my jaundiced eye

the absurdities of life

Month: January, 2015

OB&C and the egg

This egg is hardboiled

The other day the OB&C awoke with an overwhelming urge to start his day with a bit of Conecuh sausage, a slice of toast and a perfectly fried egg. He announced this as I was catching up on the latest beheading in the faint hope that I might get up and actually cook it for him. Realizing that this was highly unlikely he shuffled over to the refrigerator in search of some sausage and an egg. I personally subscribe to the old adage not to keep all of your eggs in one basket. Therefore, I keep the uncooked poultry ova in a country-cute basket (which would be the envy of every woman who has a mountain house and loves gingham and bear motifs) and I give any hard boiled eggs free range (better late than never) and scatter them haphazardly around the fridge. Seems like a pretty straightforward arrangement, but the OB&C’s steel trap of a mind operates on an entirely different plane. Perhaps you remember a prior post regarding his tendency to “overthink.” In willful ignorance of my system of ovapartheid he opened the fridge door and peered intently at the contents, mulling over his strategy. He then eased into a crouch and cautiously clawed his way into its deepest recesses, threading his arm through a maze of outdated jams, jars of pickled okra, sardine cans, molding olives, pigs knuckles, a small packet of mouse feces (don’t ask), odd bits of cheese and several containers of earthworms, bypassing the basket of eggs that was smack in his face. Finally he pried out one lone egg and like the archaeologist who has succeeded in his ultimate quest to unearth the fabled tomb of King Salami Salami Boloney, triumphantly held it aloft as if it were some priceless artifact.

After all that exertion he decided he’d better calm down and read a few of the endless adolescent emails middle aged men send to one another. After perusing a few of these soporifics he was finally up to cooking a bit of sausage and popping a piece of bread into the toaster. Now, the piece de resistance, an egg fried to perfection! He gently picked up his egg that had required such an herculean effort to procure and with a flourish cracked it on the edge of the skillet. I had been monitoring his laborious pursuit of the egg closely, anticipating this moment when, like Wiley Coyote falling off the cliff, the OB&C would come down to earth with a thud. He turned the egg over in his hand and examined it carefully. Slowly he turned to me with a look of amazement mixed with despair and declared “This egg is hardboiled!”

“Yes it is.”


what the follywood?


MJE volunteered to let some film students shoot a short movie in her house for two days this weekend. If I knew then what I know now I might have been a bit more cautious. I’d been told there’d be 8-10 kids, turned out more like 15-20, all with endless needs and bottomless stomachs. They arrived at about 7:45am in a fleet of cars, a UHaul truck filled with gear and toting a bag of bagels. They set up a little food table outside, followed immediately by what would become standard operating procedure. Would I happen to have a toaster? Hot coffee? Sugar? Cream? Soy milk? Lox? Eggs benedict? I cooked enough lunch to feed the homeless population of San Francisco and even that wasn’t quite enough. One of the vegetarians requested a meat free tomato sauce for the spaghetti and followed that with a hope that I would accommodate the glutenophobics in the group. “Listen kiddo, tell those cretins that tomatoes don’t have gluten and not to eat the goddam pasta.” Capiche?

 But there’s more! Would I happen to have sheers for the windows to filter the light? And tape. Batteries, a smallish statue in the style of Jane Austen, a lighter, extension cord, tweezers, pliers, a cordless drill (sorry, why do you need that?) magic markers, white board markers, zip lock bags, rubber bands, toothpicks, staplers, Xanax. Would I happen to have an old timey- looking file box, and files? And a dark and scary place to “hide” them? How about some firecrackers or maybe an air horn to scare off the birds who were making too much birdish noise. Could I also turn off the heat and AC, too noisy. How about unplugging the fridge, ditto. I watched aghast as five kids struggled to carry a massive dolly upstairs and damn near had to knock back a double nerve steadier on the spot. Fortunately I’d carried around my coffee cup all day to maintain my composure. Ever the perceptive smartass, Bandoleira-Saturnalia remarked “Whatever you’ve got in that cup I know for sure it’s not coffee.”

 Between moments of hyperactivity there stretched eons when the kids slouched all over the house, feet up happily clacking away on their little devices. Or alternately tipping back in my tiny French dining chairs or hunching over the 18thc table which they covered with spiral notebooks, wads of production notes, assorted writing implements and clunky bits of equipment. At one point I spied an open bottle of acetone and could have won the olympic100 meter dash with the my sprint to grab it.

 They hired a third rate hack and flew him in from LA to play the main character. He neglected to tell them that he was hypoglycemic and needed to sit down and eat every 15 minutes (which adds up when he works for eight hours and not a minute longer) and couldn’t tolerate the cold. And he was deaf. In one scene he was to come in from the porch and it took the entire houseful of people screaming his name to get him to open the door and make his entrance.

