Posts Tagged With: dog

Bad Advice Friday, 4-28-17

Oh my gosh. It’s Friday. So, I shall once more be dispensing bad advice As usual, the advice will stupendously bad. You know it will be so as I had overwritten the file with my previous answers and to re-answer. I mean how can you trust advice from a person who does that?

JBL asks: Will this be on the test?

Dear JBL: Yes, it will. Unfortunately, you don’t know what test. I strongly urge you to go to every school you can and take every test. If you don’t answer the question, you will get a zero for it. Indeed if you miss the test completely, you’ll fail the test and fail the course, and get kicked out of your university. And you paid a lot of money getting into that university. You won’t graduate. There will go your dream of becoming an astronaut and of being the first person on Mars. Oh, and here’s foolproof way of acing every test. Simply tattoo every fact and theorem you’ve run across onto your body. Now it’s quite possible, that the tattooed answer will be under your clothes. In this case, you’ll have to strip. If the teacher complains, say you’re allergic to clothes. If the answer is on your butt, ask the student behind you (See what I did there?) to read the answer. Ask nicely; manners are always in fashion.

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MA asks: Can yard bunnies do multiplication problems?

Dear MA: Oh yes. But they’re shy. They just don’t talk to anyone. You have to gain their trust. You have to get down to their level. This means crawling up to them and feeding them pellets. Rabbits are terrified if they talk to people as they fear by doing will stop the supply of pellets. So talk to them in a soothing voice. Tell them that you will provide gourmet pellets if they solve multiplication problems for you. This is known in economics as incentivizing the bunny.

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RAS asks: How do I teach my dog Trotsky to play chess?

Dear RAS: You must learn to speak dog. This is not as hard as it might seem given the smallness of the canine vocabulary when compared to English. Conjugating verbs verb in Dog is much easier than in Dog than in English and, my gosh, much easier than in French. To illustrate, for “Am Hungry.”

French:
J’ai faim.
Tu as faim.
Il a faim.
Nous avons faim.
Vous avez faim.
Ils ont faim.

English:
I am hungry.
You are hungry.
It is hungry.
We are hungry.
They are hungry.

Note there are six different conjugations in French: ai, as, a, avons, avez, and ont. English is easier with only three different conjugations: am, are, and is. However, Dog conjugation for “am hungry” has an elegant simplicity to it.

Dog:
Woof!

There are no cases for you (familiar or polite), for we, it, or they. That makes learning the dog vocabulary easy. Indeed the word, “woof,” is the words for literally dozens of nouns and verbs. Dog convey meaning by intoning their “woof” differently for each instance. You will need to practice your canine intonations and indeed, inflections as well. Get practicing.

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LF asks: Why can’t pigs fly?

Dear LF: They can! They can! You just need a big enough catapult. Try getting your catapult at CostcoTM; they carry everything. Get your catapult while you can. As of press time, there’s no government regulation about flinging pigs great distances in your neighborhood, but how long can that last given the government has seen fit to regulate commercial aviation.

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BRW asked: I point a red laser light at the neigbhor’s blinds when they are gone. The cats destroy the blinds chasing the red dot. Am I evil? (Taken from a meme.)

Dear BRW: Only if your neighbors are annoying. And if they’re annoying to you, they’re likely to be annoying to others on your street as well. In this case, wait until your irritating neighbors leave their house with lit candles. Point the laser beam at the candle. The cats will attack the red dot on the candle. The candle will fall to the ground. The rug will catch fire. The house will burn down. The neighbors will leave. (Gosh, neighbors is a hard word to spell. Another reason to see them go.) It’s much better to be proactive like this then to let your resentment against them fester into something serious. That benefits no one.

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LHH asks: Over the top, or under the weather: which is best for a Hump day? And are there differences by season?

