Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Jupiter Gets A Boo-Boo
Friday, July 24, 2009
Facebook 'Fail Safe'
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Grits: It Just Ain't For Breakfast
*from my culinary "mostly true life" archives*
Though, if you're a cultural and culinary Yankee barbarian like me, then it's probably expected by my southern acquaintances.
For those who have no dietary experience with this southern staple, allow me to briefly sum up what grits are: it starts life as corn. White corn. If it isn't a hybrid corn, it gets that color realizing what it's being prepped for. Then it is either ground up or soaked in lye water. They used to make soap out of lye. It'll clean anything. Not that they leave the lye in the grits, in the case of soaking (used on hominy grits): after a couple of days, the hominy is rinsed until the lye is gone. At least, that's what they say.
While I didn't delve into the recipe end of grits, I'm sure there's no end to them, like uses for zucchini: plain grits, cream of grits, grits soup, grits tortillas, fried grits, baked grits, grilled grits (don't ask me how), grits as a side dish, grits as a main dish, biscuits and grits, cheesed grits, grits pie, grits bread, etc. Back in my formative days, I first heard Granny (The Beverly Hillbillies) make reference to "possum grits"; I thought she meant the last facial expression on a possum a half-second before a pickup truck turned one into a roadside buffet for crows.
Fortunately, I had limited exposure to grits in my formative years. But then came a day in the late 1980s, and I had an unexpected, a near life-altering experience with them. It was at a restaurant in a Ramada Inn, overlooking I-75, just west of Sweetwater, TN. I had ordered my customary artery-hardening breakfast without a careful examination of the menu's fine print. My rather stunning waitress brought -- along with eggs, bacon grease and toast -- a bowl of what looked like thick, gritty mashed 'taters. Being somewhat testosteronally distracted, I half-heartedly asked her about the 'extra'. She, in a seductively sweet southern accent that melted my attention span, told me that it was grits and was included with the order.
Now, there are many foods I hated in my youth that I came to appreciate later, like broccoli and asparagus, drowned in melted cheddar cheese. So -- and because my waitress was a babe with great eyes and other parts -- I decided to give it a try. With no thought other than to get her phone number and her father's permission to marry her, I took an ample spoonful of grits and shoveled them home.
*Whoa*... I'm not sure how a mind-numbing brain lock and full 90 degree eye-crossing are medically explained, but that's where I found myself the instant the grits hit my tongue. Every alarm bell in my sensory system went *Buzzer...Warning, Warning*, yet I was stuck: I feared to swallow, yet I couldn't spit it out (the retch-force of the pending salvo might have carried to and through I-75, causing a multi-vehicle accident). Turning blue, I never thought I'd see single images again. I was convinced I was going to die like this: with a mouthful of grits, and my tombstone would read Grits and Couldn't Bear It.
But I had to do something, before the ever-heavier lump on my tongue ate my brain like a Billy Bob Thornton movie.
And then it became even more imperative: the no-longer-future mother of my children was coming back. Realizing that something had to give to save a rapidly-fading chance at winning this stone babe's heart, I had no choice. I became a very temporary in-crisis Catholic, crossed myself...and swallowed.
There were no words to describe it in the dictionary. I checked later.
When she arrived, my threadbare composure was barely concealing the WWE-style gopher Texas cage match now taking place in my stomach:
"How were the grits, hon?" she purred.
"Uh..." was about all that came out, since I didn't want to follow up with something solid.
"Y'all jst ask if ya want more, sugah".
And as she walked away, she giggled. She knowd. Another danged fool Yankee bit the grits. I reckoned I could put the phone call to her father on permanent hold.
At any rate, I know some great folks from the South. I know them to have great charm, traditions and heritage. I know them to be proud, industrious, chivalrous and upstanding. And if they eat grits, I know them to be incredibly tough and durable.
As for me...I suspect I now know where Stephen King got his idea for the horror story, Children Of The Corn. 'Course, he's a Yankee, too. Far as southerners are concerned, 'nuff said.
