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.

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

Part 1

Leave-takings and highway-side humor

It can be a dangerous thing to drive on the freeways. I don’t mean dangerous in the mortal sense. In that sense it can be dangerous to do just about anything. I refer to the danger of missing out on random experiences and chance encounters.

Allow me to back up before I begin. I recently planned a birthday trip for my wife, the caveats being it would be a place neither of us had been before, one activity would remain a secret and we would never, ever drive on a freeway.

I’m rather happy we took the poet’s advice, however, our paths diverged between corn fields and cattle ranches rather than forking in the woods.

Our drive began peacefully. There was singing along with the radio and idle conversation. We pointed out houses we liked or buildings that looked haunted. We slowed to a crawl as the highway ran through the main streets of small towns and sped back up again as single pump stations and one floor town halls receded in the rearview mirror. This became a cycle; nearly hypnotic. It was the third town we slowed down for that broke our trance and caused us to nearly laugh ourselves off the road. We passed a cinder block building fronting the road. It was painted white and, although I noticed no professional signage, it appeared to be a garage of some kind. Nothing funny about that, but as we drove by we saw, spray painted on the pillar between the roll up doors, the words “no public restroom” and under that “no peepee”. We laughed until we cried; a possible mortal danger to be encountered on any driving surface, I suppose. My wife found it funny for her own reasons, I didn’t ask because we were laughing together and that is all that mattered to me. I laughed because I wondered what on Earth could’ve happened to cause someone to hastily spray paint a “no peepee” warning on his place of business? Why not make a presentable, polite sign of some sort? And what sort of person patronizes a place that has this commandment hastily spray painted upon its façade? I surmise it cannot have been a single occurrence. If someone once urinates upon your building would you not simply run the offender off and grab some bleach? It certainly wouldn’t occur to me that this might become such a problem that I’d need a quick warning to curb further offenses. I say he must’ve often stepped out for a breath of fresh air to find some transient making use of his front door’s lack of facilities.

Shortly after this we stopped for gas and, after watching some folks fuel up their farm truck, I dubbed them country roughers. I did this not to poke fun at them. Farmers are respectable folk and much needed for our infrastructure to maintain itself. Farming is dirty work, though, and they looked as if they’d been doing much of it so, since the opposite of city is country, and we were out in the country, and since the opposite of slick is rough and therefore the opposite of slicker, rougher I called them country roughers. I think the statement I made to my wife was something along the lines of  “We just fueled up the van next to a couple of country roughers.” We had another good laugh and as it was dying to breathless fits of ab-burning giggles I submitted to her that I considered she and I to be a couple of suburban semi-smoothers. We hadn’t the ab strength left to laugh again. Maybe it just wasn’t funny.

We saw some windmills and other such. Old barns and horses and before we really realized it we were pulling in to the construction riddled limits of the city we’d come to visit.  They have a frontage road the likes of which I’ve never encountered before. The gps said to make a sharp left onto Kellogg road. There were two left turn lanes and I suppose I should’ve understood the physics involved in the assumption that the inside lane would’ve equaled a sharper left turn. In my defense, I’m not a physicist and my brain was coming down from several laughter induced endorphin dumps and so we had to turn into a gas station and then make a not-so-sharp right turn to get to our hotel. We realized then that the frontage road had, as my wife called them, “wonky” built-in U-turns so that the traffic lights could be avoided. On our many ventures from our room into the city she would advise me when to “wonk” left.

And of course, our room wasn’t ready quite yet. So we wonked out and ended up in Cowtown.

This completes part one.

I bid you Adieu…and A don’t

Adieu…take the slower route when you can. Maybe it won’t always be worth it, but when it is the memories you make can be priceless.

A don’t…stop to urinate upon the holdings of some poor entrepreneur. It’s not only rude, but in many municipalities, also illegal.

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.

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.