A Boy Contented and a Man Confused

Some months ago a certain fast food chain committed a nastiness.  I’ll not name the chain.  I don’t need a libel lawsuit leveled against me. I’ll also disclaim that its nastiness is only my opinion and there may well be others who love the product. Also, my opinion should in no way be interpreted as an attempt to convince others not to try it.  I feel safe now, so I’ll continue.

For many weeks I endured the sounds of a four year old enamored with a commercial for “a certain fast food nastiness”.  Every time it came on he screamed “See the fast food nastiness!!!” And turned my face toward the t.v. and demanded that I rewind over and over and over again.  I could tell by the look of the things that it was nothing I’d care for personally, however, my son was so excited over them that my wife and I broke down and made a special trip to the place that sells them.  We drove almost half an hour so he could partake in the quivering chunks of “nastiness” he so obsessed over.  We suffered a less than wonderful meal for the sake of a boy who, upon seeing his much desired quarry, commented not on it being that with which he had been so obsessed.  He merely took a small bite, ran of to play and the whole horrid little box ended up in the trash.  He never mentioned them again.

Why?

I bid you Adieu…and A don’t.

Adieu…take chances on culinary oddities.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

A don’t…really bother with it if it comes in a small carton nearly translucent with grease

Turkey Legs and Toddlers; A Cautionary Tale

Not very long ago in a place that could be fairly close to where you are, a man sat in his house.  He wasn’t doing much and he wasn’t thinking much or noticing much.  He was just sitting very still and there were but two readily noticeable indications that he was even alive.  His nostrils were flaring and the corner of his mouth glistened with barely contained salivation.

He wasn’t, as may be suspected, a simple man.  Neither was he inebriated or on drugs. He was the victim of the aroma of roasting meat.  He was so enamored of this hunk of roasting animal, this leg of fowl that crisped and crackled mere feet from where he sat, that he had forgone all other meals so that he may enjoy the day’s final partaking all the more.  And so he sat, stuporous and waiting and drooling and dreaming of the moment his teeth would tear into the smoky flesh.

And finally that moment came and it was glorious.

Every bite made him hunger even more for the next and then the next and then the next.  At first all his senses were engaged by the turkey leg he was ravenously consuming.  He felt the bone burn his palm as he held the leg to his mouth and he felt the grease slick his chin.  He smelled the smoke that flavored the meat and heard his teeth tear through the crisp skin that vainly attempted to protect the flesh beneath.  And he saw…well, what he saw had nothing to do with the turkey leg. He saw a young boy.  The boy’s lips were moving.  It looked as if the boy were trying to tell him something.

As he continued to watch and eat, the boy’s face became contorted and it appeared as if he were speaking more forcefully.  Suddenly, then, the man’s ears tuned out the sounds of his own chewing and began to receive the message the young boy was now yelling across the kitchen table.

“DADDY CAN I PLEASE HAVE A BITE!?” The man heard.  And, being a kind father who preached at his children every meal time the virtues of trying new things, the man, although loathe to do so, handed the turkey leg to his son.

He watched in slightly amused horror as the boy devoured the turkey leg the way a Viking might devour a shank of mutton.  The boy chomped and smacked and when the father realized that the few meager bites he had taken might be the only bites he would get, he tried to take his meal back and the boy snarled at him!!

A few more tense moments passed as the father wondered whether or not the boy might be turning feral when all of a sudden the boy dropped the turkey leg on a plate, burped loudly and ran from the table laughing like a lunatic.

The man rushed to the plate to find the ravaged remains of his meal, a barely recognizable chunk of slobbered on meat and he cried a hearty cry.

I bid you Adieu…and A don’t

Adieu…share food with your children despite the fact that they already said they didn’t want that and changed their little minds.

A don’t…try to take food from a hungry five year old.  If they like it, then you’ve lost it.

Cast Iron, Why and Why Not.

It goes without saying that children shouldn’t be left in hot cars unattended.  Since I don’t need to say that, let me instead say that despite being my favorite cooking utensil, cast iron confuses me.  I used to read a lot of Louis L’amour western novels. Perhaps I should instead say that westerns confuse me.  Louis wrote a lot about his characters’ carrying bacon across the desert.  Perhaps antique bacon was more well preserved than today’s bacon.  Or maybe it was some sort of bacon jerky or pre-cooked bacon.  But….he also wrote about how his characters were cooking the bacon over a fire in the morning.  Usually as a peace offering to a traveler they’d met in the desert.  Scenes usually went something like this:

Drifter: “Hello, the fire!”

Cowpoke: “Come on in if you’re friendly.  If you ain’t, don’t bother.”

Drifter: “I am!  I’ve got coffee!”

Cowpoke: “And I’ve got bacon!”

