Wednesday, February 20, 2013

So gross. (BUT ALSO VERY COOL) (Sundays With The Classics)

Here is the last part of The Odyssey I read today:

They, seizing the hot stake rasp'd to a point
Bored his eye with it, and myself, advanced
To a superior stand, twirled it about.
So grasping hard the stake pointed with fire,
We twirl'd it in his eye; the bubbling blood
Boil'd round about the brand; his pupil sent
A scalding vapour forth that sing'd his brow,
And all his eye-roots crackled in the flame.
As when the smith an hatchet or large axe
Temp'ring with skill, plunges the hissing blade
Deep in cold water...
So hiss'd his eye around the olive-wood.

It's the part where Odysseus and four of his men take the six-foot long (I know it's six feet long because they say they cut the log to a "fathom" and a "fathom" is six feet) log and spear it into Polypheme's eye while he sleep drunk in a pool of his own vomit, and also that vomit has human parts in it.


Odysseus is still telling his story to the king of whatever wherever he is.  I forget.  But he's got to the part where they go to the Lotus Eaters, which is dealt with in about a paragraph, and fine, because that's boring, but then they get to the Cyclops' island, and Odysseus spies a giant and they want to see what this is all about, so they go and get into his cave.

Everyone knows that part, right?

Maybe not, because here's what was so awesome about this part: Yes, Odysseus and his men are trapped in the cave with a cyclops and the cyclops is eating them, we all know that part, but what got lost when I first heard about The Odyssey whenever that was is this:

They aren't hiding.  The cyclops knows they are there, and lets them wander around all they want, and just whenever he wants he plucks one of them up and eats them.

That, for me, is worse -- way worse -- than the version I somehow learned along the way, which was that Odysseus and his men were hiding whenever Polypheme was around.  That's how I remembered it, anyway.  (As for how I remember it, I don't know.  I suppose I must have read excerpts, or maybe it was on the Superfriends or something.  I just remember the cyclops part, somehow.)

I remember it as "Odysseus and his men were in the cave, hiding," but that's not what it is, at all.  Instead, they talk to Polypheme, who has locked them into his cave and after they say who they are, Polypheme says that he's a cyclops and he's not afraid of stupid old Zeus, and then Odysseus lies and says his ship crashed on the rocks (presumably so that Polypheme won't go and destroy it, Odysseus being pretty smart) and after Odysseus tells him that Polypheme picks up two of his men, cooks them, and eats every single part of them.

Just like that.

And then he goes to sleep, not even worrying about the rest of the tiny humans wandering around.  And why worry? Odysseus plans, while Polypheme is sleeping, to stab him around the liver -- stabbing someone in the stomach and piercing the intestines is probably a way easier, and way surer way of killing someone than going for the heart, which is surrounded by bone.  It'll take longer, but once you cut open an intestine, you'll spill out all the poisonous goop intestines carry and the odds are the person dies of sepsis.  Remember that -- but Odysseus realizes that doing that would doom them because Polypheme had pulled a godawful big rock in front of the cave so they'd be trapped.

Then the next day, Polypheme - -having trapped them in all day -- comes back and eats two more guys, right there -- before Odysseus gets him drunk on wine in order to pull of the 'stab him in the eye with a sharp stick' plan.

(It's while drunk that Polypheme barfs up parts of Odysseus' men.)

I can't get past how creepy that would be, how the real scary part of the story has always been glossed over: imagine, being held in a cave by someone so powerful he's not even worried about you being loose.  He's just keeping you there, ready to eat, like so many living, breathing Cheese Doodles.  That kept bugging me out the entire time I was reading this portion.  It's the best thing Homer's written so far, and it is so heads and shoulders above the Riverdance island from last time, and Telemachus' endless feasting, that I am finally glad I'm reading this.

And to think I was going to give up!  If they taught that opening set of lines in English classes in high school, more kids would be scholars of Greek epic poetry. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Allow me, if you will, to get into just how completely annoying and overwhelmingly irritating every single website in the world is, with these user names and passwords and different rules for everyone of them so that  even where you have a system for passwords and user names the entire world seems to have conspired against you to make you constantly frustrated and #*#%$&$ off just trying to enter a caption contest on a website.

Because, you know, that's a secure thing.  We can't have just anyone entering a caption contest!  What if someone entered under my name?


Well, I mean, the world wouldn't change at all, but still: The New Yorker, which is increasingly getting me angry by their never accepting my poems to print and then never accepting my captions to win, is now really high up on my Enemies List

(Yes, I have one. Everyone should.)

because they have again changed their log-in and password system to enter the caption contest.

Here is the exact text of the email I got from the New Yorker recently:

This message contains graphics. If you do not see the graphics, click here to view.
This e-mail was sent to you by The New Yorker Advertising Promotion Department.
To insure delivery to your inbox (not bulk or junk folders), please add our e-mail address,, to your address book.

A Message From The New Yorker  
Dear Captioneers,
These days, there's not much you can do without a user name and password.
User name and password?
And that includes entering our Cartoon Caption Contest. You already know that, of course, because you've entered it. That's also why you're getting this e-mail. Because if you want to enter again, you may have to re-register your user name and password. Or create one, if you haven't used one thus far. We're merging our caption registration with our over-all registration, so one login will allow you to comment on blog posts and enter and vote on all contests, including the Caption Contest.
The easiest thing to do is to go to and create a registration—and that's it. Presto chango, you can now enter all future contests with your user name and password.
If you already have a user name and password, you can simply log in If you're having trouble with your password, please reset it here.
For more help, please contact customer support at 1-800-825-2510. I'm told they're very supportive.
Bob Mankoff,
Cartoon Editor

First of all the easiest thing to do is not require a name and password and log in just to enter a contest.  I get it that you want to create an email list and know who to market to, but do you really think that the caption contest is drawing in people who would not otherwise buy The New Yorker in the first place?

