Monthly Archives: August 2008

To Awl Me Read-ies

     Just this once, , I’ll deviate from my customary benign laissez faire policy, to pose a question and maybe propose an exciting small experiment..
One hundred and twenty or so xangans are subscribed to me and I’d dearly love to know into which of the following categories they fall
Read my posts regularly, and having all ten toes,  fear not to leave their “Footprints” in my sandbox. They comment when the spirit moves them. Yippie

B) Same as above except never comment. Fine by me, actually. At least I know you’re alive. Whew..

C) Read from ‘Read my subs’ and enjoy the posts enough to stay subscribed, but for some reason don’t feel like letting me know about it. Also A-ok

D) Skip my posts routinely in their subs digest, but either don’t know how to de-subscribe or have a personal style which doesn’t stress tidiness and economy. A word to the wise(?)

E) Individuals who for some odd reason don’t share my obsession with xanga and on-line sharing of wit and wisdom, and have therefore not checked into their sites since 1843. You people will obviously not be reading this, but fear not,  I have you covered.

F) fellow humans who have OMG,! gone on to their reward, and no one  bothered to inform me. Sorry I missed your funeral. You’ll doubtless skip mine too…

OK, the beauty of this straightforward categorization is that we can now put tags on the players. Thusly:
Groups A) and B) I know  who you are, and bleed profusely.:)

Group C, the ‘timid’ if you will, are graciously invited to load my page once, say, in the next week. That’s all I ask. I’ll know you’re alive and be joyed/overjoyed/ something to that effect.
Group D), the negligees, are here instructed to go to “Edit my Subscriptions, find my name, and click ‘Delete’. Simple, CYA
Group E), if you’re reading this, I’ll assume you’ve seen the light. Please put yourself in a category of your choosing, and welcome back, kids.
And finally:
My sincere condolences to any Subs who’ve ‘ceased to be’. There but for Fortune go I. Oops, here I go… Thanks you for your time.. Yonatan Solberg/ Kadima, Israel

Note: Obviously, all I’m looking for here is word that some dormant subs are like, “Not Dead”. A proof of the opposite case is beyond my means.

Below:  RUNNING COUNTER OF XANGANS PROVEN TO BE ALIVE!! Yippie (No special need to comment, 21

And a final note: Ok, victory for all parties! The ‘dead’ walk, the lame hear. Otherwise put, lots of ‘quiet subs’ checked in, praise the lord. (And only a true narcissist would ignore (or pretend not to care about who his reader-base was. It’s called editorial responsibility, duh. I post mainly for the enjoyment of my dear readers, hope you don’t mind…    

And here’s why I won’t get ‘Featured’ twice:

   Yes, I forgot to mention that Don Juan was also with us, him with the gimp leg, although I suspect his stride problem is psycho-semantic, or even apocryphal.

