Posts Tagged With: hot dogs

The Wonder Dog

This story was based on two sources. First, my dad who served his country in World War II  did his basic training in Louisiana, He said soldiers would throw snowballs at the platoon ahead of them as they marched off to the mess hall. He must have told me this story when I was quite young as snowballs during a Louisianan summer didn’t bother me. Or perhaps I misremembered  the story. Second, someone, decades ago, told me how a resourceful officer came across some abandoned hot dogs in a shed food and in a moment of admirable economy served the dodgy franks to the men on the base. The rest of the story is my imagination.

* * * * * * * * * *

We won the war. We brought the Nazis to their knees, not some namby-pamby foot soldier who probably counted dodging Spam thrown in the mess halls as combat experience. Yes sir, it was me and the airmen of Okeechobee. Young man, I’m gonna tell you our story.

Okeechobee, Florida then was only known for its millions of bugs; huge bugs the size of baseballs. But it was there, in 1944, that the Army set up the 800th Bomber Group, captained by Henry Pizarro.

Well, we were out in the middle of nowhere in a state often forgotten by the rest of the Union. Supplies never did get to us in a regular manner. Sometimes we’d go weeks without any supplies. Sometimes, we got a lot of stuff we didn’t really need. One week they sent us one million scarves, and 22,187 bird feeders stamped “U.S. Army bird feeder, Red-Headed Woodpecker Only.” Antonio Cedeno, Army Head Scratcher First Class, scratched his head and said, “That’s army for you.” Oh, we also received eight hundred tons of papayas. It seemed that although our nation’s scientists were still failing with the general concept of refrigeration, they had miraculously found a way to refrigerate papayas several months ago.

Well, around August, we had run out of all food but papayas for two months, and no one wanted to eat bugs. Hell, the bugs had been biting us so much that some of us figured we’d be cannibals if we’d eat them. So, we approached Lieutenant Kelso, who was in charge of food supplies. Kelso said that he was mighty sick of papaya soup and papaya burgers. He said he’d raise heaven and earth to find some new food.

The next day we heard a terrible ruckus all around us. Every flea-bitten mutt in the flea-bitten state of Florida was barking, yelping, yipping, and scratching his balls. Sergeant Niekro went out to investigate. Apparently, Kelso planned to use these dogs to sniff up some food for us.

Well, I decided to follow the dogs. They headed away from the mess hall as even dogs get tired of papaya biscuits. Those mutts made a bee line toward the swamp where bugs felt particularly secure and ornery. Way in the distance I could make out that huge ominous, gray, metallic building so forbidding that even the chaplain called it “the Hut of Hell.” The Hut of Hell housed our chemical supplies, used oil drums, and various pleasant poisons.

Those dogs just ran to the Hut and barked something fierce. Kelso, opened the door and immediately the dogs keeled over in agony. Kelso doubled over and proceeded to vomit big yellow chunks of papaya loaf. Sure, it was up to me, Robert Carbo, the man with the big sniffer. I dodged a stream of papaya spew from Kelso and went inside.

As God is my witness, I have never seen so many hot dogs in my life. These hot dogs were arranged in huge columns. Each column was twelve feet long by ten feet wide and stretched at least fifty feet up to the ceiling. There were thousands of these majestic columns.

Well, perhaps not majestic, more like tons of decaying, larva infested, grayish-green beef shapes. How long had they been sitting in that metal building in Florida’s fine, humid, 120-degree weather? However, stench worse than Private Aparicio’s pits after a twenty-mile hike, prompted to me continue this thought outside. I wrenched my boots free from some hot-dog ooze and bolted outside.

I carried Kelso all the way back to the infirmary. Unfortunately, our doctor was away in Miami picking up popsicle sticks off the sidewalks as we had run through our last shipments of tongue depressors. Corporal Johnny Conigliaro, a quack in civilian life, prescribed a dose of deadly nightshade, a rather poisonous, purplish flower. Kelso nearly died from this treatment but did not complain, saying, “It’s worth risking death to eat something that’s not yellowish orange.”

