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Mr. Rogers Gets Autotuned, Navy Snipers, and Gardens of the Mind

(Editor’s warning: clicking on links might lead you to some insanely funny shit. Or just to some informative shit.  Depends on the link)

You ever just sit around and think about Mr. Rogers? I did recently when someone passed me a link to PBS Digital Studio’s autotuned video of Mr. Rogers singing “Garden of Your Mind.” Have you seen this thing? If not, put down whatever you’re doing and check it out. It’s an almost supernatural trip down memory lane, featuring some of Mr. Roger’s greatest moments, set to a tripped-out, synthed-up dance beat. I actually thought I must have downed a couple ‘ludes when I first saw it. Mr. Rogers, meet Bourbon and Xanax; Bourbon and Xanax, meet Mr. Rogers. Hot damn!

Remember Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood from when you were a damn rugrat? You probably remember him much the same way I do: walking into his little house, putting on his sneakers, slipping into a red cardigan, talking so slow and earnest you felt compelled to throw the bottle of moonshine your uncle Remus gave you for your tenth birthday at the TV, watching it shatter the screen, realizing you weren’t at all sober, then getting chased around the barnyard by your uncle who was getting chased around by your dad who was wielding a stick and screaming, “Remus, if you give my boy just one more bottle of ‘shine, so help me God I’m gonna hog-clip your nuts.” Man, it brings a tear to my eye.

Fred McFeely Rogers was born on March 20th, 1928, in Latrobe PA, just in time for the Great Depression and just a tad late to get his rocks off with some flapper hussy. Might account for why he never in all his years took a drink of liquor or had a smoke – don’t worry about it, Fred-o…nobody’s perfect.

Anyway, over the 75 years he was alive, he put on just about every kind of cardigan you can think of: he was an educator, a Presbyterian minister, a songwriter, and an author. Oh, and I forgot to mention, he was also a television host. He also testified before those fat assholes in Congress on behalf of funding for children’s television and public television in general (he actually pretty much saved both), was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian honor available in the US, and pretty much equivalent to getting a cozy BJ from the Commander in Chief), a Peabody Award, and he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. Hot damn! Fuck you, Mr. Rogers! You’re making us all look bad! I’m sorry. I’m not!  I am!

I’m sure you’ve heard all that before, but here’s some stuff about the most-eerily-calm-man-not-on-life-support you may not have known:

  • Koko the gorilla loved him so much that when he showed up at her place she’d hug him and take his shoes off. Rumor has it that after the cameras were off she may have taken off a lot more.
  • Even fucking criminals loved Mr. Rogers. Once, when his old Impala was stolen from the street near the TV station where he worked, he filed a police report that got picked up by every newspaper and radio show for a million miles. Less than two days later, his car popped up in the exact spot from where it had been taken, with a note taped to the dashboard, reading: “If we’d known it was yours, we never would have taken it. Also, we heard you were a tattooed navy sniper. If this is true, please don’t maim, torture, and kill us. We want to be your neighbors. Won’t you please, for the love of all that is holy, pretty-please be our neighbor?”
  • He composed all the songs on the show himself. All of them. He could play a mean jazz piano, whiskey or no whiskey. He wrote over 200 songs, including “Garden of Your Mind”, “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”, and “No, I’m Not Gay. I Just Speak Slowly.”
  • He was color-blind. He couldn’t see the color blue – so when his wife, Sara, would give him blue balls, she was able to convince him that it was just his imagination. He was also color-blind when it came to folks in general. When he was a kid, his family adopted a black foster child. I have no idea how to make fun of that.
  • His dear old momma hand-knit every one of the cardigans he wore on his how. I have no idea how to make fun of that.

Mr. Rogers gets autotuned in “Garden of Your Mind”

What I found especially cool and interesting about Fred, apart from all the stuff just mentioned, is that he hated TV. He plain old hated it, but thought it might make a hell of a good medium for educating children, if handled properly, so he got involved in TV to make sure the job got done right. And just about right was how the old boy did just about everything. He took home over 40 honorary degrees in his life. Congress grew a big fat chubby in the presence of his divine good-heartedness. Presidents fawned over him.

