Perhaps Sasquatch Misunderstands Us More So Than We Him

I’ve had a fascination with Sasquatch/Bigfoot/Skunk-Ape type creatures ever since I read a book about them in third grade. That book left me a horrified mass of slimy flesh quivering under a blanket unable to sleep. I wasn’t even able to roll over because I was convinced that Bigfoot’s big face would be right there at the window waiting for me to roll over so he could, I suppose, scare me more than he already had. I realized that night how polite Bigfoot can be. He didn’t tap on the window or howl or crash through and get me. He just waited for me to roll over, which I never did because I knew he was there but somehow, unless I actually saw him, he wasn’t dangerous. Ah, to have the mind of a nine year old again…

This incident has had me thinking, subconsciously for the most part, ever since. Recently, though, I’ve had some very conscious thoughts about the creature/legend/whatever. I think what sparked it is the Bigfoot tree ornament I bought yesterday. He’s sparkly and smiling and looks rather friendly sitting on a shelf, waiting for Christmas. It just so happened that yesterday I also watched a documentary type show that followed some people on a hunt for a living creature. I was a little disappointed in it. Most of the show followed them on the trip out to Bigfoot territory, which, although not a candidate for statehood, looked every bit as wild and wooly as did Arizona Territory in the frontier days.

Upon reaching said territory, the adventurers simply drove around, stopping at any spot deemed likely by the expert in the passenger seat, to scream at Bigfoot. My wife (who is not opposed to watching Bigfoot documentaries, which raises her lovability levels much higher than the level she has already attained simply by being a wonderful wife/person/companion), and I began a dialogue about the possibility that Bigfoot was about to come out and say hi before people started screaming at him. We discussed the possibility that Bigfoot, being a creature that, at least physically, more closely resembles man than many other creatures, might also have some sort of language. Obviously, if he exists and has a language, we don’t understand it. Unfortunately no one has yet found any sort of Yeti Rosetta Stone. All we really know is that some people have heard some sounds they assume to be Bigfoot and so they replicate these in an attempt to attract Bigfoot.

Does it not then logically follow that, assuming the sounds that have been heard were actually made by Bigfoot, we could’ve misunderstood these sounds? Are we, by replicating them, annoying or offending Bigfoot into hiding? What if the sounds that I heard replicated on T.V. last night were originally made by an unfortunate Bigfoot yelling at his tramp of a wife whom he’d just caught with an Abominable Snowman? What if they came from a Bigfoot who had just been accosted by a large bear and the screams we now use to attract the Sasquatch actually mean “If you come over here I’ll kill you?” Certainly not conducive to a visit, especially if Bigfoot is the polite and kind creature I contend that he is based upon my third grade experience.

Better yet, what if the sounds we use were simply the rantings of a grumpy Bigfoot annoyed by the trespasses of some little Bigfeet? What if, when we howl at Bigfoot in the night, we are actually uttering some horrific Ape-Man insults. Like “Get your skunk smellin’ little Bigfoot butt out of my territory?”

What if we can’t find Bigfoot because we’ve mistakenly insulted him so much that he finds us unworthy of spending his time with?

Just a thought.

Maybe it is all our fault.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…continue to search for Bigfoot if you’re so inclined. It would be nice to be able to redeem our species in his eyes.

A don’t…holler things at him if you don’t know what they mean.

Human Cheese?

I at first thought that the vague wonderment that crossed my mind a few months ago was simply a silly idea that happened to pop into my head for unknown reasons. It crossed my mind that human milk, being no more or less biological and nutritious than the liquid sustenance produced by other forms of mammalian life for their young, could be manipulated in similar ways to manufacture other products. Most specifically I pondered whether or not human milk could be used to make cheese.

Don’t judge me. I had no intentions of acting on my ruminations and was actually a little disturbed that I had ruminated about it in the first place. Still, I happened to mention it to some co-workers. I enjoy the looks on their faces when I spout off randomly about the “bizarre” things I think about. On this particular occasion the ploy backfired and a co-worker, in an attempt to bewilder me as she had been bewildered, alleged to have found online a restaurant that served cheese made from human milk. It seemed perhaps the strange thought I’d had may be more than just the wonderings of a mind bored with the mundane.

I began to look into it a little further and found a few accounts of cheese and even ice cream having been produced from human milk. I didn’t research it enough to be able to confirm that any of these were true accounts. I didn’t read any reviews on taste or texture or any such things as that. All I did was confirm that the thought didn’t originate with me. Afterwards I began to develop some serious concerns.