Dear LHH: If you want to be over the top for weather, you need to go to the North Pole. But with global warming, you can’t guarantee solid ice for your lawn chair. On the other hand, you could be the first person to surf the pole. In contrast, you’ll under the weather at the South Pole. While the South is over a mile thick layer of ice, it is under the Earth. There is nothing underneath you. Nothing! You’ll fall. You see because of gravity, everything falls down. At the South Pole, there is no more down. The scientists at this pole meet this existential threat by constructing buildings. The ceilings on these upside down buildings prevent the people there from falling off the planet. The fear, however, persists as in this line from an angst-filled song, “Put our hands in the air like the ceiling can’t hold us.” Some polar scientists hew to a more devil-may care philosophy as evidenced by the line, “dancing on the ceiling.” If you must go outside when at the South Pole, you must, must wear boots with VelcroTM soles and stay on the Velcro paths. Otherwise, you fall off the Earth. This is true for Hump day, the other days of the week, and for the two seasons of day and night. The Laws of Physics never sleep.

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LF states: A question for Bad Advice Friday? I can’t think. (This is from memory. I overwrote the file where I answered this.)

Dear LF: Thinking is overrated. Millions of people in a few select professions never think, politicians and human billiard balls (A surprisingly popular sport) come to mind. But if you’re really having trouble thinking and would like to start again, I have two suggestions. First, join the French Foreign Legion. You’ll have plenty of undisturbed time to conjure up a thought as you’re marching under the hot Saharan Sun. However, as people join the Legion to forget, you’ll immediately forget what idea you created. But you will have started thinking again and that’s the main thing. Second, commit a crime, a crime so horrible that you will be spending years in solitary confinement. The serene, tranquil, undisturbed aura of your own is enormously conducive to thought. Try it and see!

Doctor Paul De Lancey

(Please click on my name and submit Bad Advice questions to my Facebook page and simply make a comment to this post. I look
forward to hearing from you.)

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Bad Advice Friday, 4-14-17

Today is once more Bad-Advice Friday. I shall be dispensing bad advice to all comers. The advice will stupendously bad.

PD asks: How do I get the cat to emulate a dog? He never meows anyway.

Dear PD: Male dogs like to lick their balls. Paint your cat’s nuts with liquid catnip. (The cat might resist for a bit.) Then feline instincts will take over and your cat will lick that catnip right off. Once the first step to dogdom is broken, adoption of other doggie traits will surely follow.

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LHH asks: When will my ship come in?

Dear LHH: Sad to say, you can’t count on a ship to dock at your town and have the captain come down the gangway and present you with the keys to the vessel. This is particularly so, if you live miles inland. Anyway, head to the port and buy the first cruise ship that takes your fancy. This will be your ship! Now mind you, cruise ships cost hundreds of millions, so saving is a must. You might find that you don’t have enough saved up. In this case, you’ll have to forgo such things as: lodging, clothes, and food. Indeed, you might to do without everything for decades, but don’t give up.. Stay true to your dream.

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ABG asks: What if I don’t want to get out of the pool?

Dear ABG: Who does? It takes a while to get used to the water and then it’s so cold when you get out. You need help. Simply hire a rodeo cowboy and a pilot with a helicopter. The cowboy lassoes you and the pilot ascends, lifting you out of the pool. You might even worry how the wind is blowing you repeatedly close to your house. But let’s not forget you’re out of the pool. Now it’s time for an after-pool cocktail.

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MA asks: Is there a way to find the Father of All Bombs?

Dear MA: Why yes, there is. First, go to your nearest air force base and ask to be let in. Ask politely or they won’t wave you through. Manners are always important. Should they ask why, tell the truth. You can’t imagine how many times spies, agent provocateurs (quite possibly spelled correctly), and terrorists lie to these guards. Your honesty will be just the fresh air needed to melt their suspicious hearts. Second, head to the shed where they keep the really big bombs. You are looking for the Father of All Big Bombs after all. Take that sledgehammer out of your vehicle and starting banging the heck of the bombs. (Note, while bombs are notoriously temperamental and apt to go off when hit by even the humble hammer, you can’t count on it. Do your research and find the bomb’s “E” spot, or “Explosive spot.) Anyway, hit those bombs as hard as you can with your sledgehammer. The bomb that flings your body the farthest will be the Father of All Bombs.

