up the mountain and worked in the woods. You didn't have to know English to work in the woods. You just had to survive, and he sure in the fuck knew how to do that.  He survived knife fights, bare-knuckle bouts, strike breakers and rail bosses.  An old-growth cedar took him out. 

Not him. 


I was virtually visiting a tiny-tiny little place in the middle of my home state when I happened across a cemetery in the literal middle of nowhere. No town, no nothing. Not even a road that goes there any more. Just a collection of stones marking the graves of the few people who had settled and died on that land.  Those stones are as perfect as they day they were carved. No vandals have touched them. 1842 to 1902. A single family and their two servants. 

Dickens was still alive. Poe was still alive. Victoria BC was a clearing in the woods when these people were building their house and opening land to cultivate out along the Columbia River. They came from Germany to a place that no books of the day described truthfully. They had no idea of what to expect and plenty of opportunity for even their most conservative expectations to be crushed. They arrived to find country where the land is all horizon, where the wind is almost ceaseless, where no grass grows, where no trees relieve the view.

You think about the dreams those people had and the huge, huge distance that they travelled.  Maybe they were leaving something worse, and maybe here they found a place that might have, for a few years, made them happy.  You're glad they can't see that it all came to nothing.

They were killed by Indians.    


Wednesday, November 1, 2023

How Many elipses does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, pop?


Mr. PNW says 'Get enough food to eat, and eat it.'

Last month sucked with a capital SUCK. I am happy to see October in the rearview.  Yes, it was Halloween last night, but meh. As usual we got no Trick or Treaters, which is fine, because The Biker bought M&M's just in case, and this morning I had el mucho peanut M&M's at hand, and peanut M&M's are precisely what I dined upon for breakfast this fine November first. 

It was time the Universe smiled on me a little.   



I love sandwiches. They are portable, they are a handy size and shape, and they are tasty.  You can hold sandwich in one hand and a gun, or a cup of coffee, or a shovel, in the other, and fulfill your nutritional needs while you shoot to kill/get caffeinated/bludgeon someone with a shovel.  

I taught myself how to cook when I was very young. The first 'recipes' I invented were for sandwiches, and I had a million of 'em. I invented...

1965's Cotto Salami Flap Sandwich which is a couple of pieces of the sleaziest Cotto Salami you can find, put on one slice of the sleaziest white bread you can find, flapped over and then stuffed into the breast pocket of your bibs. Make three - one for each pocket!* and share with Bill Beizer and his sister Ellen way up a big tree.   Then yell for help until someone comes and gets you all down out of the big tree.) 

...1970's Huge Bacon Lettuce and Tomato (one sliced fat, drippy, home-grown tomato, six or more crispy slices of bacon, shredded iceburg lettuce, and a mayonnaise that includes olive oil, parmesan cheese, chili flakes, red wine vinegar and oregano, on sourdough.  SO yum.)

...1977's Cashew Chicken Salad Sandwich ( chicken salad made with chopped cashews, a little onion, a sprinkle of garlic powder, thin cut celery and celery leaves, an oil and red wine vinegar dressing brought together with a bare dab of mayonnaise and mixed with some cubed chicken breast, then 'blap' on a wad of alfalfa sprouts that are laying on some homemade French bread; which kicks ass.)  

            I used to keep a food diary, so that's how I remember the dates, before anybody asks. 

I literally cannot remember my own phone number, but I remember sitting up a huge dogwood tree in 1965 with Bill and Ellen Beiser eating Cotto Salami Flap Sandwiches and then realizing we had clumb* up too far into the branches, and panicking.

_____________________________ know what I'll just leave this here.   

When I saw the New Orleans Muffaleta Sandwich on TV some years back, I said to myself  'Self, that looks absolutely delicious. This needs to happen.' and I did that thing, and it was awesome.  An excellent sandwich in all respects.

(This recipe for a Gin-You-Wine Muffaletta Poe-Boy *squaaaak NEVERMORE *  is as good as any out there. Please hit 'jump to recipe' right quick though, or suffer through paragraphs of yadda yadda and ads, because this page is balls deep in monitization.) 

Ah, but it was the olive salad constituent that captured my heart.  That is some delicious shit.

The first thing I did was cut out the giardiniera because life is too short to be eating pickled cauliflower.  That may not be in the giardiniera available to you in Parts Foreign, but that's all we get out here.  Mezzetta Brand Giardiniera.  They put cauliflower in it, and honestly? fuck that. Gawd. Yak. Ew. 

So it was that I was forced to invent my own olive salad that is one million times of the Universe plus Saturn of deliciouser more better than the shit with cauliflower in it.

Now olives can run a little musky and same-o same-o as a flavor. 

That would not do.  I wanted a ROCKIN' olive salad. Therefore I created...

    Not A Tapanade but Also Not Strictly An Olive Salad    

                                    This will, as always, take longer to read than to do.  