Monday, July 20, 2009
*From my '06 fishing archives, and one I prolly shoulda left there...*
Personally, I don't see a resemblance to Simon Cowell here, do you? Not that I know if this specimen is a he or a she, but I digress.
Irony comes in many forms; sometimes, one has to look hard in life to note it. Other times...it's obvious one looked a little harder than was warranted.
I recently took my Ma fishing at a place called Flatiron Lake, W/SW of Loveland, CO. Small acreage reservoir, between two larger fishing lakes in the area. This one -- according to the CDW officer who stopped by and did that inevitable fishing license check -- stocked rainbow and cutbow trout, as well as suckers.
Not all of which were living in the water; at least one was assumed to be at the waters' edge.
I hadn't been fishing in a spell, but as we set up along a sparsely-populated shoreline, I had cause to feel confident: two fishermen were leaving with a stringer of decent sized trout (14-16"), and folks in the other direction were just landing a specimen.
"This will work", thunk me.
In life, sometimes a reputation follows one in whatever they do, and wherever they go. This is generally true of celebrities, but occasionally touches those of (much) lesser stature. Particularly in a cyber-connected world, as would shortly -- and unexpectedly -- be demonstrated.
While Ma caught two trout in relatively short order (one a 13" keeper, the other a 10" wannabe that was sent back to find a larger colleague), I sat there doing little more than drowning worms. A couple of insignificant nibbles, and little else.
Finally, though, I felt that had-to-be inevitable 'tug' on my line. Or at least I thought I did. Then again. And again. Not really like a fish toying with the bait before running with it; but enough to let me know that I had something doing out there.
So I patiently awaited one more, "got 'em" tug, and set the hook. And missed.
As I reeled in to check the bait, I noted that there was more resistance than there should be; perhaps I'd hooked the younger sibling of Ma's caught and released trout. Or some kind of bottom snag that I'd pulled free. Perhaps even a land shark, playing docile and attempting to pull a "candygram" on me.
When my hook cleared the water, I found it was none of the above. I had a hitchhiker; one clinging doggedly to what was left of my bait, with a "mine mine mine, it's MINE!" look on it's crustacean mug.
A 4" long crawdad.
Hefting it above the surface of the lake, I quickly noted that I didn't have the hitchhiker hooked: but for one claw, determinedly clinging to the worm remnants, this freshwater minature lobster was free to go, and was making no effort to. The dogged spirit demonstrated by the 'dad suggested it had something of a legal bent to its education (possession is nine-tenths of the law), if not a more practical grasp of the situation (a few ounces and two claws vs 6'2" and 235 lbs = to the victor goes the spoils).
When I reached and grabbed it from behind, it immediately assumed the pose depicted above. A natural defensive pose, I thought.
As I looked it over, while Ma resisted pointing and laughing at me -- barely -- the 'dad slowly lower its claws to a more passive pose. Then it suddenly raised them again. And lowered them again.
It was auditioning.
Somehow -- or so I surmised -- this freshwater crustacean had discovered my International Crustacean Obedience Training Institute web site*, and was auditioning.
So standing there, holding a wet crustacean in front of me while Ma sat there trying to convince others she didn't know me, I put the crustacean through an audition:
Me: "Stick 'em up!"
It: *raised it's claws like it was being held up*
Me: "At ease!"
It: *lowered it's claws*
It: *raised it's claws to signify same*
Me: "Penalty flag!"
It: *lowered it's claws to what passes for it's hips, and glared at me*
Me: "After review, the call on the field stands!"
It: *raises it's claws in jubilation*
Me: "Your fly is open!"
It: *lowered it's claws, looked down, and then gave me a "ha..you funny" look*
Me: "Weight of the world on your shoulders!"
It: *raised it's claws like Atlas holding up the world*
Me: "You've got CRAB LEGS..."
It: *lowered one claw, then extended the other and shook it in my face*
Me: "Asking to become bait for a tiger muskie in the next lake down the road here!"