But I think, as do folks who knew him well, that it wasn’t the big stuff that meant the most to Fred Rogers. It was the intelligence, kindness, and awareness he was able to bring to the lives of his many, many fans across several generations, kids and adults alike. And I think he was right about the potential for TV, and video in general, to reach out across time and space and touch our hearts and minds.  My own son, just a year and a half old, already loves watching old Fred, and, unlike with so much other hog-shit that’s on TV, I’ve got no problems with my boy doing so whenever he damn well pleases.

Fred McFeely Rogers died of stomach cancer in 2003, at the age of 75, in Pittsburgh, PA. But, thanks to the communicative medium to which he brought so much integrity, his presence is still very much with us through the immortal power of memory as brought to life on a screen of any size. In “Garden of Your Mind” he asks a potent question, and provides an even more forceful answer: “Did  you ever grown anything, in the garden of your mind? …all you have to do is think.”

I’m thinking, Fred. I’m thinking you were a hell of a fine human being. You made the collective mind-garden of humankind a more fertile soil for the development of all that is good, kind, and intelligent in our race. You were one of a damn kind. You sure will be missed.

I raise my glass of milk to you, Sir.  I truly do.

“I’m so fucking nice I make you look like an asshole. But I love you.”

Fitzgerald, Dicaprio’s Pussy Posse, and The Great Gatsby

(Editor’s warning: links might lead you to some insanely funny shit… or not.  It depends on the link.)

You ever just sit around and think about The Great Gatsby? I did recently and I realized, yet again, that it’s a great fuckin’ book. Hot damn, F.Scott Fitzgerald, as a writer, I gotta hate you! But man, as a reader, I gotta love you. How did he write that shit, you know? Deal with the devil? Was it all the booze? And if so, what was he drinking and where can I get me some? Hot damn!

In case you’ve been so  foolish as to never read what may well be the best novel in the English language, here’s what it’s about: Nick Carraway, a penniless day-trader, finds himself fascinated by the lavish lifestyle and sexy parties of his much richer neighbor, the mysterious Jay Gatsby. Gatsby, as it turns out, has been in love with Nick’s cousin, Daisy Buchanan, for forever and a day. Daisy is married to a blithering asshole named Tom who likes to punch his mistresses. Jay and Daisy start bangin’ on the side and shit goes down. You do the math. It’s a great fuckin’ book!

Recently, between bouts of the DTs, I read somewhere that they’re making a new movie version of The Great Gatsby, and I reckon that’s a good thing seeing as how the other movie versions of that fine, fine American novel pretty much made me want to jump through the damn screen and strangle everyone involved for taking a giant dump all over our cultural and literary heritage.

Probably the best version so far was the one with Robert Redford as Gatbsy, even though old Robbie looked a little long in the tooth to play boy-millionaire Jay Gatsby.

Daisy: “Oh, Jay, I love you.”

Gatsby: “Oh, Daisy, I’ve loved you since I was an 18 year-old military conscript.”

Daisy: (puzzled) “When was that?”

Gatsby: “Oh, about thirty-odd years ago. Want to see my wrinkly first lieutenant?”

Apart from Rob being too old, the thing that really bugged the living shit out of me about the movie was child-hoarder Mia Farrow. Mia Farrow? This is the chick that Gatsby is supposed to be so obsessed with that he built himself a new life just to try and get with her? This is the chick who men are willing to fight and die over? Hey, no offense to Mia Farrow, but she is and always has been a lifeless, irritating, hideous slag. I mean, I’m sure Mia Farrow’s a nice enough woman in real life, but I’m not that into necrophilia. I mean, truth be told, I’ve actually seen corpses with more sex appeal than Mia Farrow. I mean…okay, enough! Hot damn! I’m sorry. No, I’m not. Hot damn!

Anyway, the new movie version is gonna star Leo Dicaprio (aka ‘The Prettiest Girl in Hollywood’) as Jay Gatsby and Tobey Maguire (aka ‘The Prettiest Ugly Girl in Hollywood’) as Nick Carraway. Leo seems a decent fit for Gatsby, though Brad Pitt would have fit the bill of aging golden-boy a little better, and Tobey is just about right as nearly invisible, retiring narrator Nick Carraway. Then you’ve got Carrie Mulligan as Daisy, and she’s like a million times hotter than Mia Farrow (who reminds me of a zombie, only I’d rather get blown by a zombie). And the director, Baz Luhrmann, has got a real flare for dance scenes and bright over the top shit. All in all: Clayton digs it!