I would bet you a thousand dollars that every single person who enters the New Yorker Cartoon Caption contest knows about that contest because they already subscribe to the magazine, so what you are doing is not broadening your marketing base.  You are alienating your current subscribers by making it harder to enter a contest.

Here is exactly what I have had to do, so far, to comply with Bob Mankoff's easiest things to do, in order to enter a cartoon caption contest.

First, I put on the song "The Quiz" by Hello Saferide.

That is not technically a required step, but that song is peaceful and pleasant and soothing and I knew I would need it.

Then I went to their website.  When you go to the contest spot, you have the current cartoon:

And below it is a box, and two columns.  The box is to type in your caption.  The two columns are:

-- on the left: you can enter a bunch of information about yourself like your name and address and your display name so that if you win The New Yorker will put the name you want on the site ("Briane1213WisconsIN0012").

-- on the right is a login and password, which tells you AND I QUOTE

Log in below to avoid having to fill out the rest of this form. Your information has already been saved to your account.

So I went to the site and I typed the email for the login, and typed what I believed to be the most current version of the password I use, having just done this only about three weeks ago and so I was reasonably sure I know what password I am using now, but, of course, the password box doesn't remind you of whether this password needs a capital, or a number, or both, or none.

(Once, I spent 20 minutes trying to log in to my student loan account, getting more and more frustrated until I finally was able to recover my user name and then change my password, after which I realized that I was leaving off the number on the end of my password.  I was typing the password but had not typed 1 at the end of it.)

After putting in my user name and what I thought was my password, I was denied log-in because I had left some fields empty, including the caption box itself, and including all the demographic information on the left which I was told I didn't have to fill out if I just logged in.

As for the caption box, the reason I didn't enter my caption for that yet is:

(A) I don't have a caption yet, I haven't even begun to think about it, I'm still TRYING TO LOG IN and

(B) Sometimes, if you type your caption in and then log in and the login doesn't work you have to retype everything, including the caption, like a sucker.

STEP TWO.  Try again, this time using a capitalized first letter and adding a numeral after my current password.

This time, I am told to

Please log in with with your email and password.

The typo is theirs.

And also told that I must enter a username and a country, and my caption.  It is not clear if I have logged in, though, as the log-in box is no longer available for me to please log in with my New Yorker password:

So I picked my "Display name" and my country...

noting for the first time that

Any resident of the United States, Canada (except Quebec), Australia, the United Kingdom, or the Republic of Ireland age eighteen or older can enter or vote.
And I wonder: Why can't people in France vote?

Or people in Japan?

But this time it appears that everything is set except for my caption, so let's caption the bejeezus out of this cartoon.

So what I thought was a mountain in the background is a city, right? It's a bridge and some buildings.  Is this New York?  San Francisco?  Some other city with a bridge?  No other cities have bridges of note, so far as I know, beyond New York and San Francisco, and I say that as someone who has been in several cities.

Does the location matter?  Probably.  It's The New Yorker, after all, not The San Franciscoer.  Maybe I should go SF, though, only...


"Next time, I get to wear the outfit!
That seems almost too obvious.  If it came to me as I was actively thinking about something else -- I was pondering a Super Bowl-related joke -- then it would probably come to every Brooklyn hipster reading this issue at their locavore dentist's office (the hipsters are there to get their teeth crookedized.  I think the next big thing is going to be not-perfect teeth, because they will seem genuine.)

Probably too obvious.

Are the two out on a ride together? Probably not.  He's on a chopper, she's on a Vespa thing, and he's, of course, naked.  What if they are related, though?  What if


"I think you took my clothes when you left this morning."

That's okay.  That's on the right track.

"You've got my housekeys in your pocket."

That's even BETTER, I think.  Suggests that they spent the night together but they don't live together.  So the woman left him at her house, maybe? WOMEN'S LIB, amIright?  She is a sexy, confident, woman of the 21st century,  not afraid to pick up a biker and then head off to her job at a ... what kind of company would she work at? I want to say graphic design, but that's probably because we saw Side Effects yesterday and that was what Rooney Mara's character did for a living after Channing Tatum's character got thrown in prison for insider trading.

That's not a SPOILER.  It's the plot of the movie, in part, and you're told all that in the first two minutes of the movie.

You know what's weird? I cannot recall a single character's name from that movie except for Catherine Zeta Jones' character

who was called "Dr. Siebert."

So it probably doesn't matter what Vespa woman does.  Think think think.  Maybe a traffic-incident joke, something that the Vespa did that made the man lose his clothes?

All I've got is

"You cut me off back there," 

but that doesn't imply that he lost his clothes in the process, does it?

The man is definitely mad.  The woman appears to be ignoring him.

What's the story, here.  What has happened to make this man mad and this woman indifferent?

"I thought you said you had to be at work early today?"

Still on the "we slept together last night" theme, but a little better, maybe.

I really can't stare at that guy's body any longer.

But I can't not stare at it, either.

His eyebrows, for one thing, are really bushy.


Ordinarily, I do these things really quickly, but Mr F wanted to go for a ride, so we took him for a ride that lasted about a half-hour.  While we were doing that, I went over the ideas I had with Sweetie, and she liked the ones I had so far, so I am going to go with one of those.

Sweetie also clarified for me that in the movie Side Effects, Rooney Mara's character was called "Emily," and Jude Law's character was "Dr. Banks," only she knew his first name too and told it to me but I already forgot it.  She also knew that Channing Tatum's character was "Martin" and that Jude Law's wife's name was "Dierdre."

I was fine with just thinking of them as "Rooney" and "Channing" etc.

So I'm going with "You've got my housekeys in your pocket," because I like that one.