    We’d gotten off at Knightsbridge there by Hyde Park, and walked the few blocks in the drizzle hanging over Brompton Road looking for the forthrightly-named ‘Reject China Shop in South Kensington”. Timmy would have just settled for the “Ourglass ®” brand they hawk on the corner…you know, ‘Inexpensive, not Cheap’ but Esther wouldn’t have it.  They’ve been married, let’s see, since January, sharing her mum’s flat, and oh, “Isn’t it time we started drinking out of our own cups?” was likely what prompted Timmy to ring me up that morning. Being on holiday, I could oblige my old chum: “this time.” I mentioned, hoping to convey with tact as to how I wasn’t too keen on daily, or even fortnightly fork-finding forays. And to rivet the point I added, “..the Juan-ster, I’ll drag him along if you don’t mind?.”
“He’ll behave himself
?” Timmy asked skeptically.
“Not a chance.” I told him, truthfully.
     Don Juan had a habit of getting down on one knee whenever he saw an attractive (or striking, in this case) woman, as if to plead for her favors. This quirk could add precious minutes, hours, to an excursion which should have been a jaunt in the park. Borderline Tourette’s Syndrome, to be generous, he blurred the distinction between fact and fiction, theatre and reality, inside and outside. The Haldol™ had made him feel ‘lifeless’, in his words, and I remember joking back “ opposed to ‘life-like’, huh Don?”. Me and Juan go way back. I can’t say he was ever ‘right‘, whatever that means. Once, years ago, when we’d just moved to the flat in Hertfordshire, he’d commented on the way I was doing something, fixing a screen-door I think. I told him “This is just how it’s bloody done, and that’s why we Americans are playing golf on the Moon, if you need to know.” I saw him pick up on that, quietly, and to my suprise, a few days ago, quite out of the blue, he tic-ed a while and suddenly blurted out  “playing golf on the moon”  and in my perfect yankee accent.Such is Juan, but still, you think twice before dressing him up and taking him out. We did have a private code, which worked, off and on. I’d say, as to a poodle, ‘Tread, Juan!” and he’d know that he might just have crossed  some social line in the sand-box.
    And that line appeared quickly enough on Brompton Road. I spotted her from two blocks away. A tall gaunt woman, dressed in a screaming purple pants-suit intended most likely to be worn by or for the blind. And thrown over the shoulders was  an abysmally-clashing scarf/table-cloth/ whoknows what, an accoutrement which garishly bore the colours of the Italian flag. I had only a second to wonder what might be going through her head when Juan too, saw her. Esther caught the worried look in my eyes, but bit her lip stoically. As we closed in on the target I saw the vestiges of a name tag hanging off her bodice, where the purple met the fleshtones; “Hi, I’m G… something” I didn’t want to peer too closely. Juan, on the other hand, dropped to his knees directly in her path on the sidewalk. Timmy’s demonstrative side-wise move to allow her to pass by went un-used,and by that point Juan was ‘kissing the flag’; the shawl, whatever it was, and ‘G’, his flame, was busily cursing him, re-cursing, and having exhausted her private stock, repeating her scathing insults in full ‘lather-rinse,repeat‘ mode. I managed to single-handedly defuse the incident by pulling Juan up onto his feet first, then gently turning him to face the street. Timmy took it in stride; I had, in fact given him due warning.
Grabbing Juan by the shoulders, I whispered,”SO ME, TIM, ESTHER, AND… OMG! LADY SWEARING AT US? CAN YOU TREAD,DON?”
Don Juan gave me his golf-on-the-moon look, I knew it by now, and effortlessly countered:
Gotta love that guy.

Pssst, She’s more than meets the eye, luckily

(That title didn’t come out right..)

     But hey,everyone who’s anyone knows that elgan writes beautifully, even playfully, on a wide range of subjects. There are also pictures to oogle, “Audio” clips to schmoogle, and any number of other benefits to being one of her subs. One thing always wondered me, though. She mentions the phrase ‘on another blog’ from time to time.Hmm..  Curiousity being my middle name, I decided last night to find these ‘other blogs’. And through a patented hi-tech algorithm, (repeated entry in Google, ha) well, find them I did indeed. All the diverse and prolific submerged roots of this iceberg of a head of lettuce yielded to my determined shovel, whatever that means.
    Well, what it means is that I can now offer this list of the ‘other’ elgan sub-sites I’ve discovered, and share it with my readers in the interest of science. Enjoy. Chatty ramblings about daily life, local gossip, and just kinda ‘girl-talk’. is a slim re-collection of gaffes, faux pas, and misnomers from several years of writing. Not a lot there, but fun to read, none-the-less Not for the weak-hearted. Graphic and cutting-edge facts, photos, and fiction(?) is the home-page for “The Screaming El-gals” (formerly ‘El’s Belles’) , an all-girl acapella vocal group you’ll just have to hear to believe. Lots of high notes *Shhh*, a gallery of photos you’ll never see on the ‘GP’ xanga page. Guaranteed. She never mentioned that she’s fluent in Portugese? Might be Portugeese though, I know? Her fact-filled fan site for the famous English composer. Listen to ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ like you’ve never heard it before. Up-to-date fuel prices and graphs, with discussions of their foreign and domestic implications. Includes conversion tables for litre-gallon, USD to dollar Canadian, and, for some reason, Joules to kilo-henries. Growing tips and other legal/horticultural news for those interested in gat, an important ‘medicinal’ shrub. Not what you might think; In fact, this one is my favorite. Remember when ‘gay’ just meant ‘blissfully, even giddily happy’? Well, if you try all the recipies here, both culinary and ‘tips for getting through trying times’, you too will be worshipped by strangers for your constant upbeat mien. You may even find yourself writing spoofy posts for your friends’ amusement at 2 AM. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Oh, and tell her “Johnny sent me.”