Let’s assume that there exists a restaurant that serves human cheese. The first concern of such an establishment is to locate a lactating woman willing to sell her milk. Such a request must be extremely meticulously worded, especially in our country’s prevalent politically correct environment. Once such a request is satisfactorily devised and successfully deployed, many more concerns come into play. Chief among these being how do you compensate someone for such an odd and certainly uncomfortable endeavor. When the issue of pay is settled, many strictly culinary concerns come into play. How many years must be devoted to discovering how the diet of the woman providing the milk affects the taste of the cheese? What wine pairs well with it? How much makes up a serving? Is it a small dab on the side of a main course or is it in itself a dish? How much time and money are you willing to spend to answer these questions?

Then we get to the human aspect of it. Many people like knowing where their food comes from. Many restaurants use locally produced meat and vegetables and this goes a long way in building trust between eating establishments and eaters concerned about the quality of food they’re served. Would this not be much more the case when their food is made from a human by-product? How is this accomplished? Would the woman providing the milk be required to include her medical records with the menu? Would she personally greet those that had ordered her dish and inquire as to whether or not they are enjoying her cheese? And what diner wouldn’t experience some discomfort when confronted with such an inquiry?

I suppose an easier way to go about it would be to get a research grant and then develop some sort of human cheese in a spray canister. All personal aspects are thereby removed from the end recipient making it more likely that a higher number of people will try the product. Milk would also be easier to come by, I assume. It seems to me a woman might be more willing to donate some milk for science than to make a career of milking herself for a restaurant.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…be adventurous when you eat…to an extent you are comfortable with.

A don’t…get a research grant. Please. It wasn’t a suggestion. It was my way of ridiculing the idea of using human milk for anything other than it’s intended purpose of nourishing babies.

Living Jack-O-Lanterns; In Answer to Why I Say Why Not.

The picture above is of a budding pumpkin. It is the first to have appeared in my garden and is of a variety that boasts the ability to grow to upwards of half a ton if properly cultivated. I don’t hold any misconceptions about my first attempt being successful at growing it to maximum size, but my research shows that this variety of pumpkin consistently produces fruits that weigh a few hundred pounds. If I can successfully grow just an average pumpkin of this variety, which I now realize I haven’t mentioned is called Dill’s Atlantic Giant, it should be sufficient to satisfy my goals.

Goal one is to make a living Jack-O-Lantern. I’ll hollow it, carve it, coat the inside with something to control the slime factor, then place my kids inside with flashlights. Not only will I have the first ever (as far as I’m aware, anyway) living Jack-O-Lantern with the potential for responsive lighting, I’ll also have the first Jack-O-Lantern that I know of with intuitive sound effects. I think that the kids will enjoy this greatly. They can pop out and scare people and just have a generally entertaining Halloween experience.

Goal two is to figure out what to do with the pumpkin shell after the holiday. I need an idea that doesn’t involve carrying it anywhere. So far I’ve entertained a few ideas for using it as a planter. I could either coat it with some sort of resin and attempt to make a permanent pot or just fill it with dirt and let it serve as a planter that will also provide some food to the plant I plant in it as it rots away.

Perhaps, if my neighbors don’t begin to complain, I can turn it into some sort of time lapse art project. Or it could serve as a combination bird bath/street side urinal for the homeless. This is the least desirable of all, so I hope one of the other ideas will work.

I likely wont have to worry about any of this at all because my green thumb is more brown with a greenish tinge.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…try new things even if you expect only very limited success.

A don’t…pee in my pumpkin if I am somehow successful.

It’s Only August. Let’s Talk About Halloween.

I know it is early, but I went to Big Lots and they already had a whole section of Halloween stuff out. Some of it was pretty neat and we almost bought a few things. But…It’s so early. Still, I feel something creepy stirring in my soul and it is darkly wonderful. So here we go.

My wife showed me a post of a Tombstone pizza truck that crashed and spilled what looked like thousands of pizzas all over the freeway. I laughed about it and commented on how it would’ve been much more ironic had the incident occurred near a cemetery and you’d have graves covered in Tombstone pizzas. It may sound disrespectful, but if I have any sense of the mortal realm after I’ve passed and someone finds a Tombstone pizza on my grave, I’d laugh my dead hindquarters off. I suggested to my wife that our Halloween tradition be that we eat Tombstone pizza on the grave of a loved one on that hallowed eve. She disavows knowledge of our marital vows. As well she should. I didn’t bother to finish my thought by suggesting that we bake the pizzas not on a pizza stone but on a tombstone.

