[lit-ideas] Sunday Something

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 25 May 2014 10:58:57 -0700

because our guest were chinese and german
and because we knew little more than the fact they are both mathematicians
we had to have a bit of a think
before deciding the best thing to look for
at the beaverton market might be
for burgers
to be cooked in the pink
with chips

I've been reading Jan-Erik Pettersson, "Stieg Larsson; The Real Story of the 
Man Who Played with Fire."  I'd call it an "excuse" for a book if that didn't 
sound so harsh.  What I mean is that Pettersson wanted to write a history of 
the European far right and found in Larsson a convenient peg on which to hang 
his thoughts.  Good move; I wouldn't normally have bought a history of thugs 
and nutters, but it's interesting.  I mentioned some of this to the chickens 
when they gathered around.  I was doing that, "let's have a beer and digest the 
day's information" thing, trying to take in the beauty of the light on the 
trees, when I felt a pecking at my ankles.  
"I'm reflecting," I said.
"Popcorn?  Of the cheesy sort?"
"Or chips?"
"I'm enjoying the light on the trees."
Cheddar, "His feet don't taste quite like they smell.  It's a funny thing, 
sometimes, with food."
"Try his trousers."
"Can't.  He keeps shoving me away with his foot.  Maybe he's not in a 
benevolent mood?" 
"Jump up on the table.  See if he's got popcorn hidden about his person."
"Ladies," I said, "I'm not deaf.  It's just not 'l'heure du popcorn.'"
They looked puzzled. moved their heads as if something wasn't quite coming into 
focus.  "Well what 'l'heure' is it?"
"C'est l'heure du bugger off and leave me alone," I responded.
"Oooooooh, get him!  Talking foreign."
They walked away.  
Minutes later they were back.  "What 'l'heure' is it now?"
"I'll get the popcorn."

Appenzeller is still doing the try-to-hatch-infertile-eggs thing.  We lift her 
out daily and she goes running towards water and food, wanders around, and then 
instinct takes back over.  "I've a mind," she said on Monday, "to try the 
fast-unto-death thing."
"Gandhi?" I said, with Gallic shrug, "what on earth would you be protesting?  
Life of Riley."
"I'm not protesting," she said, "I'm thinking of dictating a book on how to 
lose weight through suffering."
"'Forty Shades at the back of the Shed'?"

My father has developed a test for distilled alcohol. The theoretical basis is 
that volatile esters are responsible for hangover symptoms.  He doesn't drink 
in large quantity so I assume he's referring to something short of what the 
French call, "The head of wood." Anyway, the way to test for these esters, he 
says, is to heat the alcohol just a bit and then use your nose, which is far 
more sensitive than the tongue. Following thus far? It's a relatively simple 
test to perform: someone gives you hooch, you pour a drop in your one hand, 
close the other one over, rub, stick your nose in; if what you smell is smooth, 
then the alcohol is fine, if it seems like it may be removing the lining of 
your nasal passages this liquid might be something you'd want to avoid. I 
mention all this in preamble to a revelation and a confession. The revelation 
is that not long ago I bought hooch in Switzerland, trusting that the People of 
the Tell would not lead me into the path of misery.  Ha! The bottle I so 
carefully brought back, no one here will even pour on peaches. I thought about 
handing what's left to some homeless man, but who wants that  responsibility? 
We use the stuff to set Christmas puddings on fire.  Rest of the tale.  
Yesterday morning I finally tasted--at the Beaverton Farmer's Market-- a gin 
made in Portland. I write "finally" because there is a stand in the airport, 
promoting said gin.  I shan't name the gin...for reasons which will become 
obvious.  So, I took a taste.  And then the Swiss lapse, bubbled to the surface 
of my consciousness.  "I ought to do the test." The demonstrator guy was 
distracted, so I did my hands thing, poke my nose forward and...make one of 
those noises cats manufacture immediately before a hairballectomy.  Holy 
horrors, Batman!  We hurried away, with J. describing in detail the 
demonstrator guy's face.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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