Former Day ‘Saint’s’

    Yes, continuing with our Mormon theme-of-the-week, here’s some news I been ‘sitting on shpielkes’ waiting to share. (Incidentally, my only connection to the LDS’s is in their role as a source of word-play.  Ever since it was revealed to me that  “Them, or Monster Novices” equals “The Mormon Sterno Vices” I’ve been going back to those golden leaves for further study almost daily)
    At any rate, digging in the dirt paid off big-time for me today! I was innocently turning up the soil for another row of lettuce and hit something(?). A glistening metal box. Hurriedly opening it with my trusty 110 volt grinding disc, (One would think it’d work twice as well on 220, but it’s the Hertz that does the damage, in Israel’s case 50 instead of the proper 60 cycles-per-second which G-d intended), I discovered a single sheet of paper, yellowed with age but still readable.

 “Could it be??” I asked myself, “Could this really be the original long-lost words to that famous song, “When the Saint’s come marching in.”?? The suspense was killing me as I quickly took a shower, washed a load of clothes and waited for them to dry in the sun, paid my telephone bill, rotated my tires, drank a beer or two and ate one of my two surviving Rohrer 714s I’ve saved since 1978 for just such an occasion, called most of my friends on the cell to alert them, and just generally got prepared for The Find of the Century.
Let me tell you, it was all worth it. Here, for all you archivists, scholars, or simple bereaved New Orleans funeral-goers who may have wondered what the fuss was all about, are the immortal Lost Lyrics, buried for centuries beneathe the sands of time by the Author. “Who woulda thunk it?” I asked myself. “The guy was just ranting about spelling discrepancies. I’ve done that. Where’re my fricative royalties? “

“Oh when the ‘S’ Ain’t “S’
We’ll come marching in
As sure as sugar, we’ll be there
So join the fight to save our sibilants
Every-when and every-where.
.. (repeat until they get the message)   

More Mormon Sterno

Yeah. only the blue parts are true. The rest is a work of friction. You know, like ‘Moby’s Dick’. Remember?  You read the cliff notes on the bus at the last minute, looking for the good parts. “Call yer Momma Ishmael!” you finally decided, and threw it out the window.

