Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pete's Whipping Boy

Right after the words of commitment were spoken, it was pointed out to me that I was not ever actually in checkmate but rather in check, a keen move of the bishop getting me out of the predicament I thought I was in.

Thumper silently mouthed "No hope in hell" when I looked at her wondering if I could get one last 72 hour pass. Not to be. You invite guests and suddenly it all becomes much more serious and staid.

Mike is one of the more faithful of the extended clan and points out that St. Peter eternally tests us in this world. No longer a believer, I will accept at the very least that Pete is out there somewhere spinning the wheel of fate and sticking his finger in to stop it on "wild card." I know, I've been there.

When you leave Fenway in the 8th, Ortiz slams in a four runner. When you lock the lot into a seventy six year, one percent CD, the market decides the sky's the limit. When you find the woman you're going to marry and are only going to the upscale grocery joint because they carry a pink lemonade fizzy drink that works well with gin, St. Peter puts a cutie in line ahead of you who is just no end of interested in what you're going to do with the tilapia this weekend.

I thought I'd cry in it.

Here, take the fish. She already loves me. I can't really impress her any more.

I'm ok with being Pete's occasional whipping boy. It reminds me that we all have choices in life and once made, can't really hit the re-set button to try again.

Contrary to Robert Frost, who at JFK's innaugural read from his piece, "Yellow Wood" as follows:

"Two roads diverged into a yellow wood and I,
I took the one less travelled by.
Yet wondered if I'd have gotten lucky on the first date,
Had I taken the other."

The president-elect clapped heartily.

One of these days, "Pete's Whipping Boy" will become a book. The foibles of a hopeless fellow who has opportunity dropped into his lap just when things finally seem to be working out. It will read into the center of the book where it will marry to "Murphy's Handmaiden"; the story of a woman who lives anything that can go wrong, will and will be tax-audited to boot.

I'm not sure what will happen when the stories meet. You're going to have to stick around to find out.

Bunny on.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Sporting Life

So here's the residual from one of Thumper and my afternoon jousts. An elegant victory on her part that speaks to her ability to plan, strategize and execute.
If I had been paying attention I would not only have seen her bishop sidling up to my king in the drunken diagonal way bishops tend to sidle, both on the field of battle and off, but I also would have seen her placing metaphoric pawns, rooks and knights in my corner these last three years that will surely some time have me in checkmate.

I believe that will be next week.

There's the danger in dating. It's an evolutionary process and designed to go somewhere. Boys, if you like to tread water, you'd better get out of the dating lake real soon. There's one hell of an undercurrent designed to suck better men down to the depths, pull them to the dam that holds the whole thing up and the next thing you know you're below the rapids somewhere in a mall holding a woman's purse.

Look for the octavial signals. Women, gathering in gaggles, tend to raise their collective voices in volume and pitch when good and exciting things happen such as engagements, pregnancies, weddings and the like. While professional achievements garner warm hugs and offers of congratulation, those wishes are delivered in a level tone of voice. Not so personal milestones. Flash a glittery rock and squeals of pleasure inevitably result, frightening the hell out of any man or men in hearing distance. The understanding among us is, yes, somehow somewhere one of our pack has fallen. We mourn, we toast the lad and then we hand him the purse and send him on his way.

Not that getting my purse was entirely her idea, I admit having had some part in the matter. But my chess game was, well, like my chess game. I happened into it, she made a mistake and I capitalized on the opportunity. That said, it was messy as hell.

We play chess every Sunday afternoon. Her victories are elegant. Mine are a mess. Chasing king all over the freaking board with what little I have left, usually a pawn, a knight and a rook who have met in a smoldering foxhole, looked each other in the eye and said "old general disorder has slaughtered his own forces again, what say we make a break for the other side?" And by chance sometimes they make it into old opposing king's camp looking for the beef soup they serve POW's only to corner the poor regent.

Which is about where we are.

Either I've stumbled into the field kitchen and found Sire supping evening stew whereupon I make him my captive and, by the way, did I hear a rumor you had a daughter?

Or the various traps and pitfalls she's engineered these last years have all sprung simultaneously and the whole thing looks like some Merlot-drenched last move in a giant game of Mousetrap. I can't decide. Either way.

Game over.

Bunny on.


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Wednesday, October 08, 2008


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The Smaller Treasures

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Gourd Yourselves

The cafeteria downstairs at Leviathon, Inc. is replete with squash and pumpkin dishes perpetrating the culinary myth that if something is brightly colored and laying about in a field at the end of summer, it must be edible.

The truth is of course that pumpkins are of little use save for carving into seasonal decorations that look like lit up 19th century Austrian physicists or mashing onto roadways as impromptu ABS skidpad test tracks.

Squash are little better. The origin of their name comes from the response to cook's query of Edgar the 11th of 9th century Britain (the scratchy tartan king). "What shall I do with these legumes, Sire?" There's a clue to a food you have to hollow out and throw seeds away on. You throw the seeds out so hopefully no one gets the bright idea of planting more.

There are other foods out there. Zucchini is one. It comes from the Italian word for "truck tire." My mother, who is perhaps one of the single worst cooks in the world (recipe for most things: Boil until thoroughly dead, add mayonnaise.) kicked me off the zucchini train early on in life with a ground beef-stuffed thing that no amount of ketchup could save or worse, disguise its original resemblance to turd in a shell.

Its kind of a shell game of nature to imbue bright colors into items that can at once be either tasty treats or deathly poison. Look at oranges, lemons and bananas. Don't look at lemons too hard because their eventual value as a foodstuff had to wait for the invention of the Manhattan cocktail. In tropical climates where easy going happy natives walk hand in hand on topless beaches, bright colors tend to lead one to satifying flavors in foods picked off a tree. Now look at pumpkins, squash, those bright red mushrooms. In northern climates where keyed up overachieving locals trudge through woods, chewing on bark, leaving presents behind larger bushes, their womenfolk failing to shave appendages, bright food will either kill you outright or make you hallucinate that these unshaved womenfolk are desireable, or will fill the considerable gaps in the mensfolk teeth with orange, stringy strands of pumpkinflesh. At this point, the womenfolk will brew mushrooms in tea in hopes of halucinating some sort of desire for the knock-kneed, orange-mouthed menfolk who louse their woods in the first place.

And somewhere in the middle climes, things like peaches grow for inhabitants who, while not as completely gruesome as northerners, are nowhere near as fun as tropical folks at a pig roast mixer.

The only, only, only saving grace of the northern tribes is that at some point they spilled a basket of their more horrible harvest into a pot of boiling grain and came up with hopped Oktoberfest beer. Saving grace to get a little fuzzy around the edges as you are harvesting indigestible things from your fields. To which they added Halloween, sort of a fright primer to having to eat this crap for the rest of the winter when the beer runs out.

This year my costume with be "Credit." I'm going to go to parties and be elusive and inaccessible.

Bunny on.

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