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PH asks: Mother a weed, father a weed … do you expect the daughter to be a saffron root?

Dear PH: No, no, you can’t, not even if you hire the finest genetic splicers. The best thing to do is glue saffron all over her. (Note, she might complain about that, particularly if she is a teenager.) Anyway, saffron is expensive, about $200 an ounce. Covering her all over with saffron might cost a half-million dollars. If you have that kind of money, your problem is solved. However, even if the most diligent searching for coins under the sofa cushions leaves you short, head to saffron-rich Tibet. Simply fly to India, hike across the Himalayan mountains, avoid the border guards, pick hundreds of pounds of saffron threads from the saffron flowers, carry your prize back across the Himalayas, and fly home.

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PH asks: If a man said to you, ‘A dog carried away your ear’ would you go after the dog or search first for your ear?

Dear PH: Oh my gosh, you’re told a dog carried away your ear and you want to waste precious time searching for it on your head? Do you wish to give the dog time to eat it, develop a taste for human flesh, and start a canine/culinary murder spree? Also, if you can retrieve that ear quickly you can get it sewn back own. Hurry, man, hurry. Chase after the nearest dog you see and pry open its mouth. Don’t let the fact that it’s a doberman or a pit bull scare you off. It’s your ear. If the dog happens not to have your ear in its mouth, apologize to its owner as manners are always important. Then take off after the next dog and so on. Good luck! I look forward to hearing from you.

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JW asks: Why?

Dear JW: I assume you are asking “Why can’t I find my car keys?” as this is by far the most asked why question. The short answer is that your car are not where you’re looking and vice versa. Clearly, you need more copies. I suggest one hundred car keys. Leave them all over your house, your place of work, and any stores you frequent. Be sure to leave details of your car such as make, year, color, and license plate on it. It would be embarrassing to come back to your local burger joint and pick a set of keys from the counter only to get to your cars and find you grabbed a set of keys belonging to someone else. Then your have to go back inside the joint and put those keys down, right in front of everyone. You look around, getting redder and redder. Finally, you find your 83rd set of car keys right where you were eating. By this time, everyone is laughing and you find yourself wishing you could merge your molecules into the wall. Don’t let this happen put your car’s info on every set of car keys. Now you know.

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WK asks: Did it ever say how many seashells Sally sold down by the sea shore?

Dear WK: As I learned the nursery rhyme while in school in Australia, the next line is, “But she shall sell her shells no more.” She’s not selling anymore. All of a sudden, we don’t know her name. She hasn’t shown up at beach since, despite the high demand for her designer sea shells from wealthy tourists. We can only conclude that she is in the witness protection program for testifying about seashore murder she saw. Which is unfortunate, as she is quite rich and is quite the looker. I recommend a door-to-door search across the country for her.

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DZ asks: I can’t stop the damned sports news updates from showing up on my Facebook trending topics, no matter how many times I dismiss them. It’s the only news I actually WANT Facebook to curate for me, and they won’t do it. Help me.

Dear DZ: You language is probably listed as American English with Facebook. America is sports mad. We have sports all year round. You’re not going to be able to avoid sports in your trending topics as long as your FB page is in American English. You will have to switch your page to an obscure language, one that is spoken by very few people. I recommend Chamicuro. Although it is spoken throughout the world, the total numbers of speakers is estimated at eight. How many professional sports teams could those speakers have? Yep, switch your Facebook page to Chamicuro and you’ll never see sports trending again.

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SF asks: If I ask a question = will you answer ?