Let's go back and try to enter it.


So it took me only three tries to submit my entry, but I had to fill out the entire form anyway, and besides that, I've already forgotten the password that I used this time, which means when I enter next week, I am going to have to come back to this post to remember what I did to enter the contest.

Because, again, GOD FORBID someone enter a contest under false pretenses.  I can just see it now: some week, I will be watching Access Hollywood or the Academy Awards or the Nobel Prize ceremony and there will be a bunch of paparazzi surrounding some guy who will be walking around with January Jones on his arm and the people covering the event will say

"There's Briane Pagel, you know he won The New Yorker caption contest this week, and January Jones fell in love with him..."

And I'll be all yelling at the TV "Hey, that's not me, I'm me," but nobody will pay attention, and that guy will be living my life, and I'll have to shut up when Sweetie comes back into the room, but THAT GUY will be getting all the fame and fortune that comes with submitting the caption voted to be the funniest for a drawing of a couple of bears at a cocktail party talking about the stock market

OR, conversely, one day I'll come home from work all innocently,  hoping that Sweetie has made pizza for dinner that night (YES!) and I'll walk in and she'll hit me with a frying pan and when I say

"What was that for, and also did you, in fact, make pizza tonight?" she'll say

"I heard on the news that some guy named Briane Pagel won The New Yorker's caption contest and went on a date with January Jones! I'm leaving you!" and then she'll hit me again with the frying pan because we are in a Blondie comic strip.

So it's probably for the best that security is so tight around The New Yorker, but that is January Jones' loss.

So you'd want a "Tinier Stegosaurus" refrigerator magnet, right?

In the long, gray days between the Super Bowl and when we can see grass again in Wisconsin, I often times find myself looking around for new things to do, or things to cheer me up, or projects to work on, something like that -- and that is why the Vistaprint deals from Best Online Coupons are so welcome at this time of the year: because it makes it easier to get going on a new project.

Here's one I've been thinking of: a book of postcards based on my "Tinier Stegosaurus" pictures and other kinds of pictures I've been taking and posting here and there.  I love taking pictures, and I've been thinking how I could start making some money off of..., share them with the world.

So this Vistaprint coupon code 2013 from Best Online Coupons might be just the thing for that. From photo calendars to rubber stamps with my designs to custom-print services, they've got all kinds of neat deals on unique products that I could get going on and use as a new way to be creative.

And, yeah, to make money.

The nice thing about the promo codes February 2013 that Best Online Coupons is offering is it lets me get creative without investing a ton of money.  I could use their coupons to get a free photo calendar and see how it looks, then maybe order some up and give them out to people as prizes on my blog-- with excerpts from my books and stuff like that so people are every day reminded that they should go check out what I'm writing.

In fact, I could do a Three Good Things calendar... and more!  And more!  OK, cancel work this week...

Anyway, the coupon codes are really good, and Vistaprint is great for small businesses or print jobs that you can't do on your own but don't want to spend a lot of money on.  And while you're there, check out the other deals they've got.  Best Online Coupons has deals on clothes, electronics, books, and pretty much everything you can imagine.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Time Enough To Say Goodbye

Excellent author/professional grump PT Dilloway has released the excellent Volume Two of his superhero series, "Tales Of The Scarlet Knight."  I read both books 1 and 2 and have loved them.  Here is his entire post announcing it; find out more about a free giveaway on his blog, and the book is currently on sale for just $0.99!  Less than a buck!

Two-Cent Tuesday: Volume 2 is Here!

Today is the official release day for Time Enough to Say Goodbye, Tales of the Scarlet Knight Volume II.  Yes, that's quite a mouthful.  The good thing is that makes it easier to find in search engines, which is what I keep telling all these people who give their books one-word titles because they think it's cool.  Search engine optimization!

Anyway, like Volume I, Volume II costs only $2.99.  If it still says $299.99 somewhere that's because they haven't updated the site yet.  So just go to the Smashwords page and you can download it in whatever format you want:  Mobi for Kindle, ePub for Nook/Kobo, or PDF to read on your PC.  It is on Amazon & B&N but I make more money if you buy it from the Smashwords site.  I'm just saying.

Volume II actually has a long history to it.  I wrote the first draft starting in August 2009.  I remember that because it was the first book I wrote on my netbook.  I remember I wrote the first chapter in a Big Boy restaurant in Novi, MI just to test the newfound freedom of not needing a power cord.

I was never fully happy with that first version of the story.  It seemed like it needed something to make it more exciting.  The character of the Watchmaker especially was kind of boring.  I decided to rewrite it last year.  Except the rewrite didn't end up being much more exciting in a lot of ways.  Michael Offutt beta-read it and eventually we came up with the idea of introducing demons!

Demons already existed in a prequel story I'd written, one that focused on the witch character, Sylvia Joubert.  I hadn't really used them in any Scarlet Knight stories, but they seemed like a natural fit.  That allowed me to rewrite the Watchmaker and make him a scarier, more badass villain than before.  It also altered Marie Marsh's character by giving her some new abilities.

So now I think Volume II is a lot better than that early draft.  At the same time it still retains the best elements from that.

Like most of the Scarlet Knight stories, the plot revolves largely around sacrifices that need to be made.  For Emma Earl, aka the Scarlet Knight, the sacrifice is those people who are the ones she cares about the most:  her parents.

If you read the end of the first book then you know Marie Marsh has a weird pale eye that lets her see into the past and communicate with a little girl in the 19th Century named Veronica.  With some help from a mysterious old man who calls himself the Watchmaker, Marie finds a way to use her eye to actually go back in time to 1876 so she can save Veronica from dying from a fever by bringing her to the present.