==An equal amount of pitted Kalamata olives, pitted Castelvetrano olives, pimento-stuffed Manzanilla olives, and pitted plain black olives. 

How much is an equal amount? Try eyeballing the mass and get back to me. I will ignore you. Prepare for that.  This is to your own taste and need for olive salad in your life. 

Chop these olives until the individual pieces are >(    )< that size. Next, put into a mixing bowl. Not a huge one, just a regular one. Come on use some common sense here.

    ==Whole sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil - again, this shit varies. And these tend pretty sweet, so be advised. I'd say take one sun dried tomato out and chop it into hair- thin strips, and repeat those actions until you have about 1/6 the mass of the olives in finely chopped sun dried tomatoes.  Got that did? Put into the bowl. 

    ==Raw Garlic, a heaping teaspoon.  Peel cloves and then put through a press.  Sweat the pulp  in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes. Cool, then add to mixing bowl, oil and all.  

    ==Scallions (AKA green onions, spring onions) Add as many as you feel lead by the Lord. Chop very fine and add raw to the mixing bowl. You could use plain white minced Bermuda Onions here, but scallions will taste better and look better.

== 1 lemons' worth of zested lemon peel. Any size lemon. Go for it. 

See this thing?  Use this thing. Or use a plain grater, or just a vegetable peeler.  

==1/2 tsp. pulverized anchovy, the kind you squeeze out of a toothpaste tube. You know the stuff. YES ADD IT.

==I hesitate to put this here, but I use it.  It takes knowledge of the kind of pepper you use.  One red, sweet pepper, roasted, seeded, peeled and chopped fine. Into the mixing bowl. 

   Taste taste  taste taste !! Red sweet peppers can be very sweet indeed!  They can also be very complex and wonderful. I have no idea what kind of red pepper you have available or what kind of flavor it has. I am presuming sweet, with a distinct flavor of freshly ground black pepper.  You go by what you like, or skip this entirely.    

==Salt, Pepper - to taste. In we go.

    ==Additional olive oil, to taste and to influence spreadability. I like Napoleon Spanish Olive Oil because it's peppery.  You could instead use ghee. Do not cheap out and use margarine or any other commonly used cooking oil (vegetable, rapeseed, corn, peanut, soybean, cottonseed no no no no.)

==SECRET INGREDIENT:  Now this is going to take some tasting and a lot of care and discretion. The ingredient is

    Citric Acid    

And the measurement is 'enough to coat a damp teaspoon' to begin with. Use very, very little indeed.

This is the first ingredient I've come across that offers such a huge, immediate difference to flavors - and then stays stable. There is no window of oxidization or number or hours to marinate. Let's say you've made a Bolognaise sauce and it tastes muddy because you might have overcooked that pup. The very barest amount of Citric Acid - a mere dusting!- added to your saucepan of muddy Bolognaise will separate all the flavors and bring them to the forefront vividly. Similarly olive salad!  A bare trace of citric acid will bring the flavor of each ingredient to the forefront, and the added trace of sourness will augment the whole.

                        *Watches tracers form on passing hand.  Does this for 45 minutes.* 

So you get the drift, then. Add just a cunthair bit of Citric Acid, stir, and the taste. 

Keep doing this until you suddenly begin to taste everything separately. It could happen with that first damp teaspoon!  Or it might take a tiny bit more. Once everything springs to life, stop right there. Do not add another bit. You are done.  

---Now all you do is stir all these ingredients very thoroughly together. You want the juices to mingle. Stand there and stir until your feet begin to hurt.  Maybe call a friend you haven't heard from in awhile and catch up. Meanwhile you're stirring, and the olives and stuff are making a 'glick slish glick glick gaslosh' sound as you stir, right? and your buddy will think you're getting a blow job! Choice!

==Put in sealed container and store in refrigerator. Use as a sandwich spread, although don't let me dictate your culinary limits. It's fantastic in an omelette, or on pasta, or just out of the jar. Also in Pork Roulade with a lot of rosemary. Or on a white pizza. Or in a tagine!!! 


This Olive Salad is meant, however, to be great on a Muffaletta Sandwich.
Do I make an authentic New Orleans Muffaletta Sandwich?  I do not. I doubt that even the originators of the Muffaletta Sandwich still make an authentic Muffaletta Sandwich anymore. Nobody wrote that shit down back when, and everybody who ever ate an original one is dead now.  

Maybe I'm doing you a huge favor by not having that original recipe at hand. 

Here's a sandwich it's good on.  It has muffaletta-ish ingredients, but then again maybe it doesn't. 

The Oregon Sandwich
 "Tastes like liberal politics and aggressive waterfowl!
                                                                    "We're here!  
                                                                       Craft beer!  
                                            Something something rhymes with 'eer!"     

==One dense white bread-type sandwich roll with a thick crust - split, and some of the fluff taken out of both pieces to form a bit of an indentation.  Chunk the fluff out the back door for the birds, or stand there and eat it like a kid. I do.

