Monthly Archives: October 2010

Oct 27th: Rear View Mirror Day

I picked a dumb time to leave Israel; start of the winter growing season and I just rented 7 acres of agricultural paradise. It fairly begs:’level me, plant me irrigate me, weed me, eat me’ and I’m off to dally in the frozen North American wilderness. Oh well.
Sincere apologies for my 40 page In-box of worthy posts un-commented-upon. Frankly, until all the shekel-dollar birds were in a line I considered it a sacrilege to divert precious time to frivolity. Historically, my time in the Untied Snakes is often spent on Xanga (30%) so do not fear. Even though I have a month’s work to finish in three weeks.

I’m reminded of a third grade joke:
Me: (to my random seat-mate on the Airbus-330, already eyeing the overhead area for an anchor-point for her noose) “Wow, those people look like ants from up here!”
She: “They *are* ants, you dumb-f&ck. We haven’t taken off yet.”
So I suppose ‘cuddle-time’ at Flight-level 310 is probably out of the question.
Jurassic Park taught me one thing: ‘Warning: Objects in the mirror may be larger (smaller?) than they appear.’ I expect to over-analyze my existence during the 12-hour smoke-less flight. The good, the bad and the ugly here in the Cradle of (-sic) Civilization.
My only (?)  loose end is that I leave a good two dozen tiger swallowtail caterpillars without any remaining Rue leaves to gobble. Not my fault their older cohorts nom-nom-ed all the low-hanging leaves. Again, oh well. Darwin predicted this evolutionary bottleneck, I’ll say, to assuage the guilt. I’m hoping Beth Seedsower can fix me up with like, 30 pounds of Rue seeds while I’m in the area. My like-new ’91 Subaru will be the key to a successful trip. ‘See the ‘merkins, you/ …in your Subaru.’; yeah, I remember the jingle well from the 60s.
CYA from the other side/ JS

Wu: Odd. I’d heard you were flying to the AMAZON, to check out the backward ‘NO-ZAMA’ tribesmen, in their froggy leather aprons, mebbe bringing back recordings of their poison-frog-tipped AM radio ‘Mister-Bow’® jingles, or even the rarely-documented tree-top performances of native-superstar ‘Mister Bo-Jungles’, singing in the sing-song native dialect, so far un-translated by Wycliff?
Me: So sorry. You were purposefully mis-informed, Wu. My apologies.

Sex, Cows, and the Empty Milk Bottle

Xanga is all a-wash in rants about the Artificial Inseminator’s Strike these days. Almost six months since the ‘Knights of the Long Glove’ laid down their ampules, and almost every other hot-button issue has fallen off the fabric of our Front Page. I have never seen such Balkanized tinder in the In-box, as loyalties and special interests clash in a gerrymandered patchwork of fact and opinion, pitting the blissfully lactose-intolerant against the immaculate-conceptionalists, the prurient against his purer-bred brother.
I wouldn’t even weigh in here, were I not so familiar with the actual Truth of artificial breeding from decades in the dairy industry. Perhaps this short post, then, will insert a bit of Common Sense into the Xanga vaginae.

    One need only glance at the sad Dairy section of any supermarket to grasp the gravity. Last month’s ‘Sorry, We’re Temporarily Out’ signs have now been permanently replaced, it would seem, by…oh.. new cut-out racks for Milli Vanilli CDs, (un-cool enough to not need refrigeration, which has been switched off).
Not bad enough whole milk, the absolute shortage now extends to yogurt, butter, cheeses, ice-cream… in short, anything once-inside-an-udder. Folks who’d have gone without coffee rather than to suffer non-dairy creamers are now ‘whitening’, guys who  swear ‘I always believed it wasn’t Butter’ are settling for truly marginal margarine, and Ben & Jerry’s Sherbet battles with Hagen & Daz for  glum customers at the mall.
And all for what? For the selfish pride of a couple thousand fed-up semen-eers? Not really. Here are the facts, dear Xangans:

1) TSS kills. Or at least ‘maims’. Living proof can be seen in any of the You-tube videos featuring the ‘poster-man’ of the Strike, Wilbur Greblos, (pictured below in happier times), the media-hounded  first victim, from Red Dear Alberta, who lost an arm inside an infected Holstein. But we’re ahead of our story. Let’s roll up our sleeves and back up:

2) Nobody has a bull these days. Not since the ’50s. Privately-kept bulls are violent and even genetically unpredictable. I have a scar from one, whose pen, we discovered, needed to have been built with 4 by 8s, not 2X4s. No, every up-standing brown-cow you drive past in a modern dairy installation (‘Posture is a Feature in the Pasture of the Future©’, by the way,) is at least a half-sister to her herd-mates, the union of their mothers and sperm from sometimes long-dead corporate donor bulls, ‘milked’ (while watching ‘High School Heifers in Heat’?)  by a special breed of ‘agricultural worker’. Don’t ask.

3) The real issue of course is how to bring zygotes together dependably and respectfully. Enter The Artificial Man, whose absence from the stage has now dried up the milk cans, one frustrated non-lactating cow at a time.
Cows come into heat about two months after ‘dropping’ a calf’.  After breeding them at that time, we continue to milk for another 8 months or so, when they are ‘turned dry’ . They indicate their bovine libido by allowing other (female) cows to ‘ride’ them in the field. ‘Standing heat’, a day-long peak near ovulation, is when we (used to) phone the Artificial Man, who arrives dutifully with steel cryogenic tub of frozen bull-cum, a quiver of long glass or plastic hollow tubes, and, here’s the problem, a long glove. (TMI ahead) He loads the DNA into a squeeze-capsule, tells the tied-up cow she’s ‘the only one for me’, and proceeds to try to guide the tube inwards towards Mecca, aka the mouth of the cervix. Ah if it were only as easy as that. You try it blind and one-handed!  All the while the cow registers her sexual pleasure by blithely eating silage and ignoring any question of the Earth moving.
Until the guy puts on his glove. Up to the shoulder and seamlessly attached to a full protective apron, he uses his left arm to dive in where men fear to tread, right up the butt of the beast, carefully finding in the dark, through practiced feel, the tube and steering it to Medina. The cow often finds this part an un-toward advance, and reacts with whatever ammunition she’s got. Some cows are surprisingly well-armed.
   Yet the Strike is not over being merely pooped on. If it were, millions, nay billions of workers all over the world would throw off their chains. No, the problem is TSS. First noticed in New Zealand in the late ’90s, Tight Sphincter Syndrome remained a curiosity in the literature even as the number of cases doubled almost monthly. It took Greblos’s near-fatal gangrene incident to bring the horrible truth to the attention of the world media… and to create the current un-tenable situation.
Of course he should have had his cell-phone in his pocket.
Of course the farm-owner and his young wife shouldn’t have run off the road and been killed on their first day-trip off the farm in months.
Of course the RCMP should have found the bodies sooner.
And certainly the neighbors who heard the cows bawling to be milked from their SUVs out on the highway should have stopped in to see what was wrong after a few days.
Once Wilbur stopped feeling anything in his doomed arm, he did probably the only thing a man could in the
situation. I can only imagine the pain of a self-amputation, especially with a dull corn-cutter machete. The man didn’t scream though. No, his voice was long since shot from three days of calling out for help. The family dog did show up, but Wilbur’s attempts to explain his need for a salvation run were in vain.

So….. what’ve we got? Farmers selling lower-production cattle for beef in a desperate attempt to pay taxes, attempted strike-breakers and non-union scabs being roughly treated, and often in public although once was entirely enough, (artificial-men have a unique way of expressing disdain), PETA and the more extreme wing of SPCA supporting the strike, calling the whole practice ‘invasive and demeaning’, and boycotting milk products (duh?), Dan on Xanga getting 387 LOL’s for ‘I was reading this article about…’,  an Australian film special-effects crew coming up with a fully-functional substitute stand-alone ‘bull-dong’… which languishes in committee waiting for approval at the US Dep’t of Agriculture, currently headed by a squeamish Christian-right-wing Bush appointee with a divine agenda to monkey-wrench Obama.
And deflated udders pretty much coast-to-coast.
Bottom Line: A post this long ought to have a damn solution to offer. I dearly wish I had one. Perhaps a reader, having benefited from this laying out of the facts, can suggest one. This is your chance to be a World Hero, not to mention the You Tube photo-op, arm-in-arm with a grateful Wilbur Greblos.