Dear SF: ˙ǝɔıʌpɐ pɐq ǝʌıƃ oʇ ǝʌol ı ‘ǝsɹnoɔ ɟo ‘sǝʎ

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Doctor Paul De Lancey

(Please click on my name and submit Bad Advice questions to my Facebook page and simply make a comment to this post. I look
forward to hearing from you.)

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

 
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Bad Advice Friday, 2-17-17

aliceinwonderland

Today is Bad-Advice Friday. I shall be dispensing bad advice to all comers. The advice will stupendously bad. Even moderately sane politicians will say, “No, no, don’t follow this advice.” I would advise you not to follow this, but I am giving bad advice today.

JA asks, “When a woman asks, ‘Does this outfit make me look fat?’, what is the best way to leave the country to avoid trouble?”

Dear JA: Tell the woman her sister will be taking you to airport and the two of you will be at a beach in Fiji until she’s ready to be reasonable. Before doing leaving the country, try to learn by asking the next dozen you  women meet if they’re fat. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the effort you made.

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JR asks, “How much gasoline should I use to start a charcoal grill?”

Dear JR: Not more than your biggest gasoline can can hold. You don’t want to overthink things or you’ll never get anything done.

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DZ asks, Home ownership is a drag. I miss renting, and having a repairman on call to do the work and foot the expense of maintenance. Please advise.

Dear DZ: Put the biggest, nastiest stash of illegal drugs or explosives, your choice, you can find by the broken thingy. Then call the police about it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly the men in blue will show up. They’re thorough as well. They’ll take apart everything. Be sure to pay them, though. No one likes working for free.

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KD asks, “What should I do if I see a chicken trying to cross the road?”

Dear KD: Follow it. Hold you hands underneath as you do so. It might lay an egg into your hands. Don’t give up. Follow as long as it takes. Eggs are expensive.

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SC asks, “Should I cut the chain saw off to change the chain on it? (Someone actually asked my husband that when he worked at Lowes.)

Dear SC: Oh Heavens no, use an acetylene torch instead.

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SR asks, “Who is really the best person to set up that meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus for the President?”

Dear SR: Get someone from a minstrel show to approach the CBC. Be sure to get someone from a good minstrel show to do the talking. You don’t want to insult them.

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WK asks, “When I’m out in the rain, does the color of the umbrella I’m using make a difference?

Dear WK: Buy six different colors of umbrellas. Wait for the next rainstorm. Go outside and put them on the ground upside down. The umbrella that collects the least rain in an hour has the color that repels rain the most.

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JE asks, “How do I teach my lizard to wave?”

Dear JE: Hire a shock therapist. Lizards, while quick learners, are notoriously aloof and independent. Shock therapy will show the critter who’s boss.

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RS asks, “Can I teach my Dalmatian dog, Trotsky to read? He is 18 months old. He has trouble sitting still for longer than five minutes. Is that too early? What reading materials would you suggest for a playful young puppy?”

Dear RS: You gave your dog a Russian name. Now, it can only learn to read in Russian. Enroll your dog at KGB headquarters in Moscow. Don’t worry about your canine paying attention. The agency’s obedience methods are second to none.

Doctor Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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The Fart Primer

Our schools teach us how to solve quadratic equations. Our schools teach us how to compose essays on 19th-century English literature. They do not teach real-life survival skills. Specifically, they do not point out what foods make us fart. Say what you will about researching a prospective employer, all will go to naught if you bombard the interviewer with a barrage of deep and sonorous toots. Particularly if your blasts are stinky. So with the public welfare in mind, I present the following list. You’re welcome.

The worst fart causing foods are*:pintobeans

Bacon. Bacon! Bacon tastes great, worth any amount of farts.

Beans! What’s wrong with good ol’ reliable beans? “Beans, beans, the musical fruit . . . ”

Boiled cabbage. Smells like a fart when boiled. Still smells like a fart when farted.

Broccoli. There’s a reason President Bush didn’t like them.

Brussel sprouts. Must be tastier ways to construct a fart.