This changes the timeline and suddenly Emma finds herself back at her old house with her parents still alive.  Even better yet, Emma is about to marry Dan Dreyfus, the love of her life.  Can Emma give all that up to put things right again?  Can Marie give up Veronica to put things right again?  And what's the deal with the Watchmaker?  Hurm...

If that's not enough of an enticement, let me just say this:  the end battle involves demons, ninja witches, and a giant worm.

You know you want it, and for $2.99 why not?  Go buy it now!

LET ME SAY THIS: That end battle was incredible.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

"Oh, death, and grief, and sorrow, and murder." (Sundays With The Classics)

And it's even actually on a Sunday!

I'm sitting in a hallway in my house outside of a bathroom where Mr F is sitting, for reasons that require a longer post that would be completely unrelated to Ulysses to explain.  So I won't, today, get distracted by that.

But as I am sitting here, I read Ulysses for 20 more minutes, my weird compulsion to keep reading this rather stultifying book continuing to drive me on.

In today's installment, the discussion over Shakespeare ended -- finally -- with Dedalus wrapping up a speech on how Shakespeare is really every character he wrote, as we all are, a wrap-up that begins with this mystifying quote:

He found in the world without as actual what was in his world within as possible.

I puzzled over that a long time, because I'm not sure it makes sense but I have the feeling that it makes sense, or ought to.

It seems meaningful, doesn't it?  So I tried to parse it:

...the world without is where he found as actual what was in his world within as possible?

So what he thought was possible in his mind, he found actually existed in the world?

That's the best I can do, but it seems to fit because at that point the discussion group was also comparing Shakespeare's world-creating abilities to God's:

The playwright who wrote the folio of this world and wrote it badly (He gave us light first and the sun two days later), the lord of things as they are whom the most Roman of catholics call dio boia, hangman god, is doubtless all in all in all of us, ostler and butcher, and would be bawd and cuckold too but that in the economic of heaven, foretold by Hamlet, there are no more marriages, glorified man, an androgynous angel, being a wife unto himself.

Which neatly wraps up the theme of the end of the Shakespeare dialogue (we are all every character that we meet) with a little blasphemy (God ain't so great) and continues Joyce's theme that I noted in an earlier installment of this: that everything ends up with death, even speeches about Shakespeare ending in Heaven, as foretold by Hamlet, who dies.

After Dedalus finishes that, the guys joke about how it could be reprinted in Buck Mulligan's magazine for a guinea, and then the viewpoint shifts to Father Conmee, who walks along the street having left the group, thinking pleasant thoughts about God and how neat it is that God put peat into bogs so that people could harvest it and burn it (Really!) before this happens:

Father Conmee began to walk along the North Strand road and was saluted by Mr William Gallagher who stood in the doorway of his shop.  Father Conmee saluted Mr William Gallagher and perceived the odours that came from baconflitches and ample cools of butter.  He passed Grogan's the Tobacconist against which newsboards leaned and told of a dreadful catastrophe in New York.  In America those things were continually happening.  Unfortunate people to die like that, unprepared.

So even a simple walk along the street begins with pleasant odors of food and tobacco and ends with a "dreadful catastrophe" where people die unprepared and (presumably, this being a Catholic priest thinking this) go to Hell because they didn't get forgiven in time.

In case there is any doubt that I am 100% right, the walk the continues with Father Conmee passing some lounging men and then he passes "H.J. O'Neill's funeral establishment," says hello to the constable and sees, in a butcher's window, "pig's puddings, white and black and red, lie neatly curled in tubes."

I stopped reading with Father Conmee riding a streetcar and looking at a woman yawning and somehow beginning to think about how all the colored people of the world ("the souls of the black and brown and yellow men") would die "when their last hour came like a thief in the night" and how they would "all be lost, a waste, if one might say."

He got all that from a woman yawning on a streetcar.

What Joyce, or maybe Father Conmee, needed, I think, was a banjo.  Remember, Steve Martin said it's impossible to be sad with a banjo playing.

So I think I have hit on the theme of this book, with its constantly-switching viewpoints that are never clearly demarcated: Joyce does that, I think, because he is making the point that we are every character we think we meet, projecting our own images of ourselves and others onto those others -- and that every character we meet (including us, who is them) is doomed to die.

Battle of the Silent, Weirdly (In?)Competent Predators (My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad)

My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad takes two pop culture things that occupy the same slot, and determines which would, or should, win in a fight. Or whatever.  Look, this isn't rocket science, okay?  Rules? The rules is, there ain't no rules.

TODAY'S FIGHT: Wile E. Coyote



Introductions are in order:

Wile E. Coyote, super genius, has a literary pedigree.  Chuck Jones, who created the Wile E./Road Runner cartoons to parody "chase" cartoons like Tom & Jerry (and who reportedly was disappointed when the cartoons caught on) based the character on Mark Twain's description of a coyote from Roughin' It:

The coyote is a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton, with a gray wolfskin stretched over it, a tolerably bushy tail that forever sags down with a despairing expression of forsakenness and misery, a furtive and evil eye, and a long, sharp face, with slightly lifted lip and exposed teeth. He has a general slinking expression all over. The coyote is a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry. He is always poor, out of luck, and friendless. The meanest creatures despise him, and even the fleas would desert him for a velocipede. He is so spirtless and cowardly that even while his exposed teeth are pretending a threat, the rest of his face is apologizing for it. And he is so homely! -so scrawny, and ribby, and coarse-haired, and pitiful.

Wile E. is frequently referred to by his Latin names.  Do you have a Latin name? I do.  It's Boniface Tullus, which I kind of like.  Boniface Tullus.  (I got that from this Latin Name generator.)