A week later Captain Pizarro, arose from his desk and put on his papaya-woven flak jacket and walked to the mess tent. The cook had outdone himself with a gourmet feast. We started off with a snappy papaya fondue and a Waldorf salad where the apples, celery, walnuts, and mayonnaise were substituted with papaya, papaya, papaya, and papaya sauce. For the main course he regaled us with a choice of: barbecued papaya sandwiches on papaya bread with a papaya sauce or chicken cordon bleu, where instead of chicken, ham, gruyere cheese, breading, and butter, he substituted papaya, papaya, curdled papaya juice, papaya crumbs, and melted papaya. For dessert we could choose either the papaya balls or the papaya flavored ice cream made with creamed papaya instead of cream. We washed down this feast with good ol’ papaya juice.

Captain Pizarro surveyed the yellow-orange expanse and announced that we were going to eat those hot dogs or die. Pale-faced Lieutenant Kelso staggered to his feet to voice his support before pitching forward into a huge bowl of papaya-bisque soup. Corporal Conigliaro timidly suggested that eating rotting hot dogs might kill us, or worse, give us diarrhea. Sergeant Gagliano put both of his powerful hands on Conigliaro and volunteered the Corporal for the honor of tasting the hot dogs.

Conigliaro said that although he was aware of the immense honor, he was reasonably sure that army regs stated that a certified medical doctor had to test all suspect foods. He was only an unregistered quack and so, respectfully declined.

It appeared that some stupid health regulation written by some desk-bound, pencil pusher in the Pentagon was going to deny us this wondrous, alternate source of food. However, our Sarge immediately volunteered Private Romero, a veterinarian, to taste the frankfurters.

Bilko accepted the assignment but said that he was such a good vet that he could determine the quality of the franks just by looking at them. He headed straight to the Hut of Hell, stopping only at the infirmary to put on a gas mask. Moments later he returned, ashen and trembling, stating that they were safe to eat. Though I did hear him mumble as he headed back to his tent hot dogs should not display internal movement. The other airmen just heard our cook announce hot dogs for tomorrow’s lunch.

Around eleven o’clock cookie started boiling the franks. Fortunately, a strong wind from the south blew the fumes away from the camp toward the town of Lake Harbor. About that time in an unrelated incident, Bert Taylor, a tea tester from that town, suddenly pulled his own head off and died.

We all lined up at the mess tent to eat our hot dogs in shifts of one hundred which was also the number of gas masks on hand. Well, the first shift manfully ate their hot dogs and immediately fell to the floor suffering from violent convulsions. Then Private Owchinko’s stomach burst open flinging his guts all over the mess hall. Soon, everyone’s guts erupted just like cooking popcorn. Owchinko turned his hideously contorted face toward me and said, “Dang, at least it wasn’t papaya.” He then died with a look of complete serenity on his face; well, at least as serene as one could get with an exploded stomach.

We carried the men outside and buried them properly. We put on all their tombstones, “He wouldn’t eat papaya.” Since bullets were scarce at our base, we gave our departed comrades ten hot-dog salutes. Most of these franks exploded in air giving off the same noise as rifle shots. However, some didn’t explode until they hit the ground. One hot dog, in particular, landed on a latrine and exploded, scattering its contents for hundreds of yards. Private Franco noted that the smells of the latrine improved the smell of the hot dog. However, Captain Pizarro displayed true genius when he stated these franks could be terrible weapons of war.

We drifted along in papaya hell until we received orders to fly over to Europe. The Germans had just broken through our lines in a massive offensive now known as the Battle of the Bulge. Disaster loomed and every airman was needed. We armed our bombers with our hot dogs, which now had been rotting for an additional four months in the hot, humid Hut of Hell.