Candy: Especially if made with artificial sweeteners. Bad for the butt. Bad for the teeth. Bad at both ends.

Carrots: Improves your eyesight and more!

Cauliflower. Don’t let your dog eat this.

Cheese. Essential to modern cuisine, Italian, Mexican, you name it. Causes farts in countries around the world.

Collard Greens. Tasty if cooked right. Generates lethal farts either way.

Curry. The spice, not the actor.

Eggplant. Don’t let your dog eat this either.

Eggs. A versatile culinary ingredients. Eggs are essential to many fine dishes. Cooked by themselves, they are fart-making machies.

Fatty duck. Rendered goose fat is fantastic for making French fries. This dish is truly a doubled-cheeked sword.

French onion soup with cheese. Tastes great. The aroma changes on the way out, though.

Fried food, particularly fried chicken. Sometimes the taste is worth the consequences.

Frog legs. Why? Why? Why?

Lentils. Very vegetarian and vegan friendly. Not nose friendly.

Lutefisk. Smells horrible. Farting in a room with lutefisk will only make things smell better.

Milk. Especially if you have trouble breaking down lactose. Bowls of cereals, time bombs for the classroom.

Mushrooms. Slimy and fart causing.

Onion rings. Their taste will make guests want to come over. The farts will make them want to leave. Win. Win.

Pineapples. Visions of Hawaii. Odors of Hell.

Prunes. Makes you toot. Opens open your sluice gates as well.

Reconstituted beans. sulpher bombs. The ones backpackers use these on cross country trips. Your fellow trekkers will really believe they’re smelling a geyser or volcano.

Smoked oysters. Produce gourmet farts.

Snails with butter. Ew! Gross! Snails with anything are gross, expensive too. May I suggest beans?

Stuff canned in cottonseed oil. One of the food industry’s finest food-like products.

Tripe. Inards. Enough said. Stick with beans

* = Warning, results may vary.

 

Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available on amazon.com

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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“A Canine’s Guide to the Good Life” by Donna Cavanagh – Book Review

Canine'sGuide

Dogs steal our hearts. Dogs take control of our lives. In A Canine’s Guide to the Good Life, Donna Cavanagh, The Empress of Comedy, tells us how. Well actually, she got her dogs to relate their plans for world domination to her, but even understanding Dog is an amazing achievement.

And if you’re a dog, Donna and her dogs show you how to get a good owner. (Always let the human think she’s the owner.)

Then learn: how to order at a fast-food drive through, proper etiquette for vomiting, how to wear a seat belt, ways to look cool in a bandana, proper behavior in bed, techniques for spitting on windows, the best ways to greet people, and how to be polite. This useful book even doubles as a primer for raising teenagers.

Donna Cavanagh writes humor with a deft, light touch. I enjoyed A Canine’s Guide to the Good Life very much and recommend it highly.

See her book on Amazon.

– Paul De Lancey, reviewer

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Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

American Dessert

PEANUT BUTTER CHIP COOKIES

INGREDIENTSPeanutButterChip-

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces peanut butter chips
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater
1-to-4 cookie sheets (You might have to bake in batches.)

makes about 36 cookies

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take butter out of the refrigerator and let it soften. Use whisk to blend flour, baking powder, and baking soda in large mixing bowl. Place butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and peanut butter chips in second mixing bowl. Mix with electric beater set on cookies or medium high. Gradually add in the flour mixture from the first bowl. Blend thoroughly with electric beater set on whip or high. Fold in peanut butter chips. Mix with hands.

Roll dough into little balls about 1″ wide. Spray cookie sheets with no-stick spray. Leave a 2″ gap between peanut butter/dough balls. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cookies cool for 2 minutes before transferring with a spatula to wire rack or cold plate. Cool for an additional 5-to-20 minutes or as long as you can stand waiting.