Wu: If this ain’t the dumbest thing you ever wrote I don’t know what is.
Me: I’ll search the archives and get back to you. And take that glove off!


Hunting for scavengers, 2 pts. Something at night with a trumpet, a pump, and a dog

    In the corner of a dark deserted cornfield, a shattered Cornell cornet player sits, drinks another Corona and cries his corneas out.
  “Why do bad things happen to good people?” he finally sobs into his beer.
  “Oy, a tough question,” Nell moved a bit closer and tried to comfort him, “…and sure, the nice folks at the Coronation didn’t deserve to have you blow the last line of Pump and Circumstance. Kinda ruined the show it did, but still, God moves in..”

“Moves in a fucking moving van.” Cornielius shot out, angrily. “Them are some really high notes, Nell.”

“So let’s sue Elgar.” Nellie suggested with mock innocence. “My Dad can write the brief an’…”

“No, it’s gotta be a long letter; like ‘Je Accuse!’ but pronounced ‘Gee, Ay Queue Zee!’ Seriously, if Eddie’d written the damn thing in Ab, the Queen’s butt woulda fallen off?”

“Don’t talk like that about Her Majesty, Corney. She didn’t have to come all the way to Montreal for the Royal Hoo-Haw. That’s why they have that-there big b*cking Ham Palace, you heard of it?”
 Nell looked up at the night sky, stars stretching off to the horizon in the east, where the British Empire was waiting, as they spoke, for the Sun also to rise . In the distance a dog barked, F#, but flat. Cornielius grimaced.
“Is it all pre-ordained, Nell?” he asked her, this time wanting a real answer. “I mean, look at the first sentence here, will you(!) Enough ‘corn-‘ there to rebuild the Second Corn Palace. And what’s the deal with “C’-OR-NELL”? What, that’s my life’s work? Either hit the high ‘C’ or have to sit here with you in the dark, all alone, an’ talk it out till daylight’?” 
Nell moved yet closer. It was God’s plan, and her answer, all in one.In the distance a cow mooed. Probably an Angus.

Q: What has four in the morning, two at noon, and three by late afternoon?

     Gotta respect a financial consultant firm who’d have this ‘Challenge Question‘ on their web-site. Now I could just bury my $100 of course; at the rate the dollar is sinking relative to the Euro and especially the Israeli Shekel, I might even forget where I put my shovel. Still, get-rich dreams interrupt my sleep. Like last night, for example:
    I dreamed I clicked on an ad, trying to earn a few Ad-sense farthings for Mel Famy, who recently announced his participation.I chose Despotic Solutions.Com. Their blurb: “We’ll tell ya what to do!” flashed in demonic .gif format and fury. ‘Yeah,’ I thought, ‘me needs to know vot to do, so hey, it’s a  perfect match.’
I signed up for the whole package, including ‘Desktop Despot ©’, which auto-loads on boot-up a full analysis of all the world’s stock markets and commodity prices. ‘What’s another ten minutes waiting for Windows to get settled in when you’re a gantze mocher?’ I asked myself. A quick choice of User-Name ([jsolberg 999] and password (‘bigshot_007’ is available!) and I was ...‘Almost finished!’ Sure I was,  ‘cept for writing a quick master’s thesis (!)
The Question in the post’s title above was followed by the ‘simple instructions’. “Feel free to use the entire dialogue box for your answer, which will be judged by our panel of ‘Qualifiers’. Good Luck, jsolberg999!’

Ok, of course I’d heard of the Riddle of the Spinks. I mean, ain’t he the guy who bit off the Egyptian Statute of Liberty’s nose?  Nah, too easy. Ditto for the tired old ‘guy on crutches’ cliche answer. Nope, this Question called for a no-holds-beared Answer, one which I expected would demonstrate my right to belong to the exclusive Despotic Solutions™  in-crowd.
Hope dies quickly in the digital realm. Less than five minutes after  submitting the piece (below) I received a brusque e-mail informing me that “We at Despots value our reputation for advising only the most worthy clients in today’s competitive investment environment. Blah, blah, baloney, blah…” They didn’t even have the courtesy to tell me flat out that my Answer sucked. Hell, I woulda been happier with a simple ‘WTF? Oh well, at least I was artistically challenged to remember an incident I’d forgotten. Who needs ‘Deskpot Destop’, whatevah, anyway? Now to try to uninstall the piece of cyber-schlock. And dear reader, you judge me worthy (or not) to invest my nest-egg with.. damn, I forgot the name already.