It: *shrugged with a "just kidding" look*
Convinced I was dealing with a beyond-ordinary crustacean, I decided that this one had earned the right to live to see another audition, as well as a reference letter recommendation if it ever contacted the web site for a job. After all, Budweiser should be working on their Superbowl ads by now.
So I released my one and only catch of the day. Along with my website address for follow-up.
As it gratefully or grudgingly wandered back into the depths -- crawdads are generally pretty inscrutable -- it turned back toward me one last time, and gave me that one claw *act of defiance* gesture in parting.
Much as I wanted to respond in kind, I desisted. Besides, the folks on both sides of us had already begun to move further away.
I didn't want to incite a stampede.
* web site was disabled in '07, to the satisfaction of the Vaduz, Liechtenstein CoC...
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Words Are Mean Things
My latest email scam letter was a not merely a *TOING*er.
Read closely the following brief and very off-the-point scam with lowlighted passage:
FROM MARK & SISTER
ABIDJAN COTE D IVIORE
I am makr Kurubos from Ivory Coast. I lost my Father Mr. Kurubos kono a couple of months ago. My Father was a serving director of the Cocoa exporting abroad until his death . He was assassinated last january 09/01/2004 by the rebels following the political uprising. In result my sister and I find what comfort we can inside each other (scammer's words, my italicizing them).
Before his death my Father had a box deposited in a Security Company here in Cote d' Ivoire up to the tune of ($9.5M) is in the box, which was for the importation of cocoa processing machine. I want you to do me a favour to receive this box to a safe place in your country or any safer place as the beneficiary .MOREOVER I AM WILLING TO OFFER YOU 10% OF THE TOTAL SUM AS COMPENSATION WHEN THE BOX IS SUCCESSFUL DELIVERED TO YOUR COUNTRY. I have plans to do investment in your country, like real estate and industrial productions.This is my reason for writing to you.Please if you are willing to assist me indicate your interest in replying me soonest (!!!),
Mark & Sister
"In result my sister and I find what comfort we can inside each other"...*MONDO TOING*
My reply was all that you'd expect of my mean-spirited, conservative self:
Mark and Sister??? I have carefully read everything you said and the content is well understood, even if it gives me the heebie-jeebies. You "find what comfort we can inside each other"??? HELLO!?
That might fly in places like Arkansas, Berchtesgaden or in movies starring Billy Bob Bittydink, but here in Liechtenstein, you'd be spray-painted blaze pink, mounted backward on an emu, and marched forthwith into France, you sick, incestuous DOPPELBREEDER!
YOU SLEPT WITH YOUR SISTER? YOUR SISTER SLEPT WITH YOU? There ain't no friggin way I'LL DO BUSINESS WITH INBREEDERS!!!!!
But thanks ever so, for writing, and feel free to write again.
I think I embarrassed Mark & Sister; no reply, denial or explanation. I think they need a better "spin"witch doctor.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
What's My Line II
*Sometimes, they unexpectedly write back. Like this one. Enjoy the unplanned WML Part II, from Dec '06*
Santa's been rebuffed?
Mariam Abacha the XXIVth..or perhaps the XXVth...or whatever...didn't much care for the letter she got from Santa.
Not that she had much to say in reply; but it did cause ol' Claus to blow a loogie of 'nog out his nose and all over his 'puter when he read it:
ATTN: WHO YOU ARE
I AM NOT SO STOPID TO TAKE YOUR INSUTL YOU ARE NOT BEING FUNNY YOU THINK. STOP WASTING TIM WITH STOPID EMAIL LIKE THIS.
Rebuffed by a non-believer. Must be on the board of her local ACLU. You note (or at least I'm taking her typo as such) that she even referenced A Christmas Carol's Tiny Tim, insisting I...er...Santa "stop wasting Tim".
*Note to Head Elf: add another spell check program/box of HUA-cleaning Handi-wipes for the Nigeria run*
Despite Santa's exceptionally rigorous schedule at this time, Santa will not shirk his responsibilities in reply:
Madam Mariam Abotchedya XXV or whatever you are:
Dadgum it, woman, this reply is, I am sure, the result of you trying to wedge a size 2 petite thong on a size 40 'beyond full figured' bum. I've seed it afore at home, but I digress.