And then they’d have bacon and coffee and talk about where the gold was or what tribe they’d come across and how hostile they were or some such.  For some reason I always pictured them cooking their bacon in cast iron.  I suppose this is because I don’t think the technology existed to make inferior quality products yet.  It had to be cast iron.  And carrying cast iron through the desert makes about as much sense as carrying bacon through it.  Bacon spoils and cast iron is so heavy that it’s impractical even if it’s all you have.  Sometimes I have heat stroke just moving my cast iron skillet from the cabinet to the stove top.  But I still do because it makes me feel like a cowboy.  The heat stroke and the cast iron both invoke that sensation.  I don’t know why I like feeling like a cowboy. Neither do I know why I like bacon or cast iron.  All I do know is if I’m ever stuck in the desert I’ll hope to have a heavy antique skillet with me.  Even though it’ll slow me down and contribute to my dehydration and eventual death, It’s dual purposeness will come in handy.  I can use it to set a deadfall trap and then cook my prey in it as well.  Forget that I’ll have to lug it around the desert.  Cowboys are tough.

I bid you Adieu…and A don’t.

Adieu…cook with cast iron.  The powerful feeling it imparts is quite nice.

A don’t…actually take cast iron on a camping trip.  Cowboys only did it because it was all they had.  Invest instead in inferior, lightweight aluminum.  Not only can you not club an animal to death with it, it won’t last nearly as long.

Absorbent Robert Quadrilateral Trousers and a Confused Soldier: An Intriguing Tale?

I was in the Army once.  It was a long time ago.  There are very few things about it that I remember purposely.  One of those things is a man who was with me during my initial job training.  I don’t remember his name.  I do remember that he was very large and intimidating. He was very quiet and did not fluster easily. He did not go out to drink or visit the females who denude themselves for money when we had an off-post pass for the weekend.  He just sat in the hotel room and spoke to his family on the phone.  I respected him very much for this.  He was foreign.  I’m not sure from where, but his accent made it nearly impossible to understand him unless you were used to hearing him talk which none of us really were because he so rarely spoke.

Now that I have described him as thoroughly as I care to, I’ll move on to the meat of the story I wish to tell. One afternoon our whole company was outside the barracks. We were sitting on the concrete pad that served as a rally point for formations and floggings.  Not literal floggings, I’m not that old, but floggings of the mind delivered by the tongues of men in camo and campaign hats and ever so shiny boots.  We were attempting to make our boots as shiny as theirs to avoid another “flogging” and had begun to discuss the horrid state of modern cartoons.  Specifically we were bemoaning the fact that there has been nothing recently that could compare with the likes of DuckTales or Darkwing Duck or Scooby Doo.  We reminisced about G.I. Joe and Transformers and Thunder Cats.  There could never be another He-Man, no matter how hard anyone ever tried.  As we discussed these things, our big, hard-to-understand, unflusterable and foreign-accented comrade-in-arms became suddenly quite flustered.  He threw his boot brush to the ground and we all fell silent at his sudden, unprecedented outburst.  Every eye turned to this man, whose voice, accent and build rather remind me of the man who was a Terminator and he said, surprisingly loudly, “What is Sponge Bob?!”

We didn’t respond because, I think, we were scared to.

“I watch the show and I say what?!!?”

No response, so he continues…

…”He is in the ocean!  I thought he was a piece of cheese!!”

Of course, no response now either so he says…

…”But he’s a (expletive deleted) SPONGE!!”

And then he picks up his boot brush and calmly resumes shining his boots.

I bid you Adieu…and A don’t.

Adieu…read the quotes in Arnold’s voice.  It makes it much better.

A don’t…hold in your frustration.  It could come out in odd ways at odd times.

Nerd Level: Deep Freeze!

It isn’t hard for me to be a nerd about things.  As a child I used to stand and watch the washing machine fill up.  The wrinkles in the clothes that stood above the waterline would slowly saturate from beneath.  I would watch the fabric suck up the water so that by the time the water washed over the crest of the wrinkle, the wrinkle had already been wet for some time.  Now that you know this about me, it shouldn’t surprise you that I’m extremely excited about the deep freeze we just bought.  If you’re familiar with Doctor Who, perhaps you’ll understand why I’ve taken to calling it Grandma’s Tardis.  No, it isn’t bigger on the inside.  At least, not in the sense that it has more room than the outside indicates that it should.  But it can contain more exciting things than you would think it could just by looking at the outside.  Both of my grandmas had deep freezes.  We never did.  Well…not until today, that is.  My father’s mother always had blueberries in hers.  After all the hugging and hellos it was straight to the freezer where my brothers and I would each grab a Ziploc bag full and start thawing them in our mouths.  My mother’s mother kept strawberries in hers and visits to her house followed basically the same pattern.  In addition to the expected goodness there were always other surprises in Grandma’s Tardis.  Sometimes it was frozen yogurt.  Sometimes, when we spent the weekend, a large hunk of beef would come from the freezer and go into the fridge until glorious Sunday when it would be transferred to the crock pot so that we could salivate uncontrollably until supper time.