Our 800th Bomber Group arrived just as the Germans seemed poised to overrun the heroic defenders of Bastogne. None of our infantry or armored divisions could get to them in time. None of the other bomber groups could get off the ground due to bad weather. However, we could and we did.

We bombed the hell out of those Nazis. A Tiger tank can take a direct hit from a Sherman tank just twenty yards away and drive away only mildly annoyed, but just one hit from our franks just ripped those tanks to bits. Down they fell, ton after ton of freedom franks. The foul, poisonous vapors from the exploding dogs suffocated the supporting German infantry. Our hot dogs created a huge hole in the German lines into which poured General Patton’s troops. Patton, that glory hog, claimed full credit for the American victory at Bastogne.

However, we knew better and so did many others. In fact, Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain praised us saying, “This was their finest meat product.”

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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Shuco, The Guatemalan Hot Dog

Guatemalan Entree

SHUCO
(Hot Dog)

INGREDIENTSShuco-

1 yellow onion
⅛ head cabbage
2 chorizo sausages
4 foot-long hot dogs (or as long as you can get)
2 loganizas (white sausage, linguica)
¼ pound thinly sliced bacon
¼ pound thinly sliced ham
¼ pound thinly sliced salami
½ cup guacamole
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
4 foot-long hot dog buns or 4 baguettes or 8 regular hot dog buns*

* = You may need to cut the sausages to fit the regular hot dog buns.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

electric grill

PREPARATION

Dice onion. Shred cabbage. Slice chorizos, hot dogs, and loganizas in half lengthwise. Put cabbage with enough water to cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes or until cabbage is tender.

Grill bacon, chorizo, hot dog, and loganiza halves on medium heat or at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes or until they look done. (Start grilling chorizo sausages and loganizas with casing side down. Flip them carefully.) Turn as often as necessary to avoid burning meat. Grill ham and salami for 1 minute. Flip meat slices after 30 seconds. Toast buns on grill or in toaster..

Place a chorizo, hot dog, and loganiza half on each bun bottom. Top with bacon and ham and salami slices. Sprinkle each bottom bun with equal amounts of onion and boiled cabbage. Spoon an equal amount of guacamole, mayonnaise, mustard and hot sauce over each top bun. Assemble top and bottom buns to make a delicious feat.

TIDBITS

1) This is the first tidbit.

2) As I recall, shuco means “dirty.”

3) All cooks, in addition to being hotties, are extremely organized and neat. So, calling this dish dirty is unfair. Perhaps some ancient royalty dropped his shuco on the ground and it got dirty. Indeed, some culinary historians think the king, being an oaf, ate the dirty shuco. Three of his nearest courtiers laughed at him. He had them beheaded. The fourth nearest courtier–We know his name. It’s Xatal.–started to laugh. Being a quick thinker, he changed and pretended to clear his throat.

4 The time limit for ancient Mayan royal secrets is 1,500 years. That limit lapsed exactly at the time I typed “pretended” in the previous tidbit. So, I know now the king’s name was Bongo. King Bongo played the bongos. Count Bassie originally toyed with playing bongos but didn’t wish to play second fiddle to Good King Bongo.

5 Some culinary historians take issue with the title Good King, pointing to the frequent executions he ordered.

6) Anyway, Xatal, who has been waiting patiently since tidbit 3 to play his part in culinary history, cleared his throat and said, “Good King Bongo is a medical genius as well as a brilliant musician. There is iron in dirt. Iron makes you strong. Let us all follow his illustrious lead and become strong by eating dirty hot dogs. Hey let’s call them shucos in honor of his son, Prince Shuco.”

7) The ancient Mayans threw their shucos on the ground, ate them, and grew strong. And these strong men formed strong armies and these strong armies conquered lands as far as the eye could see. King Bongo had really good eyesight and liked to stand atop his tall pyramids, so they conquered lots of really far away lands.