    But speaking of Mel-ville, Hey, that’s where I work these days. It’s been a month now, some kind of a record. I’d looked up my old friend Valerie Dixon, she’d been the lead singer in “Sister Val & the Consonants” We did clubs, private parties, stuff like that, mostly near Philly. I was “P”, for pianist, I guess, depending how you pronounce it. Ha, I even have a shirt with a ‘P’ on it,  up in the attic. Once was enough.  Some club-owner’s idea of ‘spicing up the show’. Gag me with a dipthong…
    Anyway, I asked her what she’s doing lately, she goes, “Old folks home, whadaya think of that?”
“Valerina, I’s ‘too old for da orphanage, too young for da old folks home..‘” I sang my answer.
“No, really, I’m running one. You need a job?” She answered back, her voice just like I remembered.
“Sure, when do I start?” I said. All I could think of was sitting in the Lounge at an old donated piano, hearing again her husky voice singing Big Mama Thornton, Little Walter… Caught myself wondering why there’s never been a guy like, fer example ‘Middle-sized Jimmy’ Witherspoon’? Hmm.. and did he ever get another spoon?
Val was happy to hear my answer.
“See ya tomorrow at 7:00. It’s over in Melville, you cain’t miss it. ‘”Val-view Retirement Village‘”
“Cool, we’ll talk about the name tomorrow.”
I hinted, and we hung up.
Ok, ‘Retirement‘ always makes me think of buying four new Goodyear™ radials, so when I got there I told her about that. So just laughed and said “Go with the flow, what can I do?”
“Hmm, mebbe ‘Vowel-view?” I offered, weakly.
“Here, I’ll show you your office.” Val got down to business.
An office? I’ll have an office? In my usual gigs, my ‘office has been a corner of the dressing room where I stash my… well.. my stash, or in construction, a tree near the job site where I can hang my pitiful lunch and piss discretely behind it.
The pleasant office overlooked a garish sign for the “Melville Mega-Mart, or it would’ve, had all the letters been lit up. I only discoved that at about 7 in the afternoon, after I had already settled in and ‘made some changes around here’, so to speak.
“You mean, I can  like,do whatever I wanna?” I’d asked her that morning.
“Yeah, I trust you, you know that. Jus don’t you be startin’ ‘Summertime’ in freaking ‘G’, like you did that time at..
“Valerie, I was just goofing with you.”
I laughed.
    Ok, I changed the days of the week first. “This is God speaking!” I heard myself announcing pompously over the PA system, as I made out the list:
Sunday? Hell, it’s sunny here all year round, We’ll call that one “Leaderday”, cuz it like, ‘lead’s off’ the week.
Monday? Hmm, “Letter-day” the old fogeys can sit and read letters from their grandchildren. Why not share the pleasure…
Tuesday? “Litter-day”, We’ll have somebody come in and clean up the mess. He can do the sidewalks and the parking lot while he’s at it.
Wednesday? I guess I’ll go with ‘Loiterday’. Never knew why nobody was allowed to just ‘loiter’ anyway. So guys, here, yer allowed. On Day four at least.
Thursday? What’s left? “Lighter day?” Yeah, do-able, we’ll open all the blinds, an’ the windows too. They can sit around and smoke, whatever.
Friday? Oh boy. This one better be good. I thought a few minutes, then hit bingo: “Ladderday”!
I thought vaguely,”we’ll have guys come in with ladders, change light bulbs, clean the gutters…um..” Somehow it wasn’t quite as bingo as when I first thought of it, but, you know, I was running out of options. Speaking of which.
Saturday? “Later-day,” the clear winner. Grandma’s little grand-party-girl who just never like, stops in to visit, always saying on the phone ‘See ya later’, well, this one’s for you, kid. Plus ‘Looter-day’ would upset everyone. There’s a limit to the changes you can wreak, especially with fossils.( I gotta stop calling them that. I mean, any one of ’em could be my mom.)
So listen, to get to the punch-line,‘ Ladder-day’ turned out to be the biggest hit. I guess it started when old Hiram Gingrich just had to show Flaco with the hard-hat that he could still climb a ladder at 87.. Before anyone could stop him, Hiram was dancing on the edge of the flat roof above the Meditation Room. Wilmer Gochenhauer raced up next, to ‘save’ him, but kinda disappeared for long enough to worry the now-assembled crowd.

“Oy, geh ma veck!” was all Vera Copenhaver said as she laid down her purse on the grass and raced with suprising agility up the ladder. In short, not ten minutes later all our mis-named ‘fossils’ were cavorting up there, in the quickly deepening twilight. All except for Luther. Luther, although a ‘Bachman’ wasn’t yet ‘one of them’.  Newly arrived, he kept to himself. He and I walked back to the edge of the fence-row to better see the action. The roof-toppers were  quietly sitting in kind of a circle. A prayer circle? “God, if it be Thy will, get us the hell off this roof, it’s dark already”?