Sorry that, despite my usually efficient list compiling system, I can't say with certainty just which Mariam Abotchedya you are; I've heard from so many of you claiming to be Mariam Abotchedya. If you are not the XXV, kindly insert the proper numeric substitute, and stick it where it belongs, if there's any room left in the thong.
Madam, I am fauxhurt that you seem to denigrate my position and responsibilities this time of year. But you are no different than a segment of the population that spends this time of year in denial, or Svengali, Toogaloo, Timbucktoo or even desolate portions of New Mexico and North Dakota. While those who do know and believe see my work as encompassing one 31 hour timeframe, my job is really a 9 month preparation H, condensed.
Few are allowed to know what I am about to convey to you, Madam: this is, of course, proprietary information and highly confidential information (which I know you understand the concept of, having stressed the need for same in your initial email). I must ask that you not share what I'm about to tell you with one of my most unsavory competitors, Hugo Chavez, who runs Turds R Us.
This is Santa's calendar year to illustrate for you how unfunny I am being:
December 26-31: doing a post-Christmas supply inventory and facility clean-up/shut down
January 1-March 15: Santa's time off (and do I ever need it); elf and reindeer furlough (the elves hang out in either Munchkinland or working part-time at Keebler, if they're in hock to their eyeballs, and the reindeer...probably hang out and cross-breed with the caribou around the oil pipelines in Alaska)
March 16-31: begin planning for Christmas of that year (screw the Easter Bunny; I got loads of sh** to get done well after the Bunny's a runny Cadbury)
April 1-15: compile and submit budgets, trends and projections to the North Pole Comptroller (aka, the Missus)
April 16-30: Elf/reindeer draft; revising budgets, trends and projections after overnight deriding by comptroller (aka, the Missus)
May 1-15: Elf/reindeer mini-camp
May 16-31: Order supplies (based on amended budgets, trends and projections)
June 1-15: Elf/reindeer pre-season training
June 16-30: Production facilities start up, retooling and preparation
July 1-10: Pre-production "bye week"
July 10-31: Pre-production meeting with elves: toy trends, what's hot, what's not, and production targets
August 1: begin limited production (facility at 5 days/8 hours per status); initial meeting with Domestic Intelligence branch of US Homeland Security Department (hell, THEY'RE doin' so much listenin' and peekin' these days, why not let THEM do the work on who's been naughty or nice!).
September 1: Expand production based on aforementioned meeting (16 hours/7 days per week)
October 1: Reindeer pre-flight training (refreshers/updates)
October 31: Production to full status (24/7)
November 30: completion of reindeer flight certification (first through third teams)
December 1-20: Gift wrapping
File flight plans (in at least 180 languages, only one of which I'm fluent in; I can start a fight in a bar in Tijuana with my second language)
Final update with DHS on naughty/nice list
Global Meteorological updates
December 23: final prep (all phases)
December 24: shut down production by 0100 CUT*
final packing of sleigh (along with spares)
programming of travel coordinates in Rudolph's GPS
December 24: final 'nog toast with staff; launch by no later than 0400 CUT*
December 25: completion of gift delivery by 1100 CUT*
December 26-31: begin repeat of cycle
So you see, Ms "Undersized Thong In A Nasty Wedgie", I bust my ass for 9 and 1/2 months a year, to do what it is that I do. So tell me what is "Tim wasting" with this, hmmm? What do you find "funny" about this, hmmm?
There's still time for an apology and gift upgrade, though you're gonna get the spell check program regardless, you grammatically-challenged trollope; it's obvious you need it.
St. S. Claus Kringle, pHd
As you might have guessed, Mariam Abacha XXVth (or whatever) did not follow up; perhaps she decided she needs the spell check program and Handi-wipes, after all.
* Coordinated Universal Time
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
What's My Line?