8) King Bongo’s eyesight was so keen that many culinary baseball historians think he could have been a better hitter than even the great Ted Williams if his highness had only been born in the 1920s. It’s frightening to think how many World Series the Boston Red Sox could have won in the 40s and 50s if they had had both Ted Williams and King Bongo in their lineup.

9) But the ancient Mayans, although being cracker-jack astronomers, never developed the time machines. Their princes grew up to be kings, not ball players. They’d bash in skulls in battle, not bash balls over the fence.

10) This happy state of Mayan conquest lasted for centuries for their warriors were strong from the iron in the dirt of their dirty hot dogs. In 1540, the Mayan Empire suffered a dirt shortage. Their warriors became weak. In 1541, the Spanish conquistadors attacked. The Spanish were strong from the iron they got from eating sautéed liver. The issue was never in doubt.

11) Vitamins and supplements became widely available to the populations of the world during the twentieth century. Countries that had had no access to Guatemalan suchos or were too disgusted by sautéed liver to eat it were suddenly able to get enough iron to raise armies of strong men. This is why we had two world wars in the last century.

12) Today’s Guatemalan shuco contains nothing but fine ingredients and is one of the ten best hot dogs of the world. Be strong!

– 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

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Colombian Hot Dogs

Colombian Entree

HOT DOGS

INGREDIENTSHotDogs-

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
1 tablespoon lime juice
2½ tablespoons cornstarch
8 hot dogs
8 buns
1⅓ cup coleslaw (see recipe)
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
7¼-ounce bag plain potato chips
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup mustard

SPECIAL UTENSIL

blender

PREPARATION

Add crushed pineapple and its syrup to blender. Puree until completely smooth Add pureed pineapple juice and lime juice to pot. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Gradually add cornstarch. Stir frequently. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir constantly. Remove from heat

Place hot dogs in pot. Add enough water to cover. Boil with high heat for 5 minutes. While hot dogs boil, toast hot dog buns and crush potato chips.. (It helps keep them from falling apart from the sauce.) Add a hot dog and an equal amount of pineapple sauce, coleslaw, mozzarella cheese, potato chips, ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard to each bun. (Eat with the cut of the bun facing up. Serve with napkins. This is a messy hot dog.)

TIDBITS

1) I missed going to the laziness museum in Bogota, Colombia. Its exhibits stressed televisions, beds, and sofas. This place would have great for anyone wanting to participate in the Colombian siesta and absorb the country’s rich and varied culture. No, it wasn’t because I was lazy. I didn’t know it was there. Honest. But I have been too lazy to look up the official name of the museum. That’s kinda like being there in lazy spirit.

2) The museum was only open for a week. Perhaps the organizers and workers only needed a week to make their statement about the hectic global lifestyle. Perhaps they were too lazy to work any longer than that. Who can say?

3) Excuse me, I need a nap. Zzzzz…..

– 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

 

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Potato Waffle with Hot Dog, Wars, and Manners

Norwegian Entree

POTATO WAFFLE WITH HOT DOG
(potetvafler met pølse)

INGREDIENTSPotatoWaffles-

5 russet potatoes or 2 pounds brown potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
12 hot dogs or hot-dog shaped sausages
4 eggs
3 cups milk
2 ½ cups flour
½ tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
no-stick spray

makes 12 potato waffles with hot dog

SPECIAL UTENSIL

waffle maker

PREPARATION

Peel potatoes. Cut each potato into eight pieces. Put potato pieces into large pot. Add enough water to cover potato bits. Bring water to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Drain potato bits. Add butter to pot with potato pieces. Mash potatoes with potato masher.

While potato bits simmer, add hot dogs to pot with enough water to cover them. Boil on high heat for 5 minutes. Turn off heat.

Also while potato bits are simmering, add eggs and milk to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Add flour and baking powder to pot. Mix with whisk. Add egg/milk mixture, salt and sugar to pot. Mix with whisk until smooth.

Spray waffle maker with no-stick spray. Fry waffles according to instructions with waffle maker or until waffles are golden brown. Remove waffle. Wrap waffle around hot dog. Smaker godt (Tastes great.)