But no, they were just sitting there, enjoying the elevation, taking turns saying stuff we couldn’t hear that well. A few flashes of light; cell-phones, elevated into flashlights. These geezers were good at reverse-engineering technology, I thought. I turned to Luther, who had lit a cigarette meanwhile.
“Whadya think, buddy?” I asked him. He looked up at the roof,shook his head and finally laughed..
“Jesus Christ, it’s a Ladder-Day Seance.”

Mona Lisa “Throw in an extra fifty lira and I’ll smile, Lennie..”

Yes, another picture of a girl, as a public service. Not a Google-image, this one. (Of course the previous one wasn’t either; I just lied a little.) Now will someone please tell me: Why do I see so strongly radiated from her face a look which seems to say “I will love you, unconditionally, and forever.”? “…someday”, I should add, she’s busy  at present, power-learning music, languages, history, math, all that critical information.
    We all see thousands of faces, and draw conclusions from them. The fact of our being ‘wrong’ half the time doesn’t seem to deter us from continuing to believe we can somehow identify…oh…Love, Good intentions, Purity of Spirit. Nixon had a problem getting on folks ‘Instant Friend’ list. Not entirely fairly. And so I wonder about the accuracy of my gut reactions sometimes. Even dogs at times appear for all the world to be smiling… right before they bite you in the butt or worse.
In the present case I happen to know the truth, but even if she were a stranger I would have come to the same conclusion.
So, can anyone seriously look at this kid and say “Watch out, she’s got evil intentions, I just know it.” 

NOTE: I took down the picture, so for now, just imagine what a young, well-meaning but female JSolberg looked like. Hard to do, huh? Concentrate. And thanks from the heart for the informative comments, y’all. 


Is that ‘Patrick’ or ‘Patrice’?

Nah, that won’t work either. Patrice Lamumba shows up as a false positive. Or negative. I’m referring here to my only (so far) offering as a Xanga Featured Question:
“Do you have sites you read whose author’s gender is unknown to you?”
I’ll have to reword it using a preposition to end up with in order to be considered a serious candidate but still, this issue intrigues me.
Second City TV, a once glorious Canadian hot-house had a running skit where characters tried tactfully to ascertain the gender of “Pat”. “Here’s Pat!” I think it was called. That’s the reference above I hope some readers might remember to which I allude to. (Damn Qua’aludes, stole a whole rootword forever.) Anyway, I do. Yes, I have subs and sub-ettes like that. It makes me feel.. oh.. proud of myself. Modern. One could call it a special case of the famous Turing test, where a carefully-designed computer program is judged on its ability to fool any human into thinking that it too is a human operator.
    I recently spent a few hours reading some awe-inspiring posts on a newly-discovered site; poetry, prose, the whole gamut. The profile gives no clue as to gender. Neither do the posts. One would think there would be something, anything, lying around to nail this down but there simply  ain’t. So Let it be. Another ‘George Elliot’ site I expect to enjoy, and feel somehow ‘pure’ doing it to… or with. They’re both prepositions. Anyone else pondered this? If chosen as an FQ, I may presently read “-597 Comments” from sites whose author’s native language is indeterminate, haha. 

A Close Encounter… and a ‘pop-SIC-le’

