Running to the Edge of the World

Duke Miller, exceptional as always.

tin hats

“Would you like another drink?”

“No thanks.”

“You don’t seem very happy right now.”

“Parties…I’ve never liked them.”

“Why not?”

“No reason….”

The music died and there was only the sound of insects and low voices.  The full moon winked in the clouds beneath the apathetic stars.

“When I was a teenager a girl invited me to her birthday party.  Her name was Francine.  She wasn’t very popular.  No friends to speak of.  You know the type I’m sure.  She was tall and boyish, gangling with thin arms and big feet.  And I had befriended her because she liked to run.  She wasn’t fast or anything, she just liked to run in the countryside, across the fields and up the dirt trails above our little town.  We would take our dogs and run in the evening as the sun slowly disappeared in the trees.  We always said we were running…

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Holy Mole

You are a determined woman! Congratulations. What next? A cheese sandwich?.

Saying Nothing in Particular

On the third day of chili grinding (see Making Mole Sauce and Making Mole in the Modern World) the chili-nut-fruit mixture was still not ground to Liz’s satisfaction and so I kidnapped every grinding machine I could find in Joel’s well equipped kitchen and brought them to her house.

Grinders

Then we got an assembly line going – using one grinder until it started to overheat and then switching to another.  BTW – the best grinder in our assortment was the small white one on the right (a Grup).  I’m happy to say that no grinders were permanently damaged.  Finally we had a Costco-size pretzel jar full of perfectly ground mole powder!

orkMole Above is pork mole with sourdough bread and my share of the mole powder. It should last a year.

Liz then added a cup of the mole powder to 8 ounces of tomato sauce and sauteed the mixture with a cup…

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Making Mole Sauce

I shall follow this epic with interest. Always longed to make a mole but freaked out by all the ingredients and process. Lucky you to have the wonderful Liz.

Saying Nothing in Particular

Baseball Liz and I on another of our adventures – coaching softball, something about which we knew NOTHING!

When my friend Liz announced she was going to make mole (pronounced mole-lay) I offered to help. The process of making mole takes at least a day, even in Mexico where there are special mills for chili grinding so I saw this as a chance for us to spend some time together. You see, her life is in constant flux and I’m always writing, blogging or taking care of my elderly mother so mole-making would force us each to take a day off just for ourselves. In fact, Liz is so busy I half expected something to come up which would postpone our adventure, maybe forever.  But, miracle of miracles, it did not.

Here’s what a commercially made mole looks like:

IMG_1724

It’s actually a powder which, before serving, is mixed with crushed tomatoes and freshly…

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Humor is Lost upon the Dead

The Duke is back.

tin hats

As I write there is a dirty sheet being placed over the body of a child.

She is no more.  What shall we do?

She was playing in the sand, even though her family had told her to stay inside.  A piece of shrapnel killed her.  It left only an inch gash in her chest, tore through her heart, and then ripped her shoulder blade and part of her spine away from her body.  Flesh and blood splattered a wall and spelled a word by the freak of nature: H and I.  She flopped around a bit before she died, alone there on the broken earth.  Only a few knew her and fewer still will remember the circles she drew in the dust.  HI she died.

Later they will bury the girl in a rocky field and the hands of a bare tree will sprinkle bark and brown straw upon…

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A Curse on Your Erection

saehorses kissingWhat kind of scumbag would steal a seahorse from his happy little home beneath the waves?

There he sits harming no one, simultaneously swivelling both eyes in different directions, mating for life, and giving birth to his babies. That’s right. His babies. Seahorses are the only species on earth that trust this task to a male.

And that’s not even why they’re called Hippocampus erectus. Despite their horny appearance, they probably don’t even have anything to get an erection with. They don’t need it. A female simply lays her eggs inside his pouch and this amazing little bloke fertilises and carries them for about three weeks before giving birth.

Which is all pretty ironic as the bums who are poaching them are selling them on the black market to be ground up and sold for erectile dysfunction.

Chinese medicine, hugely on the rise in this age of jaded western medicine, has dozens of other uses for these defenceless creatures once they are dried and pulverized . Other lowlife are passing them along to rich aquarium owners in Asia and Australia. Along Australia’s coast their numbers are down as much as 95%.

Without the added scourge of  a thriving black market,  the seahorses are doing it tough. Warming oceans and boats anchoring in their delicate habitats are decimating the little sponge gardens, seagrass beds and soft corals they call home. And wrecking their food supply.