*Yeah, I know...it ain't remotely Christmas time. But this archival fav is worthy of a reprise now, especially since work's tryin' to kill me at present...so enjoy this 'un from '06*
Will the "real" Mariam Abacha please stand up?
Over the years of my receiving these email scams, I have heard from "Mariam Abacha" perhaps 25 times. Always a different one, I reckon. On one rather amusing occasion, I heard from two competeing "Mariam Abachas" at the same time, and had quite an email catfight going for about a week, as I sought to have "the real Mariam Abacha please authenticate". Both ultimately got mad, picked up their marbles, and went a scamming elsewhere.
So what should be new that I hear from yet another Mariam Abacha this week?
What's new is, Mariam gets to hear from Santa Claus. Well, at least my version of 'em:
It has come to my attention that you have sent to me, by way of Wish-'n-Elves-Hear.net, a wish for fiscal succor this upcoming Christmas season. Or at the very least, for your finding a fiscal sucker this upcoming holiday.
Well, I am many things, including grotesquely overweight and quite annoyed with the 24/365 playing of "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" in the workshop, but this is the time of year I live for, and letters like your are what I thrive upon. Along with pooploads of chocolate brownies, that is. After all, I listen to all good wishes of all good boys and girls around the globe, and do all that is in my infinitely-finite power to deliver upon those wishes to good boys and girls, non-believers and anti-air defenses aside.
But after a time, that gets a tad repetitive and boring. So getting wish letters from those who've been checked twice or thrice, and wound up on a secondary list of those with "good tendencies absent or atrophied", injects a bit of challenge into my otherwise normal routine that leads up to my annual "journey of dispensery".
The "great moment" I allude to is spending 31 hours in a climate-vulnerable open sleigh, flying in all kinds of weather with eight pissed-off reindeer, who have no qualms about pelting me with their discharges, while I defy all sorts of basic laws of science and Nature as regards time, distance, space and credibility. All the time also having to adhere to a myriad of flight restrictions and hazards, just to make all those "good" boys and girls happy, and to annoy those who bridle at the notion of differences between "good" and "bad", among other things they find offensive.
As I read your email, I recognize that yours is a "special" request, indicative of the need for "special" handling and processing. Therefore, I have put your wish before my "Special Circumstances Committee" for peculiar and expedient attention. Bear in mind that despite their expedience, none of these kind, compassionate folks EVER carry a wallet to pick. I just wanted to mention that.
Ho-ho-ho (get the pun?)!
If you have anything to add on your behalf that will aid them in their decision-making process, please feel free to advise me in a follow-up email, and I will see to it that you get prompt and expedient attention worthy of your request. Rudolph in particular has become quite adept at pin-point delivery of discharges on specific targets, and I am sensing that he has added you to his very tight little list of pin-point deliveries with his especially gnarly discharges.
In short, if you weren't full of it aforehand, you soon will be.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Incarceration!
St. S. Claus Kringle, pHd
Wishologist and Global Delivery Services, UnInc.
Whichever Mariam Abacha version this one is, she seems as awe-struck to hear from "the" Santa Claus, as her contemporaries have thus far.
Maybe she's just securing her chimney access; Rudolph might prove as accurate as he says.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
A Boy Named Christa?
But have you wondered what this particular Santa might be like, in July?
Well, in the case of this particular Santa...he gets worse:
He knows when you are sleeping
He knows when you're awake,
He knows if you're a boy named Sue
or Christa, for bullsh**'s sake...
While most of my scammers are from Africa and the UK, I do get some Russian bride scammers from Russia. But straight-forward scammers from the Russian Republics are a bit on the rare side for me. So when I got this one from -- allegedly -- the Ukraine, I decided to take a different tact with it. Especially when the writer spelled his country "the Ukruine". He never identifies himself by name; he only goes by "CEO Petroch".
My pet rock, Seymour, got a kick out of that.
Once again (this is apparently the fad "scam of the moment", repeatedly refraining like a bad re-run on cable) he is "remembering my name in the file as the next of kin" and "I am remebering to send you this becuase of my vow in regards this transaction even though your help with the fund transfer fail somehow".