TIDBITS

1) The ancient Incas used peanuts in their religious ceremonies. The Incas built a mighty empire. Thomas Jefferson raised peanuts. He went onto write America’s Declaration of Independence. As president he doubled America’s size with the Louisiana Purchase. America is still the only country to send a peanut to the moon.

2) Peanut is awesome! Get your cat or dog to take its medicine by covering it with peanut butter. P.b. is the best bait for mousetraps. Put peanut butter in the pan after frying fish. The fishy smell will go away. This amazing food cleans your furniture and gives your house a nice peanut-buttery aroma. Use peanut butter when your shaving; it’s good for your skin.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, food, history, humor, international, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Excuses For Late Homework

 1) Teacher, I wrote my homework on paper made of matter. While I was walking to school, my homework paper collided with homework paper made of anti-matter. Woowee! It was almost theSurlyPotatoes end of the universe. Thank goodness, it wasn’t, huh? Anyway, my homework and the anti-homework obliterated each other.

– (your name here)

2) My homework got contaminated with ebola.  Turning it in would only put you at great risk.

3) Plate tectonics, need I say more?

4) I was so tired when I did my homework that I inadvertently switched over to the ancient Incan language. Unfortunately, I don’t speak Ancient Incan, so I’ll need more time to redo it in English.

Surly potatoes

5) Lutefisk vendors moved into the neighborhood. Things got ugly.

6) I wrote my homework on edible paper. Then the dog ate it.

7) The dog ralphed the homework back up, but I figured you wanted something with clean, attractive margins.

8) My homework was erased from the hard drive by the NSA before I could print it out.

11) I took a shortcut to school through Boko Haram territory and they burned my homework in hatred for all Western teaching.

12) I got depressed over Sweden’s treatment in the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.

13) I’m living backward in time like Benjamin Button. I just haven’t unwritten it yet.

14) The mysterious forces that take single socks from the clothes dryer have switched to taking my homework.

15) Spontaneous combustion. Hoo boy! Good thing it didn’t happen while you were grading it.

16) I wrote it on ancient papyrus. London’s Museum of Egyptology wanted the papyrus back.

17) My homework got sucked into a black hole that’s parked outside my front door. Come in through the back if you want to speak to my parents.

18)  There were surly potatoes between me and my homework.

– Paul R. De Lancey, friend of students everywhere.

4novels

Check out my latest novel, the Christmas thriller, Beneficial Murders. My books are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com, As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: humor, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spotlight on Stacey Roberts, author of “Trailer Trash with a Girl’s Name”

Stacey Roberts

Chapter Two: A Bastard’s Thanksgiving…With a Side of Gravy

Uncle George was a bastard. I knew this because my mother always called him one, and she was specific with titles. My Uncle Stuart was a drinker, her business partner was a schmuck, and my father was a son of a bitch. Her business partner was never a son of a bitch, and my father was never a drinker, even when he drank. I could never aspire to be a schmuck, no matter how hard I tried. Uncle George was pigeonholed: once a bastard, always a bastard.

I even asked my mother: “Why can’t Daddy be a bastard?”

Mom: “Because he’s a son of a bitch.” Done. She was the FDA of human frailty – whatever was wrong with you, she knew it, and gave you a label.

Me: “So what am I?”

Mom: “You’re just like your father.”

Me: “So I’m a son of a bitch?”

Mom: “Go to bed.”

Uncle George the Bastard wasn’t a dictionary definition bastard – his parents were married – they were Irish Catholic and probably promised to each other at age five. He was the other kind of bastard, the colloquial kind, who despised bitches, niggers, spics, dogs, cats, kids, hebes, and my grandma.

He spoke only after long silences and thought good parenting was striking any misbehaving kid with whatever he could lay his hands on. You didn’t pee in his pool and you didn’t sit in his chair. You didn’t think for one second that your favorite TV show could possibly preempt whatever he was watching. You rode in the back seat of whatever he drove and when he told you to go fetch that thing over there and bring it back to him, you didn’t ask him, “Which thing over where?” unless you wanted to wake up sixty seconds later on the ground; you brought over all you could carry as fast as you could.