We apparently started decorating for Halloween a bit early. Also quite accidentally. I tried to take a picture but my phone is closer to a dumb phone than a smart one and so it has a poor quality camera. Since I can’t show you, I’ll paint a picture with words. My children were throwing dolls in the front yard as I weeded the flower beds. They were having quite a time laughing and chasing plastic people. On more than one occasion I pulled a doll down from a low-hanging branch. I began to tire of this distraction and advised them that the next doll that got stuck in a tree would become sole property of the tree to have and to hold until the next violent storm shook it loose. As is often the case, they ignored me and before they knew it my seven year old’s favorite Moana doll was hanging by a few strands of hair from a rather high branch of an ugly tree quite close to the street. It looks very Halloweeny. The doll’s legs are raised halfway and it faces the street looking quite like the victim of some ritual murder. Like the leprechauns found out she was a witch or something. Right out there for all the neighbors and passersby to see. I’m disinclined to remove it and not only because of the promise I made to the kids. I’m also entertained by the fact that my neighbors won’t understand. You see, they also don’t understand why I’m perturbed when their dog gets over the fence and bites my dog. Who cares what they think?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…celebrate Halloween whenever you feel like it. It is a state of mind as much as it is a holiday.

A don’t…celebrate it enough that it loses its special magic.

 

Guard Mastiffs; A Paradox

We recently bought a small sign that hangs on our front door. It says “Guard Mastiff On Duty” and has a depiction of an English Mastiff’s face on it. It makes me laugh every time I see it. While the sign (and Stella’s bark) might be effective if anyone who isn’t familiar with Mastiffs tries to rob us, any future felon familiar with the breed wouldn’t be intimidated in the least.

My giant dog is a giant wimp. I’ve posted before about her lack coordination. Let me now explain how fearful the poor thing is.

We got her as an adult dog from a friend of mine whose fence is more fashionable than it is functional when it comes to containing dogs the size of farm animals, so I can’t speak for what may have happened in her puppy years that may have traumatized her. Our first indication that we had adopted a ‘fraidy dog came a few weeks after we brought her home. She had already sufficiently overcome the expected fear of a new place and new family. She was waiting comfortably on her bed in our laundry room when we came home from the store one day. I had seen a large cat in the backyard when we pulled in the drive and I was anxious to see if she would be willing to chase the thing away. Please note, it wasn’t cruelty that drove my curiosity. My wife is allergic to cats and while I’m not one to unnecessarily inconvenience animals I feel that the needs of a human being take precedence over those of an animal. That being said, I let Stella out the back door and stood close by, watching, just in case she took the job of clearing our yard too personally. I needn’t have worried. In addition to being afraid of cats, our Stella is less than observant. It was nearly a full minute before she even noticed the creature. When she did she let out a deep and intimidating woof. The cat didn’t even react. It just kept sniffing around the kids’ gardens. Stella stuck her tail straight out and stalked to within about ten feet of the cat and barked again. The cat turned around and a massive Mastiff turned around and ran so fast and so footloosely that she barely stopped before crashing head first into the garage. She barked again, weakly, and trotted back into the house, nearly knocking me over.

Her running past me through the doorway seems surprising now since if I want her to stay in the laundry room, usually because we are eating dinner and she is eye level with our plates and not shy at all about sharing our food whether we are feeling generous or not, all I have to do is prop a broom against the wall just inside the laundry room door. She is horrified to walk past it. She’ll stare at it and whine from the back of the room and the second I move it she bursts in like she owns the place.

Our first Christmas season with her was interesting. We had our tree up and once, after dropping the girls off at school I returned home with the precocious five year old boy. Stella greeted us at the door, and, wagging her tail ferociously, knocked several ornaments off the tree. My son had run toward the street and as I hollered at him to stop, the ornaments began to hit the floor. Stella startled and charged forward, knocking me on my back as I desperately grabbed at her collar. For several short eternities I lay on my back, clinging with all I had to the worn bit of cloth that was all that restrained a monster from running amuck as I screamed at the youngster I could no longer see to get back to the house before he was killed. Somehow it all turned out ok. I wonder what if the neighbors noticed the disasters nearly averted that day?