He chewed so much scenery that I thought he was going to collapse after every take. The student actor they hired for the second character was clearly not ready for primetime either. Between the two of them there wasn’t a moment when there weren’t tears of every stripe: streaming tears, tears being choked back, desperately squeezed out tears, tears being wiped away. When they did manage to be dry eyed they delivered their dialogue at a decibel level to rival the sounds of the munition explosions wafting over from Parris Island where they probably heard it and wondered what all the weeping and wailing was about.

 When Ethyl Merman belted out that there’s no business like show business I get it.


Ummm  1:12:15

MJE is bewildered as to why perfectly good words in the King’s English are abandoned and replaced with flaccid alternatives. It’s as though the entire American populace is trapped in a perpetual yoga class. I wonder whether the same phenomenon is occurring in other cultures and languages. If you find out please shoot me a soothingly worded note.

There are any number of egregious examples but these are some of my favorites, meaning the ones I hate the most.

“Be mindful.” Does that translate into paying attention, like the recording on the subway that tells you to “mind the gap.” The last time I heard that bit of verbal dryer lint it was uttered by a humanoid blessed with the mind of a gopher.

“Be present.” Does that mean not being absent? Well if you’re there you are obviously present, and if you’re not you are absent. The benefit of being absent is that you are out of earshot.

“Stay in the moment .” It’s only 60 seconds, do you really need a reminder? Plus, isn’t that a conundrum? If you are consciously making an effort to stay in the moment then by that very action you are in fact outside of the moment?

“Get in touch with your feelings.” Frankly, I have no idea what the hell that means.

“Start a conversation” That used to mean extending your hand and introducing yourself to someone and trying to find a topic which you and your new pal can discuss. Like, “Is it just me or does Mitch McConnell look exactly like a turtle?” which you could follow up with “and don’t you think that guy, Mike Pence the governor of Illinois, the one with the white hair has SS officer written all over him.” Now that’s what I call starting a conversation.

“Reach out.“ The lyrics to “Reach Out I’ll be there” by the Four Tops immediately come to mind. “Come on girl, reach out for me, and I’ll be there with a love that will pull you through.” I don’t guess that’s what he means when some television bobble head intones “we reached out” to the head of the terrorist group El Kabob regarding its recent beheading of a hapless American tourist stupid enough to be wandering around Syria but did not receive a reply.

“Unpack.” Often used in conjunction with the following as the first of a two part process of newsgathering.

“Drill down.” After you have “unpacked” it is then necessary to “drill down.” Get it?

I am deeply disappointed to hear even veteran newscasters use this term, trying to appear hip and appeal to the all-important 20-30 year old demographic.

Yo, geezer news nation! Those guys are not watching you, they get their news from John Stewart. Duh.

twelfth night, the lord of misrule and the art of the “get up”

twelfth night 3

Twelfth night, January 6, is traditionally when the guilt and anxiety-provoking season celebrating the birth of the lord of peace ends and the freewheeling, rowdy, drunken reign of the lord of misrule begins, culminating in the bacchanalia of mardi gras. But then, dontcha know the very next day, Ash Wednesday the old wet blanket’s back and we all have to feel really guilty about how much fun we’ve been having without him around and repent, hard time. And lent is even longer than the xmas season, or at least it used to be, until walmart decided it starts the day after the 4th of July.

Once again we can thank those fab pagans for another christian custom. They celebrated 12th night (or thereabouts) too except they called it Saturnalia, which is what I would have named my first child if I’d known then what I know now. And in various cultures through the ages it has been ruled by the aforementioned LOM, or in France “le prince des sots” (of which I am particularly fond) or the Abbot of Unreason in Scotland (boring). Whatever the moniker, come twelfth night she (okay, maybe he) reigned over the Feast of Fools (which is what I am calling the cassoulet I am making for dinner, for it is truly a fool’s errand, longer and more intense than a 12 step program but with a really good meal at the end). During the rule of the LOM, the proper nature of things are turned on their heads, or kicked in their asses, depending on your point of view. Peasants rule the kings, slaves their masters, etc. and during this period the LOM has the power to command anyone to do anything her fickle mind comes up with.

My fickle mind came up with a bash to celebrate the season and commanded all the guests to create a “get up” for the evening. A “get up” is familiar to anyone from New Orleans. It is not a costume, it is an improvised fanciful sartorial creation. However, most of my dinner guests hail from lands far far away from New Orleans and trying to explain what it meant was nigh on to impossible, like asking Helen Keller to sing an aria from La Traviata. So just as Annie Sullivan, Helen’s teacher, had to start somewhere, I began with goodwill. No not that kind. The goodwill store. So we made a journey over to the land where dreams are born.

There are not words to describe the vast sea of possibilities. Every one funnier than the one before. The other patrons, seeing us sobbing in hysterics underneath the mens’ pants rack probably just took us for employees having a little setback on our road to recovery. In the end we walked out with, among other things, one choir robe, three sets of “drapery sheers”, some furry stuff, a lab coat, a tiny necktie, a pair of men’s white slip-on shoes with a huge gold logo, a couple of appropriately gaudy polyester shirts and a pair of silky maroon double knit leisure pants.

And so the LOM has decreed: Let the “get up” games begin.