As I, Boniface Tullus, was saying, Wile E oftentimes is referred to by his Latin names, which include "Eatibus Anythingus," "Famishus-famishus," and "Famishius vulgaris ingeniusi," which if you put that through a reverse translator comes to the exact same thing, indicating to me that perhaps the universe is no longer expanding but that instead at the exact moment that I hit translate the universe began to contract and so time reversed itself and we're all now running backwards, which might alarm you except you probably won't notice anything.  If every physical law in the universe reversed itself, you would remember the future and be ignorant of the past.

Wouldn't you?

I don't know.

Tom, meanwhile, appears to have a much shakier past, including an alias: when he first came into the public eye, Tom was known as "Jasper."  To be fair, this may have been a stage name to separate himself from other Tom cats in Hollywood, including Sylvester, who originally went by Thomas.

But it's probably not, as "Tom & Jerry" is a phrase long associated with hooliganism, or at least rakish behavior.

In January 1821, a well-known journalist and sportswriter (sport meaning prize fighting and horse racing) called Pierce Egan wrote a monthly journal under the title: “The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq., and his elegant friend, Corinthian Tom, accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in their rambles and sprees through the Metropolis.”

Says "Victorian Footnotes," which goes on to note that beer houses in London were referred to as "Tom And Jerry" shops, from which we can learn that Victorian England was not what we would call pithy with its titles.

Strengths:  That stuff is all well and good, a phrase that suffers from the same extra wordage as "cease and desist."  The other day I got a letter from a lawyer demanding that my client "cease and desist" something, and I was tempted to write back "We will cease, but we will NEVER desist."

It's all well and good to get caught up in talking about phrases, but what about what each of these animals can do?  I am ready to give you an answer on that, or, rather, I would be if I were actually ready to give you an answer on that.

I have been diligently researching that very question -- what can these animals do? -- since almost 10 minutes before I started writing this post, when I sat down with some cold pizza for breakfast and decided to watch a "Wile E. Coyote" cartoon.  I watched that cartoon, which was this one:

But that one wasn't really very good; it was just the first one I found.  But as I watched it I began wondering about how Wile E would stack up to Tom, and so I watched a Tom & Jerry cartoon, too, the first one I found being this one:

Which honestly is a little creepy.  I watched about 1/3 of that, getting up to where Jerry tracks tar onto the deck, before giving up because I was bored, and going back to Wile E cartoons, which I had playing in the background as I typed up all that introduction to this post, including this cartoon:

But I had them playing on my Kindle, next to me, because I had to type this post and what I learned in college is that you do not research-and-then-write, you just make it up as you go along, reading only as much as is necessary to make your point.  That is how American knowledge works.

Unfortunately, my Kindle battery was low because I was up late last night, alternating between taking Mr F for rides three times (at 9 p.m., 10 p.m., and 11 p.m.) and reading Girl Genius because I was too tired to read anything else, and I forgot to charge it, so my Kindle ran out of power and I asked Mr Bunches if I could use his iPad to continue my research, but he said "no" because he is watching "My Friends Tigger & Pooh" on his iPad, so that was the end of my research.

Instead, I will go off my memory, which, if I am wrong about the course of time reversing, ought to be at least reasonably accurate, and also off of Wikipedia, which fortunately for us completely neglects telling anyone anything about the government program for allowing drone strikes on US citizens, but does list all of the ACME products Wile E. Coyote uses in his efforts to capture the Road Runner, including ACME Giant Kites

ACME Bumblebees

ACME Rocket Skates

and ACME Dehydrated Boulders

There is, if you are interested and you know you are, a complete online catalog of every ACME product ever bought by the Coyote.  Because we are a nation without a purpose.  (I've spent over an hour there today!)

Beyond his solid-gold credit rating and apparently unlimited ACME account, Wile E. Coyote is pretty fast, and pretty strong (for brief moments), can sometimes hover, and has the ability to create new realities that intersect with ours:

And survive even the heat at the center of the Earth:

And those abilities are what separates Wile E from the regular person.  Absent his unique reality-twisting powers, Wile E is pretty much a poor man's Bruce Wayne, above-average physical skills combined with a bunch of expensive gadgets to pursue a single-minded  obsession that is more about his own personal gratification than   of giving benefit to the world.

Tom, on the other hand... paw?  No, I'm not going to stoop to the lowest common denominator, here.  For a change.

Tom's powers appear more limited, and, frankly, less obsessive, as noted by Wikipedia, which comments that many times, Tom and Jerry cooperate with little to no friction, and also that Tom has a real love for the ladies:

Tom changes his love interest many times. The first love interest is Toots who appears in Puss n' Toots, and calls him "Tommy" in The Mouse Comes to Dinner. He is also interested in a cat called Toots inThe Zoot Cat although she has a different appearance to the original Toots. The most frequent love interest of Tom's is Toodles Galore, who never has any dialogue in the cartoons.

Tom is, in short, a pretty skillful guy who seems to more or less lack the financial wherewithal of Wile E, and also has no real powers whatsoever other than his ability to come back from the dead.


Despite five shorts ending with a depiction of Tom's apparent death, his demise is never permanent; he even reads about his own death in a flashback in Jerry's Diary. He appears to die in explosions in Mouse Trouble (after which he is seen in heaven), Yankee Doodle Mouse and in Safety Second, while in The Two Mouseketeers he is guillotined offscreen.

Yep. Tom is some sort of demigod, who uses his power to woo earthly females.  That being pretty much what demigods do,  if my understanding of them based on reading 1/3 of The Odyssey is correct, which I will assume it is (see "research methods in US," supra).

Like other demigods and minor deities, Tom has a variety of abilities that crop up when necessary, a jack-of-all-trades whose one major symbolic purpose (catching mice) has come to be overshadowed by the plethora of other traits tacked on over time.

But still, a demigod.

So who would win in a fight?

It seems as thought Wile E would never win, doesn't it?  Despite his better financing and his inability to be killed, how can he fight a god? In fact, his inability to win in this fight might be presaged by his inability to win, ever, against a lowly roadrunner.