Despite her uselessness as a guard dog she is quite adorable sometimes. I’ll try to walk by her as she lays on her side on the floor and she’ll paw at my ankle, nearly tripping me because she wants to be petted. Other times she lays her head on my lap and I’ll scratch her shoulders. Once it relaxed her so much she leaned against the ottoman. It slid, she fell, quite entertaining. She opens the door with her face when we come home. As soon as we crack it wide enough a huge, wet nose pokes through and she’ll jaw the thing open and block our entry in her excitement to say hello.

Her endearing qualities scored her a supporting role in the children’s book I wrote. If you’re interested, or know a young reader who might be, you can find “How Sir Donkey Legs Became a Knight” in paperback or ebook format on Google, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and xlibris.com on their online bookstore. You can also connect with me on Facebook. I use the username William Ennis. Everyone is welcome. Know that a portion of all money I receive from sales of my book (soon to be books) will go to programs dedicated to the enrichment and strengthening of families.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…love dogs, or any pets, for their endearing qualities even if they fail in other areas.

A don’t…judge me for plugging my book. I won’t be offended if you call it a silly thing. Also a don’t…think I’ve forgotten that Schnauzer. He’s scheduled to appear in the third book of the Sir Donkey Legs series.

Happy Birthday Honey or Why Didn’t She Kill Me and How I Almost Got Us Killed; A Story in Seven Parts

Part 7

An Ending And Almost Many Endings

Finally!

I’m as ready for this recounting to be over as anyone who has been following the story. Let me tell you the story of how I almost died. And almost killed my wife. And our car. And possibly a few other people. And then drove well under the limit for about twenty miles so that any witnesses would pass me and put many miles between us.

We vacated our hotel room and found the outside ambience to be quite pleasant and we took comfort in that. We were hobbits (by this I mean we were “off home”) and if we had to go back home, me to my horrible job and her to having to live with me after coming home from my horrible job, at least we could drive home under partially cloudy skies with a beautiful breeze and no rainy looking stuff on the horizon.

We encountered something much worse than weather. Our gps. Apparently it had no idea there was construction going on and every time we turned off to follow the detours it would become huffy and demand that we turn left through those orange and white barrier things they set up to prevent you turning left. Then it would recalculate and order us to U-turn or perform some other illegal traffic maneuver. If you’ve ever used a gps you’ll likely understand. It just goes to reinforce my opinion that we’ve become too dependent upon technology, but I won’t preach about that.

When we finally got out onto a highway we remembered we just shut the thing off and drove. It was a repeat of the trip out with the radio and talking and pointing out things we’d missed on the initial trip. We stopped again in the town in which we’d encountered the country roughers from the first trip post. There was an intriguing sign we’d seen for a place called Hidden Hollow and we had determined to stop on the way back. So we did. And it was all we expected. A hollow not visible from the roadway, hence the name, with a gazebo and a statue carved from a standing tree stump and winding paths that led around these things and back into a wooded area that ended in a small pool that disappeared, or perhaps exuded from, underneath a large outcropping of rock. There were several fry visible in the water and a blue dragonfly seemed to be leading us to the end of the path. It would fly ahead of us, alight upon a branch and then take off again as we got closer. Just a bit of nature that happened to coincide with our approach, surely, but in the serene surroundings it felt like a bit more than it was. The photo attached is one my wife took and I’ve long held the belief that she should sell postcards. If you agree please let me know. I know this is a lot to ask, you not knowing of more than a single piece of her work, but if you at least like this one it’ll make her day to know about it.

We stayed for fifteen minutes or so, just long enough to break up any blood clots that may have been forming during our long sit in the car, then got back in the car and were once again hobbits. The gps tried to put us on a toll road and in the midst of our trying to avoid that we somehow missed a turn and ended up taking a very very back way home. At one point we were at a stop sign and the gps said slight left onto whatever road we needed to be on. I didn’t see that the slight left was across the highway. I also didn’t see the “DO NOT ENTER” and “ONE WAY” signs. The things were fifty feet down the highway! Not right at the intersection! I didn’t see the other roadway across from it! I turned the wrong way down a one way only 65 mph highway! And didn’t notice it until my wife began screaming and pounding the dashboard. I suddenly saw the signs, which by then were quite visible, and pulled off into the median. I considered just driving through it, but that’s illegal, so I just waited out the traffic and did a U-turn and performed the actions described in the first paragraph. I was paranoid the rest of the way home that the Highway Patrol was tracking me from town to town. I perspired from my arm pits the rest of the trip and again almost killed my wife with the foul odor of stress sweat.