All I saw was a brown blur heading off lickety-split towards the oleander fence-row.
I shut off the mower and gathered up what was left of the teddy-bear from under the bushes.
“Oy, Angelita’s gonna kill me!” was all I could think. Until I thought about it some more. Hmm.. not to worry:

1) The child is barely three, and likely hasn’t the eye-hand coordination to aim and fire the Glock through the bars of the playpen, even if she gets a clear shot at me through the bedroom curtains. And furthermore:
2) Surely she must realize her partial culpability in leaving the dumb stuffed animal out there hidden in the tall grass. Plus, my trump card:
3) I’d assembled  a mostly-intact torso, if that’s what you call a legless teddy-bear, and a good handfull of ‘schnibbles’, we used to call ’em, body parts, a femur, stitchable dermal remnants, whatever. Reminded me of ‘Headless body found in Topless Bar!’ from the Nat’l Enquirer. Still, I wasn’t an amateur taxidermist for nothing. I’d fix the damn doll-baby before Angie got back from day-care. The lawn can wait another week or two.
Laying out the sutures, the cat-gut thread, the curved needles, I suddenly remembered Polanski, lying there on the mattress in ‘The Tenant’, asking “If they cut off my leg, it’s ‘me and my leg‘; but if they cut off my head, is it ‘Me and my head’, or ‘Me and my body’?”

The question was never directly answered in the film, and anyway, I had worse problems. There was only enough material for one leg. Now Symmetry, a topic I hadn’t yet addressed with young Angelita, kinda dictated that the single leg be re-attached to the lower middle of the torso. An hour later and I admired my reconstruction project.
Flawless to the point where yet another vignette flashed on my screen:
I myself am walking proof that modern medicine, represented by the ancient inscrutable Dr. Xu in my case, can reattach a finger lost in a gruesome construction accident; the fault of a stoned ex-employee suffering from terminal Reefer Madness. Disgusted, I’d pulled the detached finger out from between the panels of the garage door whose springs he’d removed without bothering to inform anyone. I ran/walked, spurting blood on the sidewalk, the five blocks to the Lancaster General Hospital, carrying my hapless finger in the palm of my upraised hand, like the Statue of Liberty. ‘Give me your tired, your weary, your four-fingered luckless schmucks…”
Happy ending, otherwise I wouldn’t have brought it up: Dr Xu actually enjoyed an opportunity to re-prove his talents even at age 82. My only complication since then has been  distinguishing between a shekel and a 2-shekel coin in my left pants-pocket on a cold morning. I can live with that. Most days it’s a non-issue.

    Well oops, we forgot about poor little Angelita. She took it well, considering. My long-suffering wife did her best to contain a/an LOL, faced with the sight of her daughter playing with a no-longer gender-neutral Bear. “Die Bubba mit da grosse schvantze” we’ll call ‘him’, quietly and in private, at least until the girl gets to the birds, bees, and bears age. By that time I expect to have profited from my on-line investment, and shall buy her a new ‘full-featured’ teddy bear.
There ya go, Depostics: ‘ 4  in the AM, 2 at eleven, and three by the afternoon’. How’d I do?

Wu: Sorry to hear they didn’t buy it….I don’t know, I just wrote ‘My daily alcohol intake’, and was registered in ten seconds.
Me: Damn. I always try too hard. Now what am I gonna do with my hundred bucks?
Wu: Um, stay away from ‘Plastics’. Too hard to stitch.

What is to be done?”