The only trouble I can foresee is that former “Pussy Posse” members and self-declared BFFs Leo and Tobey might have trouble keeping the focus on Carey Mulligan. Will Leo get with Carey and try to  live sort of happily ever after? Or – just as likely – will Carey catch Leo giving an under-the-table handjob to boy-crush Tobey like they used to do all the time on the New York club scene?

Daisy: “Oh, Jay, will you love me forever?”

Jay: “Hang on…just a…second Daisy…”

Daisy: “Nick, what are you doing under the table?”

Nick: “I…um…gag…er…mmm…gag…looking for…mmm…gag…”

Gatsby: “Oh…Daisy. Oh, Daisy!”

Fitzgerald spent almost three solid years of his tragic, alcohol-drenched life writing The Great Gatsby, all the while dealing with his schizophrenic, batshit wife, Zelda. In the end, despite the novel being almost flawless, it was commercially a flop.  Fitzgerald died of an alcoholism-related heart attack just four days shy of Christmas, in 1940, believing himself to be a damn failure. A few years later, his wife, Zelda, died in an asylum when the place went up in flames. Good times!

So what’s the moral of the story, boys and girls? Don’t drink so much your heart quits? Don’t fuck schizophrenics and if you do, sure as shit be out the door next morning bright and early with your fedora in your hand? I don’t think so. I think the moral is that if you take all your energy and genius and harness that shit to real, brutal, five-in-the-damn-morning-every-motherhumping-day discipline, you can make something so damn beautiful that people will never forget you. One day, if you’re real lucky, long after you’re worm shit, they might even make a movie out of your stuff starring Leo and Tobey. So please, guys, in honor of F. Scott and our cultural heritage: keep your hands off each other’s junk and the focus on the girl. Hot damn! I’m sorry. No, I’m not.

God bless you, F. Scott Fitzgerald. God bless you.

“I am very,very drunk but my book is very, very good.”

Ernest Hemingway, Hard Living, and Sharks

You ever sit just sit around and think about Ernest Hemingway? We’re coming up on the 51st anniversary of Hemingway’s death, and it got me thinking. Isn’t it kind of weird that we remember him on the day he died? I mean, remember how he died? He grabbed a shotgun and shot himself in the face, decades before Kurt Cobain thought of it. You know what else? His wife was in the house and she was the one who found him.

That must have sucked it.

You see, for months and months, maybe even years, old Ernie was convinced that the Feds were tapping his phone, bugging his house, and basically driving him nuts, and nobody believed him. They just thought all the years of scotch and sodas were taking their toll. Eventually, he couldn’t take it; not the feeling of being hunted like an animal, and probably not the feeling of everyone thinking he was batshit. He actually tried to off himself several times before he bought the farm. He also spent time in a mental institution. And you know the worst of it? Turns out the Feds were tapping his phone, bugging his house, and driving him nuts. The fuckers!

See, that’ s not really how I want to remember Hemingway, as an old guy, kind of fat, full of regrets, telling anyone who would listen that the government was trying to get him. I grew up reading his stuff. I love The Sun Also Rises. Those people in the book are screwed up, big time, but I’d still like to hang out with them, have some wine, some more wine, more wine, fall down, see a bullfight, get in a fight, and go fishing. Hell, you substitute bourbon for wine, that pretty much describes my youth. Oh, and Brett Ashley? Apart from having a dude’s first name for a last name, hottest woman in literature.

Thanks, Papa Hemingway!

I like to remember all the times Hemingway probably should have done himself in (accidentally) but made it through. I once read this book about him and there was a rundown of all the accidents he suffered during his life. It was like two damn pages long, and included: two plane crashes, two car accidents, bringing a skylight down on his head by mistaking its rope for the toilet chain, breaking his foot kicking a door in anger, and (my favorite) shooting himself in the leg while trying to gaff a shark. (If you want the full list, check out the book Intellectuals, by Paul Johnson.) Hell in ‘tarnation, that’s my kind of boy. You think he was drinking a lot to have that much bad luck? He was. He was putting down 17 scotch and sodas a day and going to bed with a bottle of champagne (he often wasn’t going to bed alone, so you’ve got to wonder about what else that champagne bottle might have been for). Anyway, point is, for years and years the son of bitch did a bunch of stuff that by all rights should have ended in a funeral, but didn’t. He was this tough bastard who drank and hunted and boxed and fucked.