TIDBITS

1) An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

2) Garlic keeps vampires away.

3) Garlic infused apples would keep vampires doctors away.

4) There are no vampire doctors in Norway.

5) Thus, the Norwegians may eat whatever food they want and still feel safe.

6) Waffles are great comfort food. So are hot dogs.

7) Eating a waffle-wrapped hot dog will make you quite happy. Ecstatic even. Best not to overdo it. All things in moderation.

8) Potatoes, not pancakes as was once believed, enabled the Prussian kingdom survive the Seven Years War, 1756 – 1763. Invading armies destroyed the crops that grew above ground, such as wheat, but couldn’t find the potatoes lurking underground. The Prussian peasants simply waited for the marauders to leave, dug up the potatoes, ate them, and survived.

9) However, you cannot hide waffles or even hot dogs in the ground for any length of time and expect to find them edible. Which is why peasants never planted waffles.

10)) The Seven Years War of tidbit 8) fame really did take seven years.

11) However, the Hundred Years War, which ran from 1337-1453, took 116 years.

12) Similarly, Panama hats do not come from Panama.

13) They come from Ecuador.

14) Ecuador is not that far from Chile.

15) In Chile. It is impolite to eat using your hands.

16) So if you are carrying a potato in your Panama hat, because you never know when a ruffian soldier frisks you for a loaf of rye bread, be sure to eat it with a fork.

17) It might be hard to eat a raw potato with a fork. Eating mashed potatoes would be easier.

18) However, your Chilean friends will think that coming to their houses with mashed potatoes on your head is also impolite. And they will tell you so.

19) However, your Chilean hosts might forebear from social criticism if you are a vampire doctor.

20) It’s all so confusing. It’s why we have etiquette experts.

– 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

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Candace C. Bowen – Bacon & Chocolate Party’s Great Candidate for Vice President of Venezuela

My Dear Venezuelans:
Are you tired of the status-quo? Of course you are! Tomorrow you have a chance for change. Join presidential candidate Paul De Lancey and yoursflag truly to ride the dark horse to election victory. Like our fellow candidates in every nation, we will make impossible promises that we have no intention of actually keeping. Do you love bacon, chocolate and Venezuelan hot dogs? Who doesn’t? We will fill every household with a lifetime supply. Take your family and friends to the polls tomorrow and help us declare victory. Vote twice for good measure and we’ll throw in imported relish for your hot dogs. Bring your enemies and we’ll throw in organic mustard and ketchup. The time is now to make a stand my friends. Viva la bacon and chocolate!
Candace C. Bowen
Candidate for Vice President

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Running For El Presidente of Venezuela: My Plans

To all the Venezuelans who might be holding back on voting for me Sunday simply because I live in San Diego, rest assured I will fly down right away to Caracas, the capital, to assume my presidential duties if elected. Indeed, here are my flight plans assuming I get sworn in on June 4.

venezuel

Once I get there I will vigorously press for affordable bacon, chocolate, and Venezuelan hot dogs. Then I’ll take a nap.

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Venezuelan Hot Dogs Recipe

Venezuelan Entree

VENEZUELAN HOT DOGS

INGREDIENTSvenezhd-

1 small onion
1/8 head cabbage
1 3 ounce bag plain potato chips (or whatever amount is close or preferred)
6 potato hot-dog rolls (regular okay)
6 pork hot dogs (beef okay)
mayonnaise
mustard
ketchup

SPECIAL UTENSIL

rice cooker with steamer insert

PREPARATION

Mince onion and cabbage. Smash the potato chips into little bits. My preferred way is to hit the potato-chip bag a number of times with my fist. (Don’t be so enthusiastic that the bag ruptures and little chips fly all over the kitchen.)