Thankfully we made it home, alive and well-ish and our dogs were quite happy and so far we’ve lived happily ever after.

I bid you Adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…let me know if you like my wife’s picture.

A don’t…tell the Highway Patrol that it was me.

Happy Birthday Honey or Why Didn’t She Kill Me and How I Almost Got US Killed; A Story In Seven Parts

Part 6

The Food

There are two facts about our trip to Wichita that compete rather closely with each other for the title of “My Favorite Wichita Fact”. The first, and borderline winner, is the fact that my wife didn’t kill me over the sewer grate. See previous post if this confuses you. The second, which logically shouldn’t even come close to beating out the fact that I left Wichita alive, is the fact that Wichita has many well-staffed non-chain eateries. I do subscribe to the philosophy that good food is equal to happiness and contentment. Or at least that good food contributes much to those aforementioned qualities, thereby giving my surviving the trip a run for its money as my favorite fact. After all, what good is surviving if you aren’t pursuing happiness?

Enough of all that, though. On to the good stuff. My wife and I made a pact that we would eat at no national chain during our weekend away. We did break this vow twice. Shame on us, surely, but there were times we stuck to the pact so spectacularly that it cancels out our betrayal of our own selves.

First there was TJ’s Burger House. We stopped there after attempting to try a ramen joint in the older part of town. Our efforts to procure Asian soup were foiled by the joint’s apparent popularity and lack of parking.  Good for them, I suppose, but not so good for us. Or so we thought. When we found a spot in front of TJ’s we decided it was a universal indicator that we should patronize the place. We did. We are happy we did. The dining room was quite roomy and the grumpy waitress wasn’t really as grumpy as she seemed. She was a bit gruff when we arrived, but we came to realize that, though outwardly she seemed dour and downtrodden, she was quick to laugh and very polite. I did appreciate the fact that she wasn’t overly friendly. I also appreciated that she brought me a very good burger. Not the best I’ve ever had but very very far from the worst. It was well cooked and tasty.

We  broke our pact that evening and had Pizza Hut delivered. Also a good choice even if it did deprive us of a locally-owned dinner.

Breakfast on Saturday happened at Jimmy’s Diner.  The waitresses wore poodle skirts and bows in their hair. The chicken fried steak was the best I’ve ever had and chicken fried steak is my go-to breakfast diner choice. The grits were of a good quality and, unlike the canister of grits in my cupboard, you could tell by taste that Jimmy’s grits were made from corn.

Lunch after the zoo (the one with the offensive chimps and violent fowl from a previous post) took place at Da Cajun Shak. This was the only place we had specifically planned on visiting when we planned the trip. As at TJ’s the waiter seemed a little gruff at first. Upon interacting with him further we realized that not only was he actually Cajun and concerned with providing great service, he was extremely friendly. The menu had many interesting options. I finally settled for the fried gator po’boy. I live by the saying “When in doubt, have a sandwich.” A weak saying at best, but that afternoon it proved its validity. The sandwich was nothing but bits of breaded and fried alligator on a roll of some sort with a sauce of some spicy/creamy sort on the side. I ate the whole thing without the sauce and I didn’t feel like anything was missing. My wife had chicken Lafayette. A much more complex dish and almost as amazing as the sandwich I had.

We had national pizza chain leftovers for dinner that night. Good, but still national chain.

We slept in on the last day of our trip and by the time we had checked out of the hotel, it was brunchish/lunchish time. We agreed to just head for home and stop if we saw something that looked good. We spent nearly an hour following our gps through switchbacks and u-turns and hadn’t even gotten past the Wichita suburbs when we saw a place called Spangles. It was a local chain 50’s themed diner/café type thing. I ordered a gyro, my wife some chicken sandwich. We sat before a life-sized Elvis effigy that appeared both mid-hip-gyration and mid-croon. Soon a team member advised me there was no gyro sauce within a 15 mile radius. A gyro without tzatziki is merely a beef or lamb roll-up, so I instead had a burger, which I think was the better choice anyway. I offer my thanks to that particular branch for being out of sauce that day. I left them what I hope they understood to be a very nice comment card and we went home to a land of food that we know and therefore, though they are good, they don’t feel so adventurous.

I bid you Adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…visit any of the places I’ve described if you visit, or live under a rock in, Wichita. They were all worth it.

A don’t…forget about the ramen joint. If you ever happen to find a way to get in the door, I’d like to know how it was.