==Cold cuts:  Mortadella, gypsy salami, and capicola

==Cheese:  Provelone and Swiss

==The olive salad I just gave you the recipe for

---Slap a nice thick layer of olive salad on the top and bottom bun. Stack cold cuts and cheese on top. Any amount, either bun or both. 

---Stack sandwich back together, and be neat. Make sure that things are spread out equally.  It's important, because of the next step.

---Place whole sandwich in a container, and put a weight on top of the sandwich. Yes. Seriously. Don't squish it as hard as you can, and don't step on it. Put a brick, or a cast iron skillet, inside a stout Glad bag and rest that on your nicely stacked sandwich, and let it all sit in the refrigerator for six hours and get flattened down. 
Yes I do this. 
Yes it is worth it.

Make this sandwich in the morning and then in the afternoon, take it out and eat that sapsucker.  Weighting it makes it taste better in an indefinable way - far better than if you just put the sandwich together and then chowed down on the spot. And don't get me wrong; that's an excellent sandwich, but the pressed version is a MORE EXCELLENT SANDWICH.***

*Only works with Carhart bibs. 

** Clumb is, as you may have guessed, is the past tense of 'clumbed.'

***I remember a show called Two Fat Ladies, a cooking program from the UK. The premise was, two fat ladies - imagine it -  cooking stuff. One of the things they prepared was a Shooter's Sandwich. The Shooters' Sandwich is also a pressed sandwich, and it too is better for having been pressed all day and chilled. 


It is one of the Sandwich Mysteries.

Monday, October 30, 2023


 Well that dream died quickly.

Turns out we don't qualify. At all. And never will, because of finances.


Saturday, October 28, 2023

Flip a coin like a responsible adult and blame chance

 Where have I been?  



...just being all semi-clad  running up a hill, y'all.  


Good news!  We qualify for subsidized housing! What that means is two things:  1. We, being all old and shit, can save lots of money on our rent, and most importantly,  2. this means that we don't have to up stakes three years down the road and move to motherfucking Kentucky when the Biker retires.

The Biker has been trying to talk me into the Kentucky idea for decades now.  It all began when we were doing a lot of motorcycle touring, and he began looking up places that are well-known for having beautiful motorways.  He found one in Kentucky and that sealed the deal for him. We would move to Kentucky and I don't know, just motorcycle around looking at poverty or something.

Because Kentucky is not a place where most people have a lot of money. You won't find a lot of liberal politics there either. What you will find is hundreds of dying little towns scattered throughout the mountains, remote as fuck, (only accessible by presumably beautiful motorcycling roads) inhabited by the seventy-year-old results of generational incest, captive workforce politics, and fundamentalist religion. 

-folks, it's not a stereotype because it never happens that way. Have relatives in Kentucky? It's a beautiful place?  How dare I?  


 Beginning mere hours after the Biker made his Kentucky Pronouncement, I've done all kinds of research on this region, going on Google Maps street view, accessing blogs, comments, really diving deep, doing this for years,'s depressing.  No, it's more than depressing. It's GRIM.

But hey!  We qualify for subsidized housing! 



We can stay here, in Bellingham, where the elderly generally don't sit out next to the road gumming corn cobs (depending on what part of town you're in.) We have a chance to live out our lives in one of the few parts of America that won't be seriously affected by the results of global warming, that has good medical care nearby, that is liberal, and where I am settled the fuck in dammit.

Lengthy Rant Follows.

Now it's just a process of applying, waiting, re-applying, waiting, being on absolute minute-perfect time to appointments, having the paperwork lost, applying, being on time for appointments, being interviewed, having the paperwork lost, talking to five different people who do not talk to one another or check their computers and have no idea what's going on, 


re-applying, talking to people, talking to more people, waiting, being told we don't qualify, being told we do qualify, being told there are no units, telling people that we are already living in a qualified unit and have owner pre-approval, being told that they'll have to speak to a supervisor and then disappearing without a trace, waiting, re-applying, 


being told our paperwork is incomplete, being told that we don't meet certain criteria by someone who has no idea what they're talking about, and most of all, being pleasant, clean, well-spoken but not too well spoken, 


using our nicest manners, not maintaining eye contact for too long,being clean clean clean but not too well dressed, heaven forfend you be too well-dressed, 


Madame you are entirely too picturesque. Begone!  

being absolutely polite and above all deferential, and being told your paperwork has been lost. And showing up on pinpoint-perfect time for interviews.

Oh!  And they want every last detail of your finances too. From you. In person.


...because this shit happens fifteen times a day and they're READY for it!!!   

Of course, being a government agency, they can look that shit up online using our Social Security numbers - and this is absolutely true - but that's waaaaaay too much work.

They want you to do that for them, by bringing in paper documentations and filling out yet more forms. Which ends up making more work for them. Which they in turn resent you for the more often you show up. Because government agency.

Luckily I have past experience with this kind of shit.  Still, thoughts and prayers folks.  

  ...because I am way less tolerant than I used to be.