So that’s how I like to remember him. I know, in the end his fucked-up, self-destructive side took over, but why dwell on the last chapter of his life? Look, we’re all going to end up six feet under eventually, so let’s remember him like he was in his glory days. The hell with the day he killed himself. I’d rather think of old Hem on the day he shot himself in the leg trying to gaff a shark and then had a drink. I think that’s more who he was.

So, here’s to you, Ernie. You weren’t a perfect human being, but you sure were cool.

Thinking of Hemingway makes me thirsty. Want another great way to remember Hemingway? I once heard that he’s the guy responsible for making daiquiris popular in the States. Don’t know if it’s totally true, but here’s a good daiquiri recipe just in case:

Hemingway’s Daiquiri:

  • A fat shot of white rum
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp maraschino juice
  • A little bit of grapefruit juice
  • Some sugar
  • Ice
  • A gaffing hook
  • A shark
  • A gun

Stick all the very fine, good, clean, bright shit into a shaker with ice and shake until your hands sting. Serve in a highball on the rocks. Chase with some rum or bourbon. Then gaff the shark and shoot yourself in the leg. Avoid medical treatment because you’re a tough bastard. Have another daiquiri and some more rum. Cheers, friends!

“I am manly. I damage myself almost constantly. Pass the Scope. I’m thirsty!”

Will Smith Slaps Reporter, Promotes Men in Pink 3

You ever sit around and think about slapping a reporter? Will Smith did recently when he was doing red carpet interviews in the Ukraine for the premiere of “Men in Black 3.” Seems he didn’t like it overmuch when a reporter tried to kiss him, but to be fair to the confused Ukrainian dude, he thought he was at the premiere of another movie that was opening nearby: “Men in Pink 3: Revenge of the Intergalactic Anuses.”

The kissing reporter is a guy from Ukranian channel 1+1 and his name is Vitali Serdiuk. Seems he told Will Smith right before the kiss that “ it is Vitali that I ser your diuk,” and the Fresh Prince decided to drop a beat on Vitali like it was 1992. It went down like this:

Vitali: “Hello, Will Smith. I great fan”

Will: “Thanks man. You kind of smell like potatoes and vodka.”

Vitali: “It is vitali that I ser your diuk.”

Will: “Say what?”

Vitali: “I kiss you now, my Fresh Prince.”

Will:”C’mon man, what the hell is your problem buddy? I’m manly. Watch how I slap you lightly with the back of my hand like a little girl.”

Vitali: “I like your little slap, playful American-African sex god.”

Will: “He’s lucky I didn’t sucker punch him. I didn’t enjoy that even a little bit.”

Random Urkanian reporter: “Will, how you explain erection in pants?”

Will: “Um.  Dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee?”

(Vitali Serdiuk is the same dude who gave Madonna a bouquet of hydrangeas a while back and that charming platinum retarded female dog thought it would be cool if she ditched them under a table by way of saying thanks.)

Anyway, looks like, for the world’s goofiest looking Mohamed Ali impersonator, channel 1+1 doesn’t = Vitali+Will. Maybe Vitali can give Madonna a call, give it another shot with the world’s lamest MILF. As for me, you’ll find me laughing my ass off, getting drunk on my damn porch, hoping a raccoon stops by to offer me hydrangeas or tries to kiss me… so I can shoot him. Yeehah!

Will Smith: “Feel the wrath of the back of my baby-soft hand.”

Mark Zuckerburg, the Asian Ring of Fire, and Marriage

You ever just sit around and think about what it would be like to have a billion bucks? I did, recently, and it led me to Mark Zuckerburg, who it seems to me has pulled off the I’ve-got-a-billion-bucks thing better than anyone else who’s turned the trick, especially seeing as how he’s barely old enough to shave his pubes (not like that old horse-humping bastard, J.Paul Reddam). I mean, hot damn, the kid started Facebook in between jerking off to Victoria’s Secret catalogs while he was a boy-student at Harvard way the hell back in distant 2004. Yeah, it’s been a long ride from hoodie-wearing pimply boy to hoodie-wearing pimply billionaire – a whole damn eight years!

Everybody seems to be talking a lot about the Facebook IPO, the company leaving home to go out into the big bad world and all, but then yesterday I read something that made me think that the IPO launch was just a smokescreen for something else the Zuckermeister had up his elastic-banded, thick cotton sleeve: the dude was planning to get hitched to his Harvard Asian cutie, Priscilla “Queen of the Facebook” Chan!