He had been a police sergeant when my father was on the force, back in the 1950’s, a decade and a half before they each met and married Jewish sisters. Uncle George the Bastard was the one who packed up my father’s shit when my mother threw him out of the house.

My mother had called her sister in a rage.

Mom: “Sis, that son of a bitch. Send George over here to pack up his shit and put it out on the curb. Sssssssssssssssss.”

She added a long hissing sibilant to the end of her words so you knew she was mad or making a point.

At this point, my Aunt Maxine (Sissy to everyone) did not do a number of things: She did not ask what Fred had done this time. She did not protest that George and Fred had been best friends since the Second World War. She did not say that George was busy eating, watching TV, beating one of his kids, degrading my grandmother, or complaining about Gerald Ford. She put down her quilting and pressed the phone to her breast.

Aunt Sissy (looking at Uncle George the Bastard): “George. Carol wants you to put Fred’s shit out on the curb.”

He looked back at her, his watery Irish blue eyes cold, falling into one of his deadly silences like an archer pulling back the drawstring on a bow. Sissy stared at him with coal black eyes and an implacable face only two generations removed from icy Polish farmland.

Aunt Sissy: “George. Just go now.”

I don’t know how Uncle George the Bastard felt about siding with family over his best friend, but he must have gone. My father’s shit did indeed hit the curb in 1976. I watched from the window, my mother standing behind me, her arms folded, her lips pursed.

Me: “Mom, what’s Uncle George doing?”

Mom: “Putting your father’s shit out on the curb. That son of a bitch.”

Me: “Why is his shit going out to the curb?”

Mom: “Because I’m not having it in this house anymore.”

My mother never answered the question being asked – she made it sound like we were out of room to store things or that my father’s golf clubs and underpants were toxic and slowly killing us all.

I asked “why the curb” because the back porch was closer, which would have made the job easier on Uncle George the Bastard. Apparently the use of the curb was part of some kind of 1970’s divorce ritual as stringent as leaning left at Passover or the wine-to-bread ratio of a Catholic mass. There was a system:

Step 1: Put the offender’s belongings on the curb.

Step 2: Change the locks.

Step 3: Leave a note:

Fred,

Your shit is on the curb.

You’re a real son of a bitch.

Carol

Step 4: Reassure the children.

Mom: “Layner, I’ve put your father’s shit on the curb.”

Step 5: Turn the children against the missing parent.

Layne the Favorite: “That son of a bitch.”

As a practical matter, it meant my father had to drive up our long driveway, go to the back porch, try his key, curse, read the note, hurl more expletives, drive back down to the street, collect his shit, swear eternal vengeance upon my mother, and depart.

Our street was a busy two lane road, so he had to park along the curb with his emergency flashers on so cars would detour around him while he packed up his shit. I’m sure more than one man driving by that scene felt some sympathy for him:

Anonymous New Jersey Man: “Oh, hell. His shit’s on the curb. That poor son of a bitch.”

***

Uncle George the Bastard was the king of Thanksgiving in 1980. He had retired after twenty years on the force and moved his family from Cranford, New Jersey, a mile from my house, to a farm in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, which was four hours away. That year was the first Thanksgiving we spent with them. Not sure why we couldn’t do it when the drive didn’t require pee stops, but I wasn’t in charge of anything at all until the early nineties, and then for maybe three days before I got married.

That Thanksgiving was the first time I ever had gravy. Can a good gravy change your life? This one did. Jews should reconsider gravy. We don’t use it for anything. It’s made from meat drippings and a thickening agent. It’s something you would normally throw away that instead gets resurrected and used. If we Jews had put gravy on trial before we pitched it out, it would be Jesus. In the genteel cold war between our religion and that of the Goyim, gravy is Easter.  It is nowhere close to what God had in mind when He freed us from slavery in Egypt to wander the desert, eat flat crackers, and wait a dozen centuries for the Cossacks to storm down from the hills and pee in our wells.