So …despite their truly flawless human disguises, the Aliens I met this morning back in the old abandoned chicken-house near the orchard none-the-less mis-pronounced ‘Popsicle’,and then I knew. No native speaker would make that mistake. “‘Pop-SICK-le’,” with a strong accent on the middle syllable, the Leader (?) said as he handed me their “We come in Friendship” gift: ‘interesting, though unsettling’ Magnum® knock-off, with crunchy chocolate coating, cold as deep space. While it was returning to earth-like temperatures, I winked at him, trying to gracefully alert him to the need for some  de-bugging of their virtual speech module. He ‘got it’ right away; they’re so … so intelligent.
POP‘sic’le..” I enunciated clearly as one of the gaggle of ETs clicked on his recorder.
“Also “TAP-es-try“? a third alien asked me suddenly, him a perfect Bill Gates clone, the hair, the boyish smile..
  Except he said it “al’zo“. (German: “Therefore“, like in Zarathustra.)
Ja, und auch…” I started, and then, my heart melting for these far-flung, well-intentioned (?) travellers, I backtracked.
“Yes, and likewise, “TYPICAL, TOPICAL, TYPISTRY, TROPICAL, TAPESTRY..” I was on a short roll, but ‘Zygmundt’, whoever, stopped me:
“A sentence?”  He did get the rising tone, indicating a question, spot-on. I thought for a moment.
“Let’s see, “Johnny’s engaged in his typical, topical typistry, and will shortly go on at length about ‘tropical tapestry'” I said, POPsicle-ing each vocab word correctly, and then added,” …unless terminated?” I meant that as a hint that I was fully aware of their power to crush my neutrons into neutrinos should they become bored with me. But so far, no sign of that, in fact, they were rapt! Intrigued, soaking up word-play like Spielberg’s music-machines near the end of Close Encounters. I myself was covered with goose-bumps, which the leader eyed jealously.(“Can we do that?” he asked his Techno-naut, in a quick aside. “Yeah, we can do that.” he was reassured.
“More!” Zygmundt slapped another cassette into the walkman.
“This is what Xanga should be like.” I said mainly to myself, but the leader shot a quick glance at Zygie, as if to say Xanga! See, I told you we should have mined that site deeper.”
    Ok, in short, they just ate it up ..
“Sir, do you happen to have a thinly-veiled infatuation with being spoon-fed platitudes by conniving men with forked tongs?” was a big hit. They got all the flat-ware references, down to the last man(?). We discussed when and where this question could be appropriately posed, on into the night…  

   And  sometime before dawn this morning they reluctantly re-entered their craft, which I noticed had a small ding in the hood.
“The Ministry of Dentistry should take care of that, ASAP my friends.” I advised, as we shook hands. I waved goodbye and retrieved my popsicle, which was by now just the perfect temperature.
“I should really turn this thing in to the authorities”, I hesitated, before relenting and taking my first “small step for a man”
“G-d, what a stellar pop’SICK’le!”
was all I could say, face smeared with inter-gallactic chocolate. All Encounters should be this sweet.

Our Motto: “Shouldn’t a cheap product have a cheap logo?”

I knew this day was coming. “Take your kid to work day“. My luck, Orly’s been on leave for two weeks over at Tempo; They shut down the plant for Tisha b’av, something went wrong, and now it’s gonna take a month till the beer starts pouring through the pipes again. So Tanya goes with Abba.

    Only one problem. We, like, never really, you know, in detail, explained what it is I do. Not that there’s any great shame in it, hey, somebody’s ‘got to move these color TVs’, but still…
“Tanya, so what does you daddy do?” I can hear the kids at the bet sefer ask her and I suppose she says “Um.. I think he like, works with words.”
   We left as usual at 5:30. Traffic on the Ayalon into Tel Aviv can be a bitch. Past Even Yehuda, we coasted through the light at Bnei Dror and I knew already it was gonna be a highlight of her life, at least.
“We’re.. driving on the Road.. Driving on the Road!” Something like that in her precious husky little singing voice which could melt polar ice.
She rolls the window down, size 2 pink sandals flapping in the slip-stream at 120 kilometer per hour. “kamash” we call it, for short.
Bnei Zion, the Caniel Can Company, Tzomet Ra’anana Tzafon, they all flash by quicker than I remember, ever. Past the hi-tech glass monsters: Comverse, Amdocs, she wants to know “Are we there yet?”