And you know where they had the wedding? The Taj Mahal? On top of the Eiifel Tower? In the Oval Office (bought from Barrack for a tidy sum)? On the moon? And who would be the minister? The Pope? Brad Pitt? Brangelina? Nope. Here’s where and how the thing went down: in the kid’s backyard in Palo Alto, California, in front of just 100 folks, with the couple’s poofy little white dog, Beast, officiating the ceremony.

It went like this:

Beast: “Woof, woof, woof, arfity arf take billionaire Facebook guy?”

Priscilla Chan: “Are you fucking kidding me? Get the damn ring on my finger before Mark sees Angelina Jolie’s dress.”

Mark: “Um.”

Beast: “Woof woof arf arf pronounce you billionaire and Asian cutie. Can I have that bacon bit now?”

Priscilla: “Is that it? Can I stop pretending to like this dork?”

Mark: “Um. What? 0-1-0-1-0-1-1?”

Every other woman in the back yard: “Fuck!”

So there you have it folks, the world’s most eligible hooded nerd is off the market. The wedding was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, seen by a lucky few who are still trying to wrap their heads around it. It must have been kind of like looking at an eclipse, kind of like the one that people in Asia and the Western U.S. saw this morning, the famously mind-blowing Ring of Fire. It’s what’s called an annular eclipse, apparently, and it’s when the moon comes along and blocks the sun, just leaving a little ring of the fireball visible to us mortals. Of course, the real eclipse didn’t happen in Mark’s backyard, but probably late last night, when Mark’s moon eclipsed Priscilla Chan’s Asian “ring of fire.” It might well have gone like this:

Priscilla: “Oh, Mark, eclipse my ring of fire.”

Mark: “Um. 0100010101101010101001010100.”

Priscilla: “Give it to me like a billion bucks!”

Mark: “Um. 00000000000000000000111111111111!!!”

Anyway, I reckon I’m kind of being a shitbird-asshole about the whole thing, but the truth is they’re a pretty adorable couple. But how can a guy not be a little bitter at another guy when that other guy could buy Egypt and move it to Arkansas? In any event, here’s to you kids, you glorious fucking billionaire man-child and you Asian cutie. I raise my mint julep to salute you before passing out in my rickety rocking chair. Here’s to you.

Priscilla: “Eclipse me, Mark.” Mark: “Um. 0101001010.”

Gateway Sexual Activity, Governors, and Shitbirds

You ever just sit around and think about politics? I did recently and it made me want to puke. Now normally I don’t like to get real political, but every once in a while something comes along that’s so plain damn stupid that I don’t even reckon it’s got any business being in the news or anywhere else.

Did you see the story on “gateway sexual activity”? and the Sex Education Bill the Governor of Tennessee just signed into law? Check it out: A bill that puts a gag order on talking about sex? Do we really want to make it so our kids know absolutely nothing about how kids are made? How fucked the hell up is that? That dude must be smoking ground bull nuts (not that I’d know anything about that but my cousin Clem swears by it as a way to unwind from his sewage treatment gig)!

I saw Stephen Colbert talking about the bill on “The Colbert Report” and laughed my ass off when he said: “Kissing and hugging are the last stop before reaching Groin Central Station, so it’s important to ban all the things that lead to the things that lead to sex.” Indeed! And now teachers in Tennessee are worried as hell that they can’t even talk about sex in school without facing $500 fines and suspensions. Guess they’d better avoid talking about “asthma” in health class because it’s got the word “ass” in it. Remind me to steer clear of Tennessee. What the fuck, right?

And you gotta love the advice proponents of the bill give about sex in general, which is “just don’t think about it.” Do you remember being a fourteen year-old boy? I do – hell, I still am that boy – and I remember thinking about tits and ass and touching stuff about four hundred times a day and if some asshole Governor had told me to just “not think about it” and to avoid “gateway sexual activity” I’d probably tell him to shove it sideways into his own damn gateway. Think about that, Governor. The whole damn thing just reeks to high heaven of the Taliban, Afghanistan, Iran, and that book by that Canadian woman, Atwood, called “The Handmaid’s Tale.” See, in the book, the Middle East has taken over the USA and everywhere else and nobody gets to get laid anymore except these sex slaves called Handmaids who get fucked by their male owners while the owners’ wives hold them down. Sounds really kinky but I don’t think I’d be into it. How about you, Governor Bill (willy) Haslam of Tennessee (hmmm…Haslam sounds a lot like Islam… coincidence?)? Is that your kind of thing, you retrograde, Taliban-loving shit-bird?