My mother can’t cook, and knows God is okay with that. If He thought His Chosen could prepare food properly, why all the dietary restrictions? Instead of saying, “Undercooked pork can kill you, so do it right,” He ordered, “No pork.” It implies a lack of confidence in our culinary talents. He could have said, “Cook two cubits of pork over a dry fire for five minutes.” Whatever a cubit is.

So, no pork. My mother is food obsessed, and believes herself to be a great Talmudic scholar in pursuit of the Lord’s plan. At my wedding, she ruled that there must be a kosher meal. The wedding planner offered fish. My mother agreed. All fish is kosher, she informed me, so we were good.

During my first Thanksgiving on the farm, I noticed my cousins passing around a weird porcelain boat.

Me: “What’s that?”

Cousin David: “Gravy.”

Me: “What do you put it on?”

Cousin David: (dreamily) “Everything.”

I took the gravy boat.

Mom (catching my eye): “SSSSSSSSSSStace. Don’t eat that crap.”

Me: “But it has its own special dish!”

We Jews love that sort of thing. Passover has its own segmented dish. Wine goes in special cups at Bar Mitzvahs. This gravy boat must have been a relic of one of the lost tribes of Israel, so I brought it back into the fold, covering turkey, stuffing, potatoes, corn, and cranberry sauce with it.

My brother, Layne the Favorite, obediently choked his food down dry. I was so covered in gravy I needed a bath when I was done. I asked my Aunt Sissy, who I now believed to be the world’s best cook, what was in her spectacular stuffing, which was so unlike any I had ever had.

Her face got bright red.

Aunt Sissy (through clenched teeth): “Nothing special.”

My mother, who never ate stuffing, looked at me wide-eyed.

Mom: “SSSSSStace. It’s stuffing. It’s bread. What’s wrong with you?”

My aunt hustled me from the table to scrub the gravy from my hair and shoes.

Aunt Sissy (whispering): “There’s pork sausage in the stuffing. If your mother knew she would just kill me. Or give me a title. Sissy the Corrupter. Something like that. You know how she is.”

Me: “It’s got a nice ring to it. I think I’ve got gravy in my belly button.”

Aunt Sissy: “I’m not gonna risk it over a side dish.” She wiped away a glob of gravy from the back of my left knee.

Me (also whispering and horrified): “But Grandma eats the stuffing. She loves it.” Grandma was very religious.

Aunt Sissy: “Grandma eats lobster too.”

Everything I knew about the book of Exodus hit me like a brick made from Nile river mud.

Me: “Lobster’s not kosher…”

Aunt Sissy: (shrugging) “Nope. How did you get gravy in your ears?”

Me: “You ARE a corrupter! Can you teach my mother to cook?”

Aunt Sissy: “No. No one can.”

Aunt Sissy: “Why are you crying? It’s just a little spilled gravy.”

 

About the AuthorStaceyPic

Stacey Roberts was born in a smoky hospital in New Jersey in 1971. Nine years later, he and his family moved into a Winnebago and traveled across the country. After several near-death experiences, they settled first in California and then Florida.

He attended college at Florida State University and University of Miami, where he received his B.A. in English Literature instead of Finance, which was a great disappointment to his mother.

He went on to get a Master’s degree in Early Modern European History at the University of Cincinnati, to which his mother said, “SSSStace. History? What do you need that for? What is wrong with you?”

His mother was right. He didn’t need it for anything, except to make arcane references about the Roman Empire or Henry VIII that no one else understands.

He founded a computer consulting firm outside of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1994, and resides in Northern Kentucky with his two brilliant daughters and their less than brilliant yellow dog Sophie.

TRAILER TRASH, WITH A GIRL’S NAME is his first novel.

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