“No, sweetie pie, now get your dear little leggies back in the car. Cops just love to arrest kids for that. They put you in jail and throw away the key.”
Tanya stuck her tongue out at some unknown monster, and did as requested, but under advisement. We were going past the IAI plant, with the young guys in to die for grey shirts, shades, and to die twice for Uzis watching us roll past the entrance ramp when I saw her searching the dash for her next diversion. An outlet for her boundless energy. She’s 7. Ok “Seven and a half”, sorry kid.
At Moresha we turned off of Highway 4 onto 20, past the Tennis Center, an oddity, I always thought. What, Nero’s got time to fiddle a n d play tennis while the country burns or rots-in-place? Into the big sweeping turn onto the Ayalon, our mini-super-highway through Tel Aviv; I looked over and saw she was wearing my sunglasses. I always put them on there, since you turn into the blinding morning sun just long enough to crash into some Israeli incompetent. But she looked far too sweet to bother, and we were soon getting off at Rochach, TAU, the Exhibition Grounds, and finally Rehov Ha’Yarkon, The main north-south street, running parallell to the beach. The big hotels, joggers in the early morning, the sights of a city soon to become vicious..
“Are we there yet?” Again, and this time I could tell her
“Soon, Tanya. See that tall towery looking thing there, on my side?” I pointed at Hassan Bek, a n old surviving Mis’gad (mosque). But Tanya was busy looking at the Dolphinarium, or what’s left of where it used to be. (An Israeli law must prohibit ever taking down a sign when you close a business. Half the advertising junk on the streets is for places which no longer exist. Fits into the national lack of responsibility and self-respect a vistor can’t help but notice, and if he’s new, be apalled by.)
At any rate, a quick left, a right, a left up a one-way against traffic, across the sidewalk, and we backed up into the only parking spot I can even half count on, shut the car off and Whew.

“We’re here, honey.”
I was tired already, but she was so psyched-up that I let her carry the box into my little office on Shabazi. Keren ha’Temanim: The Yemenite Quarter, now becoming trendy, but my rent so far is stable.
   The phone was already ringing. Moshe somebody; I’d talked to him briefly yesterday. Didn’t really want to take the job. Tanya was busy opening the box, and, double-tasking, picking up the extension phone as I was telling Moishe “I didn’t know that“. She ‘seconded’ my words, chirping “He didn’t know that!” in That Voice. By the time Moses got the hint, she had the bottle open already and was doing that barely-spellable thing they do, going “Eeewww!!!” with her whole little self.
“What’s this stuff, Abba?” she had to know.
“Um.. hair something. Guys put it on their hair if they want to..”
“..want to smell like Latypus farts!”
Tanya pushed the bottle across the table toward me, spilling some on ‘our’ legal pad, empty so far. 8:13 already…
“It’s ‘Platypus’, child, and you got some.. some up-close experience with them?” I asked.
“No it’s not, it’s ‘Latypus’, with a big orange ‘L'”
“Oh no”, I thought to myself. This was the first time I’d heard her calling out letters by the color. Hmm..
“And it stinks. This goo’s for loosers.”
I told her. I don’t know, kids are fun to correct, if you do it tactfully.
“and yeah, it’s not your top-of-the-line hair-gel, but Al says it’s cheap, he’s got tons of it, and we gotta move it, Tanya-le.”
“That’s what we do?
” She asked, like the field-trip ‘learning experience’ part of this national day of discovery had just dawned on her, or maybe set on her like the sinking sun.
“Yeah, honey, that’s what we do. Now think fast, or we’ll have to go for breakfast empty-handed already.
“Call it Dumb Al’s Dumb Hair-dumb-orange-stuff.”
Tanya offered, as if I could really go with that.
But she did get me thinking. Hmm.. Al’s… Al’s Orange L hair-whatever..
“It’s for Loosers, put that in, Abba.” My tactful correction hadn’t worked.
All of a sudden I ‘saw, felt, tasted the letters.
“Oy, du kleine kint!“, I jumped up, messed with her hair in fun, all smiles. “You cute liddle thang. I got it!”
“We got it?”
she asked, and then after a second; “We got it, we got it!!”. Same melody as ‘Driving on da road.” I guess if Daddy say ‘we got it’ then ‘we got it’; It was good enough for her. She put her little fists on the table, a perfect Chairman of the Board signalling the end of another meeting.
“Get a crayon, ok?” I pointed to a shelf on her side of the room. While she was searching for the orange one, of course, I had time to draw in outline letters:

“Here, now you color it in and we go to breakfast, Tanya.”
I handed her the sheet and she gobbled up the task, tongue out, coloring inside the lines…almost.. well, good enough for Al.