Fill bottom of rice cooker with enough water to cover hot dogs. Bring water to boil. Add hot dogs. Put in steamer insert. Add as many rolls as will fit on the insert. Cover with lid. Cook for 2-to-3 minutes or until rolls are warm and soft. Remove rolls. (Be sure to check; over-steamed rolls can get soggy.) Add remaining rolls and cook another 2-to-3 minutes. Remove rolls. Remove hot dogs with tongs or fork.

Put hot dog in roll. Spoon desired amounts of onion, cabbage, and potato chips on hot dog. Squirt mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup on top of your creation until you are happy. (Eat with the cut of the roll facing up. This is a messy hot dog.)

TIDBITS

1) The recent leader of Venezuela was Hugo Chavez.

2) The United States did not have the best relationship with him.

3) But Venezuela’s hot dogs are great. Perhaps we could show the new Venezuelan leadership how much enjoy this dish.

4) We have good hot dogs as well. Our president could bring their president chili dogs and Coney Island dogs. My their president could give us Venezuelan hot dogs to bring back to the United States.

5) Hot Dog Diplomacy. We should give it a chance. After all, look what Ping-Pong Diplomacy did for China and America.

– 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, humor, international, politics, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Great Ketchup Quest – Attempt #1 – Hot Dogs

All major American brands of ketchup now contain high-fructose corn syrup. Ugh. It is up to this great country’s citizens to rectify this horror. As I mentioned in my last post, I have pledged myself to develop a truly tasty ketchup recipe sans bad stuff. Here are photos of my first effort.

(Okay, I really wish I could add scratch-and-taste media to this post. Maybe in a few years.)

 

Roma tomatoes – They gave their all                                  Bacon-cheese hot dog with ketchup

Roma-

HotDogK-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ketchup from new recipe with other fixings.

HotDwK-

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Ask Dr. Economics: Greece Needs Help

Ask Dr. Economics: Greece Needs Help

I came up with a solution to Greek Debt Crisis two years ago. Did the powers that be listen to me? Noooo. So what happened? A continuing crisis and worldwide instability. So, in the interest of the entire world I resubmit my solution.

The mounting debt of the Greek government is threatening to destroy the Greek economy, the Euro, the economies of Portugal and Spain, and the cohesiveness of the European Union. If that happens the world economy will collapse and we will have 30%, 50%, 80, maybe even 200% unemployment–you will lose that second job you never had. You’ll lose your house, your car, your package of Bar-S hot dogs that sit in the fridge you will lose. There will be revolution in the streets, only reality shows will be allowed on tv, ketchup in the supermarkets will be a thing of the past. There will be no more supermarkets. There will be NO MORE LATTES. Earthquakes will become the latest trend, hailstones will rain down non-stop. Bug-eyed monsters will roam the streets devouring Bactrian camels and humans.

This is all bad. What can we do to support Greece? Best thing to do is to buy Greek debt but as it might lose 70% of its value, you might want to spend your sofa coins on something better. Try vacationing in Greece. If that is not in your budget, try buying gyros, you that pita bread that is stuffed with that beef/lamb meat.

Now, if we all buy gyros demand for beef/lamb meat will soar. And Greece is the only country where the rare lambcow animal roams. Sure, America has lambs and it has cows, but not the one animal that is both. So, if demand for the Greek lambcow rises, Greek lambcows herders will gain more revenue. More revenue from lambcow herders means more taxes for the Greek government. The Greek government pays off its debt. The debt crisis is averted and we and our fellow Bactrian camels will not get eaten in the streets.

Eat all the gyros you can. Besides, they’re tasty.

– Paul De Lancey, Dr. Economics

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The Wonder Dog – Part 1 – Originally Published in Community of Voices, 1999

We won the war. We brought the Nazis to their knees, not some namby-pamby foot soldier who probably counted dodging Spam thrown in the mess halls as combat experience. Yes sir, it was me and the airmen of Okeechobee. Young man, I’m gonna tell you our story.
Okeechobee, Florida then was only known for its millions of bugs; huge bugs the size of baseballs. But it was there, in 1944, that the Army set up the 800th Bomber Group, captained by Henry Pizarro.