    I stopped worrying long ago whether anyone ‘gets’ the title; a copy/paste from a pamphlet written by a guy who had worse problems than mine. And no, not Jody Foster.
Yet I do have compelling ‘issues’, and thought today  that maybe, just this once, I’d profit by writing a ‘normal’ Xanga entry. Starting with
1) What I had for breakfast; 2 eggs over-light, toast and coffee, a gift from my loving ex. Lots of folks would trade their intact marriages for my mutual-help-and-respect relationship with this woman, whose only sin was… um.. I still don’t know precisely. At least now the Byzantine Israeli government can’t legally take the house if I ‘forget’ to pay a bill or two.
2) Meanwhile, my 3 shekel lighter’s eternal flame seems to have wimped out. Running to the gas-station for a new one’ll cost me 2 shekels in gas. That’s why God invented the toaster-oven, I guess.
3) I have to get out of here and ‘working-visit’ the Untied Snakes of Armenia. Soon. The recent floods in Pennsylvania were less than kind to my log house’s 1798 basement walls. This imperative creates a laundry-list of ancillary ‘tsorises’ (yiddish for ‘dumb shit that I have to deal with’)
4) Meanwhile the well-meaning (?) scoundrels at the ‘Institute whose Name we shan’t  mention’ have me holed-up in a cellar which, as of yesterday, is owned by some Israeli Bank. The ‘luft-geschaefters’ (Yiddish: ‘profiteers-from essentially air’) have a technical right to abscond with my hard-won lifetime booty, down to the 30 Tee-shirts in cardboard boxes, which scares a guy almost as much as the thought of being murdered in his sleep by Israel’s most heroic but nameless Secret Agent, lately become ‘unsound’ and demented at age 62, due to what, a brain hemmorhage? I shall never ever ‘out’ her alias, but still, damn, I’m getting tired of pooping in a drywall-bucket for my Country. There, ‘I’ve said too much’, as the saying goes…

5) Meanwhile, in the interest of brevity, I have the following physical problems, all unaddressed. Even nailing down the Zip-codes would cost me a day of work I can’t afford to lose. (Did I mention I’m broke, except for a 2 million dollar farm I quarter-own, but don’t feel like selling to smurf-villagers?)
Prostate. It’s what happens when you’re 61 and thought it was kewl to love five women a day for decades. If a gland could talk, mine would scream ‘Oy Gevalt!’. Not that I’d ‘take back’ even one gram of its  output, nor have I ever heard any second-thoughts from the  recipients. (Damn, I sound like some other guy, only with  documents, ha)
Vision: I ‘see’ out of only about half of my field of vision. All the rest my brain ‘makes up’, thank god, or else I’d see holes. I don’t, I just see little old ladies who aren’t there, wearing funny hats. Bonet’s syndrome. Fun.. for a while. except in traffic.
Teeth: the fewer you have left, the less time it takes not to brush them. I do have incisors though. Nobody ever said I wasn’t incisive. I can gum a steak to death as fast as a cow, assuming
bovines are cannibals, in extremis.
Emphysema: I’ve found a work-around. Breath deeply, and only bicycle downhill. Like the Marlboro Man on his ‘I’d gallop a mile for a Camel’  horsie.
Whasit?: A little place on the back of one hand where a bite from some local critter failed to heal up correctly. I suspect a bot-fly. I may do radical home-surgery. That’s why God invented the exacto-knife. The Brits call it a ‘Stanley-knife’ (correct me, Rambling_man?). and we Israelis make-do with ‘japanese-knife’. God help us.
6) No car insurance? Simple: just change the policy-scan in Ms-Paint to ‘Expires 2010. Good enough for a guy in an emergency.
7) Needing a beer or two for breakfast in order to deal with our world-class crew of annoying Levantine rat-peoples is mostly a financial problem. I waste the equivalent of a half-month’s rent monthly just to fill my recycle bags with aluminum.

The Good news: At least I discovered Xanga five years ago, and have laboriously cultivated a coterie of uniquely-kind and thoughtful friends, with whom I can, (albeit rarely) share some of the bitter truth which emerges as I collect my thoughts here. Let there be no mistake; I sub to only one in a thousand, approximately, after a lengthy ‘trial’ period of reading your posts and comments for hours every night. If you are one of my subs, you are ‘special’ by a hard-to-describe filter, and merit looking deliciously downward on 98% of the Top-Blog paste-eaters on a normal hair-day. Thanks so much for reading this far. I couldn’t survive without you./ JS Tel Aviv Israel

Wu: An honest post? What happened? You fell off a horse and banged your kopf?
Me: Maybe I just want to be ‘be-loved ‘?
Wu: Probably better than to be be-headed…
Me:  Hmm.. sometimes the two are hard to tell apart.. ‘Course I can always ‘Delete Post’…. assuming Xanga’s working.