Book Review: “To Serve the Wild Armadillo” by Euell Lovett

This curious work, published last January by Asparagus Press Ltd., made waves in the NY Times Pan-species Best Sellers List from day one. Armadillos from across the American Southeast took ESL courses in order to pore through its 364 pages of photos and informative history, and even after they discovered, like the humans in a famous sci-fi flick, that “Duh; It’s a Cookbook!”, they continued to strip the shelves of any bookstore lucky enough to have a copy. So what’s inside? Well, ARM, MAD, DILL, and I’LL, for starters. But I’ll digress… 
    This ill-fated but harmless critter, usually seen in full rigour-mortis on Mississippi Interstates, has always fascinated me. Let’s see,’ It was a dark and rainy night…’. We were groggily chugging back to Meridian from a gig at the Hattiesburg Country Club in my VW bus. The purple one, with the flames? Can’t say, it was dark, nu.. Anyway, to supplement our meagre take at the door, we’d gone table to table after the patrons had left, and gleefully poured anything left thereupon into a couple gallon jugs. This is known as “mixed drinks“. And at three AM, as “mixed driving”. Around a bend in the road I spotted a blur, moving across the highway. A few seconds later I’d identified genus and species. Armadillos are not known for their intelligence, and this one had no intention of “looking both ways before crossing the street” I locked up all four wheels, causing three band members, one 1938 Hammond B-3 with twin 122 Leslies, four mike stands, a Fender Super-reverb or two, a half dozen loosely-packed Zildjan cymbals (mixed drinks, I mentioned that?) and assorted what-not to continue inertially on towards the windshield, which for some reason withstood the onslaught. My Hammond suffered a broken Bb, which I’ll fix some day. This was in 1972, I think. Anyway, the dumb armadillo, saved from the fate all too common to his ilk, turned and sneered at me in the headlights.

“Hey thanks, Armadildo, I just saved your life”. I sneered back. I waited. He waited. Stuck in third gear, with the gearshift now jammed against the dash, I pointed at my watch demonstratively through the windshield. The dumb animal ignored me, and made a pretense of finding something lickable on the tarmac. A Mexican stand-off. In the end I had to shut the motor off and get out. Bending down to ‘transfer’ to guy to the other side of the road, I heard him say something. Ask something, actually. and in a Meridian drawl at that:
“What’d you just call me, boy?”
The drummer and bass-player were busy trying to salvage our precious fluids, and I was alone in the night with a talking….
“Armadillo” I lied.
“Ain’t what ah heard..” He turned his head a bit, like I was s’pposed to talk into his damned ear
“Hey, y’all be goin’ around ‘n the middle of the night..” I started to plead for the defence, but he cut me off…
“What goes around, comes around, bro.” He pronounced. Deep, this guy, for an armadillo, and I sensed he was building up to a rapproachmont..

“I’m a Karmadillo, man, 13th generation, and thanks for stopping.” He winked, not unkindly. They have a short temper, these armour-plated overgrown rats. I set him down on the berm and went back to the van.

“..took you so long?” ‘Che’, the drummer wanted to know.
“I don’t know, man…enlightenment?” I told him, and he passed me the gallon jug.
      So anyway, Lovett talks about the introduction of the species from Senegal in the 1800s. Originally known as a “Dakarmadillo“. it soon lost the ‘Da’, later, the ‘K’, and finally, its life, in droves, under the wheels of countless motorists. Down-on-their-luck locals soon learned to take advantage of the ‘harvest’, and one can still find, in rural Mississippi, back-woods restaurants offering “Shwarmadillo“, an excellent recipie for which appears in this delightful book…near the end. The meat the author describes as ‘interesting’, and ‘tangy’, if sometimes marred by a gamey aftertaste’. Overall, I enjoyed this book….and the opportunity ‘reviewing’ it afforded to recount this antic-dote from the not-so-distant past.nine_banded_armadillo