So this week, in protest of shit like this, let’s all get out there and engage in as much good old fashioned “gateway sexual activity” as we can. It’s our civic duty. It’s about survival of the damn species. It’s about good times and lying out under the stars with a good woman and not feeling bad about it. Hot damn!

Governor Bill Haslam: “I am a shitbird. I enjoy fat Taliban cock.”

Louis Armstrong, Divorce, and Brothels

You ever just sit and think about Louis Armstrong? Now most people, when they think of him, they think of this dude with blown out cheeks, singing about how wonderful everything is in that raspy tone that makes you think of a wolf choking on a rooster. But he wasn’t always that fat old guy you’ve probably got in your head.

Hell, once upon a time in New Orleans, Armstrong was some skinny little kid working a job just like the one you probably had when you were a kid: helping Morris Karnofsky deliver coal to whorehouses in the red-light district called Storyville. Now, the good thing for Louis was that part of what Morris had him do was blow on a tin horn all day long (so as to let the whores get their clothes and come out to buy coal), and doing all that blowing helped the boy get the stamina he’d later need to play the trumpet like a living God. Then, one day when little Lou was ten, he saw a beat-up old cornet (a kind of cool, twisted-up trumpet thing) in a store window with a pricetag that said $5, so he borrowed the money from Morris and paid him back at 50¢ a week. The rest, like they say, is history.

I recently read about Louis Armstrong’s early years, and it got me to thinking not just about how cool his music is, but also about how you never know how one thing might lead to another. Like, when little Lou bought that old cornet, did he have any idea it would change his life for good, or that delivering coal to whores was just the right thing for him?

When I got divorced last year, I thought it was kind of the end of the world. I felt damn miserable, alone. I couldn’t stop drinking bourbon and smoking my corncob pipe. (Well, that part’s pretty normal, if I’m honest.) I mean, I knew I had to get divorced. Things with my now-ex just weren’t working for a damn. First we fought about small things, then about big things, then about everything. When I think of the end of my marriage, I kind of picture it as my period of delivering coal to whores. ‘Course, it was my ex-wife doing all the blowing, most of it on the side, but you get the idea.

So one day, sitting here in the country shack that used to belong to my Uncle Remus (a great bootlegger until his still blew up — he’s badly missed), looking at my computer and feeling low, I just went ahead and started writing a story I thought might cheer me up. I’ve always dug reading books on account of my old man having a real fine library, but I never thought about writing one. I think I was scared of what people would think, or if it would be any good. But after the divorce, something changed, I just didn’t care what anybody thought anymore. So I started writing short, funny books, with no other purpose than making myself and my friends crack up. And doing that, it made me feel better. It was like I could take all the shitty sadness I felt burning up my insides and put it down on paper.

Man, this post is a little sadder than the others. But maybe this isn’t a sad story. Maybe the divorce is the thing that had to happen to get me to do what I really should be doing. I’m not the happiest I’ve ever been, but I do feel really good about what I’m doing. Also, all this reflecting is making me damn hungry! So, in honor of old Louie, here’s a mighty fine recipe for New Orleans style red beans and rice:

Red Beans and Rice á la Clayton Diggs:

  • Olive oil
  • I Onion, chopped
  • 10 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Green pepper, chopped
  • 1 Celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 Fresh jalapeño, minced
  • 1 t Thyme
  • 1 t Cayenne pepper
  • 1 T Chili Powder
  • 2 Hot sausages, cooked and chopped into cubes
  • 1/2 lb Boiled ham, chopped into little cubes
  • 1 Bag dried red beans, soaked overnight
  • Cooked white rice
  • 1 Louis Armstrong album, preferrably on vinyl
  • 1-8 Sazerac Cocktails — The Officical Cocktail of New Orleans™
  • (3 oz. rye (or other sweet whiskey), bitters, sugar, absinthe (pastis liquer works if you can’t get absinthe), lemon peel, ice. Muddle sugar and bitters in a glass. Add in ice and rye, shake in shaker ’til nice and cold. Coat a highball glass with absinthe. Pour in the strained rye mix. Garnish with a lemon peel.)