I could have told the crotch cricket that it failed because I ain't the dupe he tried to use the first time. But I digress.
He adds that I must contact his secretary, one Christa Koku (at an email address that didn't work long). The secretary Petroch referred to thrice as "he", will then send me my $950,000 prior services fee. Once, that is, I stupidly fall for their fourth-rate scam from a Third World country.
First I note that "Christa Koku" hardly sounds Ukurinian or whatever it's supposed to be. But then I come back to the more obvious: a boy named Christa? I shoulda just remembered Gender Sensitivity 101 and let it go. Paid it no mind. Like a fart on the wind, just ignore it or blame that idiot White House press secretary.
But nooooooooooooooooo....I just couldn't let it go at that. So I decided to use the 'hot line' I have to the North Pole (named thus, since everything is melting up there this time of year), and see if Santa -- the one I use on this blog -- was in. I mean, how busy can he be this time of year?
Sadly for him, the Missus went and fetched him to the phone. After filling a suddenly very sullen Santa in on the details, he muttered something usually only the reindeer might hear if the wind is as right as their aim during an Xmas Eve journey across a night sky devoid of rest stops. But after hearing the name of the scammer, Santa's ornery streak perked right up, and this is the email that went out to Petroch's man secretary, Christa:
Ho ho ho! Merrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry....Christa! That's..I say that's a joke son, but I digress.
Mr. CEO Petroch, you really had MY NAME -- Santa Claus -- in your file as next of kin? Ho ho hooha! And you are THE CEO of Petroch? Really? I have a pet rock; his name is Seymour! Seymour will be so impressed to know that I have heard from the CEO of a company named for him!
But and again, I digress.
Now, to the business you wish to give me, and to your inspiringly-named secretary, Christa ca-ca-poo: gents or whatever fits, I with exceptional and insincere regret must inform you that this is my vacation season, and I simply cannot make the time necessary for you to give me the business. Had you come along with this offer between January and March, it wouldn't have mattered; with the elves on furlough and the reindeer playing "Who's Your Bucky?" and "Boink The Pillsbury DoeGals" in Alaska, I woulda had some time for you to try to play me like a marlin off the Bahamas.
Granted, I look more like a manatee, but that's just another digression slipping in hyar.
I nonetheless thank you for thinking of me at this, supposed-to-be-my-down-time that I use to prepare mentally for the coming festive season that so many good boys and girls look eagerly to. But perhaps it'll prove an early gift-giving time for you and your gender-confused secretary Christa (Christa, that's a girl's name, son; whatever were your parents thinking in an age of readily-accessible contraception devices? Oh well...guess you're just a Christa what had one of them addadicktoyou operations, eh?).
Rest assured that, a few months from now, as I'm winging my way around the globe covered in reindeer dung* and pee-pee on the eve of Christmas (not to be confused with your self-gratifying secretary), I won't forget you: I have for you a spell checking program, since I don't think the Ukraine appreciates being considered the biggest urinal west of the Urals. I mean, they haven't renamed the mountain range the Urinals on any new maps I've received in the gift catalogs. And for you, CEO Petroch, I will include a case of Handi-wipes, useful to wipe your face off during those rare moments you pull your head out of your ass. As for your Boy Christa, perhaps I'll provide you with a case of Vaseline, so you can put your head up CEO's ass when there's a vacancy. The term in the West is, I believe, "brown-nosing", which is sometime career enhancing. In your case, probably so. The Vaseline will help with the passage of your ears during insertion, and it beats what you probably were using heretofore: the lube already situated up there.
I reckon it smells better, too.
I just want you two to know one other thing: all of us hear at North Pole.com took and vote and decided you two are really perverted.
Ho ho ho (and that probably does suggest something of yo' mamas),
St. S. Claus Kringle
I wonder how Johnny Cash woulda handled this 'un? Worse....what can I expect from Santa six months from now?
Don't answer that...