But, then, would Tom even fight?  The gods are mercurial, after all - -sometimes they decide to make one guy's life miserable for decades and decades and sometimes they just go back to trapping Ares having an affair and laughing at him while he's trapped on the bed.  The Attention Span Of The Gods needs a little work, is my point, while Wile E. Coyote's single-minded obsessiveness suggests that he would never give up.

Can obsession win out over near-absolute, but dissolute power? That is the question that has plagued me, and mankind, ever since I posed it way back at the beginning of this paragraph.

Despite the fact that Tom has lingered on in cartoons and movies that apparently are aired to this day, I am going to give this one to obsession.  We all know that Batman beat Superman the time they fought, not by actually physically overpowering him, but through treachery and deceit:

...that eventually helped corrupt even the incorruptible Superman.

Tom is no Superman.  He wasn't raised by Ma and Pa Kent, and is obviously prone to giving in to his more dissolute pursuits -- women, golf, pizza, whatever -- and it would be easy to see Wile E. Coyote  wearing him down over the years until finally, one day, Wile E. Coyote tricks Tom into running into a wall that doesn't turn into a tunnel, and then disintegrates him.

Which leaves just one lingering question.  Since it's been decided that Wile E. Coyote would beat Tom in a fight, all that is left to wonder is:

Just how afraid of the Road Runner should we all be?

If that thing ever stops just wanting to run, and instead starts wanting to subjugate all of humanity to its will, we are in trouble.

Pepe Fanjul: Exactly the kind of story America likes.

Meet Pepe Fanjul, a person you should know.

Born in Havana in 1909, Pepe's family was a powerful, wealthy group until Fidel Castro took over in Cuba, taking all their assets and causing Pepe's family to flee and seek asylum in New York.

That didn't stop Pepe, who only a year later purchased 4,000 acres of land and began sugar production here in the States.  Pepe Fanjul got his sons involved in the company, and before long his family was helping run the Florida Sugar Cane League, the Florida Sugar Marketing and Terminal Association, and other groups.  One of Pepe's sons founded Biscayne College; his daughter was a co-founder of a charity.

This family had everything, then  nothing, and has now built up the American Dream again, proving that hard work can lead you to success, and that inspiration is almost everywhere you care to look.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

This blackout drunk can only afford a single t-shirt, and that is supposed to get you shopping. (Overthinking Commercials.)

The least important thing this guy has to deal with in his life is not getting that t-shirt back.  

The most important thing? The fact that the cat is clearly trying to hypnotize him back into bed.  Creepy.

T-shirt maker ads confuse me.  I can honestly say that I have never given even a single second's thought to who makes my t-shirt.  While I have t-shirts I like (my long-lost Green Lantern t-shirt which is irreplaceable...*tears up*), I could not name a t-shirt manufacturer except for Hanes and that's only because they featured Black Hitler in one of their commercials:

Which brings up an important point: Is it mustache? Or moustache?  Because it's Saturday morning and I think I've got low blood sugar, I will investigate for you.

Done.  The Grammarist says:

Mustache is the U.S. spelling of the word referring to hair on the upper lip. Moustache is the preferred spelling in all major varieties of English other than American English. Mustachiowas originally a variant of mustache, but it now usually refers to an especially luxuriantmustache. The past-participle adjectives corresponding to these words are mustached,moustached, and mustachioed

You know what freaked me out the most about that? In order:

1. The fact that there are past-participle adjectives.
2.  The fact that some people know what those are.

Why do we bother naming the types of words we use? Think about that for a while.  Why do verbs have to have a name?  

Man, now I'm not going to sleep at all tonight.



So what are we supposed to make of that? That the pig is a person? Because that commercial where he goes to the restaurant makes pretty clear that (A) he is a pig and (B) in the world in which he lives, we EAT pigs.

I am really confused.

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That tax problem.

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Sunday, February 03, 2013

WHODATHUNKIT!? The Three Things You REALLY WANT TO KNOW about Super Bowl 2013, and also the Nonsportsman! of the Year! (Nonsportsmanlike Conduct!)

Can you feel the excitement in the air?

It kind of smells like warm metal, unless that is just the smell of the stove which I used to cook a pizza last night and sort of forgot to turn off, and have been sitting here hoping Sweetie wouldn't notice, only to have her exactly as I typed that sentence say:

"The oven's on!"

To which I said:

"It's... um... off" because I had turned it off 10 minutes ago.

To which she said "Was it on all night?"

And I said "Sort of," and looked squarely into the Face of Disappointment In Me, which I see a lot these days.

So I added "In my defense, we were doing a lot of stuff last night," which is absolutely true in the completely nonsexy way it was meant, as last night between 8:15 and 9:15 while I cooked that pizza I also had to find a helmet for an Imaginext pilot, give Mr F a bath, clean up the house and go up on our roof and get the snow off the satellite dish, for the second time this year.

That's all part of the Wonder Of Super Bowl Eve, that and the little miracles like Sweetie noticing the oven was on at the exact moment I typed that it was.  It's little magical moments like that which we'll remember in the future, when we look back at pictures of Mr F and Mr Bunches, their eyes wide with the excitement of freshly-fallen snow on the lawn and the house brimming with the sights and sounds of Super Bowl Sunday, which today are:

The Imaginext Sky Racers show Mr Bunches is watching next to me:

And Sweetie's disapproving frown:

Note: I am not allowed to put pictures  of Sweetie on my blogs.

Which is not ordinarily thought of as a sound, but if you're ever on the receiving end of it, you'll know what I mean.

You may have noticed that I am not talking much about the Super Bowl in my annual Super Bowl post, and there is a good reason for that:  There's not much new to say about the Super Bowl, which doesn't stop people from saying the same old things about the Super Bowl every year, but it does give me pause.