Well, we were out in the middle of nowhere in a state often forgotten by the rest of the Union. Supplies never did get to us in a regular manner. Sometimes we’d go weeks without any supplies. Sometimes, we got a lot of stuff we didn’t really need. One week they sent us one million scarves, and 22,187 bird feeders stamped “U.S. Army bird feeder, Red-Headed Woodpecker Only.” Antonio Cedeno, Army Head Scratcher First Class, scratched his head and said, “That’s army for you.” Oh, we also received eight hundred tons of papayas. It seemed that although our nation’s scientists were still failing with the general concept of refrigeration, they had miraculously found a way to refrigerate papayas several months ago.

Well, around August, we had run out of all food but papayas for two months, and no one wanted to eat bugs. Hell, the bugs had been biting us so much that some of us figured we’d be cannibals if we’d eat them. So, we approached Lieutenant Kelso, who was in charge of food supplies. Kelso said that he was mighty sick of papaya soup and papaya burgers. He said he’d raise heaven and earth to find some new food.

The next day we heard a terrible ruckus all around us. Every flea-bitten mutt in the flea-bitten state of Florida was barking, yelping, yipping, and scratching his balls. Sergeant Niekro went out to investigate. Apparently, Kelso planned to use these dogs to sniff up some food for us.

Well, I decided to follow the dogs. They headed away from the mess hall as even dogs get tired of papaya biscuits. Those mutts made a bee line toward the swamp where bugs felt particularly secure and ornery. Way in the distance I could make out that huge ominous, gray, metallic building so forbidding that even the chaplain called it “the Hut of Hell.” The Hut of Hell housed our chemical supplies, used oil drums, and various pleasant poisons.

Those dogs just ran to the Hut and barked something fierce. Kelso, opened the door and immediately the dogs keeled over in agony. Kelso doubled over and proceeded to vomit big yellow chunks of papaya loaf. Sure, it was up to me, Robert Carbo, the man with the big sniffer. I dodged a stream of papaya spew from Kelso and went inside.

As God is my witness, I have never seen so many hot dogs in my life. These hot dogs were arranged in huge columns. Each column was twelve feet long by ten feet wide and stretched at least fifty feet up to the ceiling. There were thousands of these majestic columns.

Well, perhaps not majestic, more like tons of decaying, larva infested, grayish-green beef shapes. How long had they been sitting in that metal building in Florida’s fine, humid, 120-degree weather? However, stench worse than Private Aparicio’s pits after a twenty-mile hike, prompted to me continue this thought outside. I wrenched my boots free from some hot-dog ooze and bolted outside.

I carried Kelso all the way back to the infirmary. Unfortunately, our doctor was away in Miami picking up popsicle sticks off the sidewalks as we had run through our last shipments of tongue depressors. Corporal Johnny Conigliaro, a quack in civilian life, prescribed a dose of deadly nightshade, a rather poisonous, purplish flower. Kelso nearly died from this treatment but did not complain, saying, “It’s worth risking death to eat something that’s not yellowish orange.”

A week later Captain Pizarro, arose from his desk and put on his papaya-woven flak jacket and walked to the mess tent. The cook had outdone himself with a gourmet feast. We started off with a snappy papaya fondue and a Waldorf salad where the apples, celery, walnuts, and mayonnaise were substituted with papaya, papaya, papaya, and papaya sauce. For the main course he regaled us with a choice of: barbecued papaya sandwiches on papaya bread with a papaya sauce or chicken cordon bleu, where instead of chicken, ham, gruyere cheese, breading, and butter, he substituted papaya, papaya, curdled papaya juice, papaya crumbs, and melted papaya. For dessert we could choose either the papaya balls or the papaya flavored ice cream made with creamed papaya instead of cream. We washed down this feast with good ol’ papaya juice.

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