I want my children to come to love the deep freeze in the same way that I do.  I want to make some little cryo-nerds.  I’m going to cram that thing full of homemade spaghetti and pizza sauce made with tomatoes from our backyard garden.  Squash and zucchini succotash. Strawberries from my son’s little patch.  Of course, that depends on a five year old having the self restraint to not eat every berry when it shows the least hint of redness.  So…probably no strawberries.  But lots of other things.  I want opening a deep freeze in my house to be like the nazis’ (notice my lack of capitalization) opening of the Ark of the Covenant on Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Except without all the death and burning.  Just the light emanating from around the lid and then blasting to the heavens once it is open.  Wonder and curiosity about what amazing flavors might be pulled out of the steaming, frost filled little box that shouldn’t be able to contain as much nostalgia as it does. Or, in deference to my man (now woman) Doctor Who, Grandma’s Tardis contains more wonders than The Doctor’s Tardis could ever transport you to in all of time and space.

I bid you Adieu…and A don’t.

Adieu…appreciate the little things in life.  Even if those little things are large metal boxes with compressors and Freon and suck up the electricity preserving homegrown and sometimes store-bought goodness.

A don’t…forget to close the lid.  I’d hate for all your memories to thaw and spoil and be thrown away along with all the money you’d have to pay for electricity.

About Pants; For No Good Reason.

I’ve heard people mention the fact that it is odd to call one item a pair of something.  More than just pants are included in this. Pliers, scissors…perhaps other things.  Anyway, since I’ve heard it mentioned before, I hereby disclaim that this isn’t an idea that originated with me, it is rather an exploration of an idea I’ve heard.  And here it goes:

Logically, if we are going to call one pants a pair the indication is that pants have more than one of whatever it is from which the name is derived.  Therefore, since pants have only one zipper and more than two belt loops (fancy pants excluded, I refer only to simple, frill-free pants) the only truth we may deduce is that each leg of a pants is a pant.  That being apparently true, I wonder why they chose to name them by the pants.  Why not a simpler name such as below-midriff-concealing-device?  Or a maybe there was a more complicated name which has been shortened to “pants”.  Something like a-left-pant-and-a-right-pant-attached-to-a-gluteus-cover-with-built-in-loin-cloth-suspended-by-a-waist-band-with-included-loops-to-aid-in-retention-by-belt.

I think I just seriously digressed.

Have you ever noticed that every name ever applied to pants is plural?  Trousers.  Britches.  Drawers.  All plural.  So pant legs have also been known as a trouse, a britch and a draw.  Its a very bizarre thought to think. I wish I knew who it was that determined that pants are plural.  Some bureaucrat I suppose.  A stone age predecessor of the modern day, well, whoever decides the plurality of things.  Or maybe there is no such person.  Maybe it has already all been decided.

I bid you Adieu and A don’t.

Adieu…take the time to consider things not worthy of consideration. Sometimes it’s fun.

A don’t…judge me.  I’m not as strange as I sound.

A New Children’s Book, Soon to be (hopefully) A Phenomenon

If you only know me based on what you’ve read in my blog, you may be surprised to find that I would even be capable of writing an appropriate children’s book.  Despite any misgivings you may have, I assure you I am capable of such.  Allow me to bore you with my philosophy.

Ideally a book should unite families in calm togetherness that they may venture for a while outside the realm of worldly cares.  A book should teach new words, inspire questions, conversation and laughter without boring anyone (in the case of this book “anyone” refers to parents) to too many tears.

I believe these to be true of all books, however, thick novels are often most satisfying when enjoyed silently and may not be ideal for family time.  I also believe that whatever is written will be loved by some and hated by some.  With a massive world population, rampant drug use and new psychoses being diagnosed everyday, one could find a willing audience for any sort of shenanigans if one tried hard enough.  I say this as a sort of backup disclaimer.  In other words I could have said “My description of my book as a means for families to come together and laugh and learn and be entertained is in no way a guarantee that you will experience these things when reading my book with your family.  It is also in no way implied or inferred that if you don’t enjoy it you must be psychotic or filled with intoxicants.”

A brief description of the book here follows:

There isn’t much to be said.  The title says it all.  This is the story of a young boy who earns the nickname of Donkey Legs and then is knighted after accidentally saving the kingdom.  Being a children’s book, I tried to keep the plot fairly simply so as not to overwhelm and kill interest.  I tried to keep it from becoming too long and tedious. I hope I succeeded.  I did, however, end on a cliffhanger.  This is designed to inspire discussion about the ending and, hopefully, excitement for the next book, which will be available as soon as I sell enough copies of this one to be able to publish the next.

I would also like to mention that a portion of all royalties I receive from book sales will go towards programs whose goal is the enrichment and strengthening of the family, which I believe is the backbone of any civilization.  I will also work toward assisting families who are in need of food, clothing and etc.

It is time again to bid you Adieu and A don’t.

Adieu…Purchase the book to enjoy with your children and/or recommend it to someone who might like to enjoy it with theirs.  By doing so you’ll help me help families.  It is available at xlibris.com, amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com in paperback and e-book formats. If you like you can friend me on facebook for updates on new books and amusing generalities when the updates are few. Search for William Ennis if you find yourself inclined to do this.

A don’t…feel pressured to buy or share it.  I’m not a natural salesman and now feel guilty for this semi self-serving request.