Have you heard, for example, that there is a shortage of chicken wings this year for the Super Bowl? You probably have:

 Chicken wings are always a story at Super Bowl time -- for some reason, people want to eat chicken wings, probably because people don't realize they were tricked into eating a garbage part of the chicken by the canny wife of a bar owner who wanted to rip off the Catholics.  True story, as shown by my linking to my Super Bowl post from a year ago, where, I realize, I started with the lead "Can you taste the excitement!"

It's hard to say something NEW about the Super Bowl, is my point.  Every year, it's the same thing: Chicken wings, the ads, the cost of the ads, whether Colin Kaepernick's biological mother is trying to get in touch with him only after he became a superstar, as she's denying she's not.  It's completely coincidental that she realized she wanted to get to know him at the exact same time as he was becoming an NFL star!

I mean, what are you supposed to say about the Super Bowl that hasn't already been said, mostly by me?  I've talked so often about how you can't even say Super Bowl that it's become part of the zeitgeist now:

and the trend continues, with even East Coast Liberal Elites stealing my thunder before I know I have a thunder, by which I mean: I thought perhaps I would post some great music about the Super Bowl only to find that The New Yorker already did just that, and it's a pretty good list, too, even though none of the songs are actually about Super Bowls, per se.

So what can possibly be said about the Super Bowl, or this Super Bowl, or any Super Bowl, that hasn't been said before?  THAT is the mission of WHODATHUNKIT!?, the only feature anywhere that dares to tell you what it is you, sitting there reading this, actually want to know, even if you didn't know that you wanted to know it.

So sit back, enjoy the ride, maybe put on some Imaginext Sky Racers cartoons for a soundtrack, and let's get to


But first, it's time for the NONSPORTSMAN! of the YEAR! award.  Every year, provided you don't go actually check that statistic, I have given out the NONSPORTSMAN! of the YEAR! award to that one person or thing who most affected sports in the year... without actually being an athlete or sports figure at all.

Past winners include collective bargaining, the city of Cleveland, Barack Obama, and asterisk, and it's safe to say that this year's winner will match easily with that elite crew to join the most prestigious, exclusive club in the world, the holders of the Nonsportsman! of the Year! award.

We begin, as always, with a stirring piece of music to get the blood flowing:

AH!  I love the smell of cartoon themes in the morning.

The runner up for Nonsportsman! of the Year! award, a position that in the past has been held by Elin Woods: and... and probably others... where was I?

The runner-up for Nonsportsman! of the Year! goes to sports media!

Who demonstrated their dedication to not actually working for a living this year by complete missing the boat on a variety of news stories, leaving the "real" "reporting" to people like Oprah:

Note: Also not allowed to post pictures of Oprah.
And Katie Couric:

Note: did you really want a picture of Katie Couric?

to get the "real" "scoop" after everyone in the world knew it.

As I've said before, to be a sports reporter these days, all you need to do is act as though you are an SNL parody of a character in a sitcom based on a wacky version of a sports reporter.  Sports reporting not needed.  As long as radio shows can feature people calling in to talk about how they would, if they could, ask Ray Lewis what he thinks of Colin Kaepernick's being a born-again Christian -- an actual call on Jay Mohr's actual radio show,  which I recommend nobody ever actually listen to,

as long as sports fans are happy with stuff like that, sports reporters have the easiest job in the world, far easier, even, than 'regular' reporters, who simply have to cut-and-paste press releases into the newspapers nobody reads.  Sports reporters can simply take call-ins from fans, and make incoherent rants (i.e., "to Jim Rome it") and then be wrong... over and over and over again.

I listened, briefly, to three guys on the radio this week get ready to make their picks for the Super Bowl.  Before they made their picks, they said what their season record was picking games.  The records were 34-16, 25-25, and 27-23.

The best among them had a success rate of 66%, and he does this for a living.

Why is that so bad?  Because of this:  the home team wins anywhere from 55%-70% of the time in every major sport, plus soccer and hockey.  If you just picked the home team every time, every week (as I did one year for a football pool) without knowing anything else about the game, including but not limited to how it is played, you would have been right, in the NFL, about 60% of the time.

AND NOW it is time for the greatest honor bestowed by this blog, the 2013 NONSPORTSMAN! OF THE YEAR! AWARD which goes to...


I actually suprised myself there because my notes say: truth and I was going to award truth the Nonsportsman! of the Year!  trophy (there's no trophy) right up until I typed lying, instead, but I realized even as I typed it that truth cannot win the Nonsportsman! of the Year! award, because the award goes to the Nonsportsman! who had the greatest impact on sports, and truth be told (zing!), truth had zero impact on sports this year.

It might seem just the opposite, because, after all, we learned a lot of things this year that had been hidden from us before.  We learned that Manti Te'O didn't really have a girlfriend, we learned that Lance Armstrong had doped all those years, we learned that Packer fans have no idea what "cause and effect" is and we learned that athletes will spray deer urine on their muscles, which also meant we learned that the  only easier job than sports reporting is sports medicine.  
The truth, in 2012, was that Jeremy Lin wasn't that great a basketball player.  The truth in 2012 was that the Saints didn't really have much of a Bounty Pool and that the NFL couldn't do much of anything to stop head injuries.  The truth was that those head injuries were causing even bigger problems than anyone had suspected, including causing former NFL players to kill themselves. The truth was that Ohio State and USC had pretty good football teams that couldn't compete in the postseason because of things past coaches had done, while those past coaches enjoyed themselves in new jobs.  The truth was that playoffs sent the University of Wisconsin to a tournament when it wasn't even the best team in its division in the Big 10, and the truth about the Big 10 was that it had more than 10 teams in it and added some more.  