Sauteé your veggies for a couple minutes in hot oil, then add the spices and fry a little longer. Now chuck in all that tasty meaty goodness, the beans, and enough water to cover it all up. Cook it in a big pot for 4 hours, adding water as it’s needed. While it’s cooking, play Armstrong loud and proud, the hell with your neighbors, and drink Sazerac Cocktails. When the beans are done, if you can still find your feet, serve them with hot white rice. It’s time to change your life! Yeehah!

“I enjoy brothels and coal delivery. And the trumpet.”

What Your Kids Know about Squirrel Stew

You ever just sit down and think about what’s really funny? The funniest person I know is my 9 month-old son.  The cool thing about him is that every day, everything he does, it’s a damn premiere.

Imagine that.

Every single thing he sees is brand spankin’ new.  It’s like he’s always cruising his own little red carpet, getting interviewed by that crazy plastic chick — what’s her name?… Joan Rivers. Any time I feel bummed, all I’ve gotta do is watch him eat some pureed bananas or something. He goes: “MMMMM-MMMMMM-MMMMM” like he’s in a trance, and his arm bounces up and down to the beat of some unheard music.

He just started crawling, which is good, because for a long time there he was stuck on dragging himself around the house using only his arms. Man, it was totally creepy.  Remember how in the Terminator flicks some killer robot would get cut in half but it won’t stop coming, just keeps dragging its damn self, looking to kill shit?  My boy was like that.  Plus, he had this thing for dust bunnies, I reckon they looked kind of tasty to him, or cute or something, because any time I’d be sweeping the house, along’d come the boy like a little Terminator robot, pulling himself along using his arms, with his legs dragging behind him, yelling “Da-da-da-da-da-da!” like a crazy man.  You ever see that?

It’s fuckin’ freaky!

And man, I tell you what, this boy loves to eat everything. I’ve got a theory about that, by the way. See, since the time he was a tiny tot, I’ve been feeding him every damn thing you can imagine. Hell, when he was four months he tried squirrel stew and he loved it. Of course, I pushed it through a little baby food mill on account of him not having any teeth, so the whole thing was just a paste, but he sure ate it right up. He puts down every other thing you can name too. Now that’s a little redneck! The way you’ve got to figure it is this: if you give your kid sweet, salty, tasteless, snot-looking food that comes in those itty bitty glass jars, then that’s all he’s ever going to want. You’ve got to expand his horizons! Babies dig spicy muskrat, and hearty beef stew, but most times, they don’t get a chance to try anything that good. Other stuff the kid eats: liver, spinach, beets, tuna casserole, taco salad. Stuff he doesn’t eat: nothing. See what I mean? The proof is in the pudding? Oh, yeah, and he loves pudding. Man, all this food talk, as usual, is giving me the munchies. Here’s a good recipe to keep the homefires burning.

Squirrel Stew:

  • 6 dead-as-hell squirrels
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red wine
  • Basil and oregano
  • Olive Oil

Filet the squirrels and set aside the good meaty chunks. (A note on squirrels: It’s easy to get the skin off. Just make an incision where the hindquarters meet the hips and pull the skin off like little pants. Then use a real sharp knife to get the meat off the hindlegs. A good-sized squirrel has actually got good meat on it, especially in late fall. Oh yeah, and be sure to pick out any pellets. Lead is not good eating!)

Time to make some tasty squirrel stock. Snap off the femurs and fry them in hot oil to get the flavor out of the marrow. Go ahead and fry up some onions and carrots too. Toss in some basil and oregano, a bunch of water, some salt and pepper, and simmer for half an hour. Strain out the bones but leave in the veggies. Run it all through a blender and set it aside for a little later.

Now chop up your veggies. Sauteé the meat until brown, then add the onions, peppers, then add the tomatoes and the stock. Simmer all that goodness for an hour, two hours, whatever you’ve got at your disposal. Add the potatoes in the last half hour of cooking.

Serve with some crusty bread with lots of butter. Or try this: toast a piece of bread, then butter it and grind some black pepper. Stick it on the bottom of a bowl and pour the stew over it. De-freakin’-licious!

You know what’s cool? If you’ve never had squirrel stew, then this’ll be a premiere for you! Just like being a kid again. Yeehah!

“I’m a dead squirrel. Eat me. I am fuckin’ delicious.”

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