To save them from extinction, a ‘Seahorse Hotel’ is being planned within the gorgeous Parsley Bay in Sydney’s inner harbour. A year-round net in the water that they can hang onto, goggle their eyes and do their tranny thing.

In ancient mythology, mighty Poseidon, God of the Sea, chose seahorses to pull his carriage.  Bad tempered and bi polar, his wrath called down storms and tsunamis and watery deaths on anyone who pissed him off.

May he now rule as the protector of the new “Seahorse Hotel” and wreak havoc on the erections of anyone evil enough to kill a Hippocampus  Erectus for a lousy hard-on.

 

Don’t Smoke, Warn Kangaroos

kangaroo skiing

Oh, to be able to smoke a cigarette again. I used to love sitting down to work with a nice fag burning happily away in the astray on my desk. The swirling smoke centred the mind, revved the imagination and drove off the mozzies.

But those days are over. Smokers have become today’s witches destined for drowning in the village pond or a cheerful bonfire in a city square. Their public shaming and hounding from polite society has become a uniquely successful social experiment.

Even the wildlife has got in on the act.

In the old days when it was still okay to leave the office and go outside for a quick hit of nicotine public servants in Bush Capital Canberra were more than once attacked by kangaroos as they huddled in the open air.

In fairness to the roos – and their handlers over at Intelligence – they also attacked a healthy non-smoking jogger who was bouncing along a trail on a popular leafy path in his lunchtime. When he came to in hospital some time later with cuts, bruises and a black eye, he said ‘I turned around and before I knew it, it took a swipe at my face.’

He added that even if he’d had a chance to punch it back he wouldn’t have done so. He respected the national icon and held no grudge against kangaroos.

For those who braved attacks by outraged non-smokers and wild animals another threat to their future loomed large. Price hikes. Twenty cigarettes rose to the dizzying height of fifteen bucks a pack. Now that’s a hit of nicotine.

And in case you were still hanging in, going without food and walking to save on gas, another trick was on the way. Disgusting pictures on the pack. Great black gangrenous feet with missing toes. Green toothless bleeding mouths. Cancerous eyes propped open with stents. And for those who were a bit slow getting it huge letters spelling out SMOKING KILLS; CAUSES BIRTH DEFECTS; BLINDNESS.

It was enough to make you light up in terror.

It made me recall my old neighbour in London who had started smoking at fourteen and was still puffing away at ninety. She claimed – like Bill Clinton – that she had “never done the drawback.” I wondered why she bothered.

I guess that once you have put one between your lips it is hard to let go even if it has come out of packaging featuring a blind toothless amputee. As a pack rose to nearly $20 a new tactic was deployed.

The plain packet.

No longer would tobacco companies be able to promote their evil wares. ALL cigarettes would come henceforth in black nameless packets.

“How well are these selling?” I ask the lady in the discount shop, pointing to a pile of flashy-looking cigarette cases that belong in a Bette Davis movie.

“The kids are all buying them,” she tells me. “We can’t get enough.”

But the unassailable truth is that smoking rates are down, and the kangaroo – unlike the camel – isn’t doing the drawback. I suppose that is something to celebrate.

The Firing Squad

Unless something monumental happens to change this outcome two Australian men will face the firing squad on an Indonesian island tonight at midnight. They will be part of a mass execution. Last night, one of them, Andrew Chan, got married. I have been to some strange weddings, but this would have been surreal. Maybe their gift will be a stay of execution. Now we can only hope.

The Typo That Got Away

Saying Nothing in Particular

Are you really, really ready to publish this book? Are you really, really ready to publish this book?

I missed Shakespeare’s birthday celebration because I was in the middle of final, final edits.  Those of you who are writers are keenly aware of the abject horror of final, final edits. Basically the publisher says to you: “Here is your last chance to catch embarrassing typos, missing words, misplaced commas, etc.  After you sign off, your work will be paraded naked through Amazon and, if you missed anything, you will be the laughing stock of the literary world. But what do we care.  You’re not making us any money.”

And you know, don’t you know, don’t you know, that despite the many, many, many times you and your editor and the proofreader go over the manuscript, as night follows day, something will be missed.

It was . . . The Typo That Got Away! It was . . . The Typo That Got Away!

Oh yes.  That nasty little bugger – the  Typo That…

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