The truth was that Penn State's lionized, revered football coach covered decades of child abuse because he didn't want it to hurt the football program, and the truth was that in the end, it did not hurt that football program even after people learned that their unquestioning love of that football program was, in truth, a big reason why their coach could cover up all that abuse.

We got a lot of truth about sports in 2012.

And yet, what did it matter?

Are people not getting head injuries anymore?  No.  Drew Magary pointed out on Deadspin that head injuries may make the NFL more popular, not less. Telling the truth about his head injury cost San Francisco's Alex Smith his starting job, and so the world knows who Colin Kaepernick is.  

Lance Armstrong lost all those victories... technically speaking, but what did that matter? If you were in those Tours, you didn't get to ever wear the yellow jersey, and it appears that nobody ever won them, now.  Manti Te'O will still get an NFL contract and nobody is asking why a religious school helped cover up a huge human interest story fraud that might have helped Notre Dame play for a national championship -- this being the last year that opinions mattered in determining who was the number one team in college football, it couldn't have hurt that Manti Te'O had such an inspiring lie going on.

And that is the crux of it.


The Redskins lied about their star quarterback's injury, probably twice, to keep him playing, and they made the playoffs.  Lance Armstrong actually won lawsuits in the past by accusing people of lying about him.  He isn't exactly declaring bankruptcy these days, is he?  ESPN got busted twice by Deadspin for lying: once hiring a con artist to write for it,  and once faking a story about how Tim Tebow might play on a Monday Night Football game to get ratings up. (That last link shows how most of the Tebow news this year was entirely manufactured by ESPN for ratings purposes.)

All of those people profited handsomely by lying.  They rose to fame, fortune, and glory, got to start in a national championship, got to head foundations, got to work in the sports field and go to Super Bowl week and mingle with legends -- a Super Bowl week that, by the way, has largely revolved around the story that it is the last game of a man whose career highlight is lying:

And lying about something serious: Ray Lewis was convicted of obstructing an investigation into a murder that remains unsolved to this day.  Wonder if they'll mention THAT when he runs out onto the field?  

Read this:

My nephew was brutally beaten and murdered and nobody is paying for it," Baker's uncle, Greg Wilson, told USA TODAY Sports. "Everything is so fresh in our mind, it's just like it happened yesterday. We'll never forget this." 

Only Lewis pleaded guilty in relation to the case: for obstruction of justice, a misdemeanor. He originally was charged with two counts of murder but struck a deal with prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against two of his companions that night, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting.

Lewis never directly linked his two friends to the killings, and they were acquitted. Lewis had testified that Oakley, Sweeting and another man had gone to a sporting goods store the previous day to buy knives. Baker's blood later was found in Lewis' limo. Having fled the crime scene, Lewis told the limo's passengers to "keep their mouths shut." The white suit Lewis was wearing that night — on Super Bowl Sunday — never was found.

"I'm not trying to end my career like this," Lewis said in his hotel that night, according to the testimony of a female passenger in the limo.

He didn't. For his punishment, Lewis received one year of probation and a $250,000 fine by the NFL.
That's an excerpt from a longer story centering around the feelings of a family that has never received justice.   Lewis did settle a $13,000,000 lawsuit brought on behalf of the dead man's daughter, for an undisclosed sum.

Ray Lewis has earned about $26,000,000 in the past four years.  I'd say lying has been very lucrative to him.  That $26,000,000 figure is before deducting the $250,000 for hiding what he knew about his and others' roles in a murder.

The lesson is clear, sports fans:  Lying is what winners do.  Not good people -- winners.  There is (now) a difference.  So if you want to play in the Super Bowl, hoist the yellow jersey,  have your Catholic school play in the national championship, keep your football program running, hit more home runs than anyone else, or otherwise excel at sports, take a cue from the 2012 Nonsportsman! of the Year! and lie like you never met the truth and would punch it in the face if you could, and you will be successful at sports.  

Anyway, with that depressing lead-in, back to WHODATHUNKIT!?, the BEST THINGS YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW ABOUT SUPER BOWL 2013, which is what I call it because I can't keep all those Roman numerals straight anymore.  

As always, WHODATHUNKIT!? eschews (oooh, fancy!) those common sports stories for the story behind the story, or, more accurately, the story that is way off to the other side of the story.  It is this post which is guaranteed to make you the life of the party by providing you with stuff to talk about that nobody else will be talking about at those Super Bowl parties, unless they read this post, which they didn't, judging by my blog stats.

Judging by my blog stats, only P.T. Dilloway and maybe Andrew Leon read this post.  But they are both great authors, so you should click those links and bookmark their websites and then go back to them after you read this post.  And no, that paragraph doesn't make sense if you think about it, so I suggest that you do what I do and never, ever, think about what it is I'm saying.

Instead, think about these three things that will amaze your friends, impress your enemies, and mystify total strangers who you approach at a bus stop and begin speaking to.

"Who was that masked man?" they will ask themselves, "And how did he know so much about obscure bits of information vaguely related to the Super Bowl?i"

Make sure you take off the mask before you get to your party! Unless it is a masked costume party in which you and your rich friends celebrate while trying to avoid a plague outside, in which case you are a character in an Edgar Allan Poe story and probably not watching the Super Bowl at all.
The rest of you, consider this: The First Real 49ers were sandwiches.

Or make that "Sandwiches."  Turns out that when gold was discovered in 1848, the first people to get to the Gold Rush were people already in California, which makes sense when you think about how information traveled back then (it didn't.)  But the next wave of Gold-diggers was not the Lohans (ha!) but instead were Sandwich Islanders, which might cause the bright folks among us (me) to ask this:  What in the heck are the Sandwich Islands?   

And also: Because they sound delicious!

The Sandwich Islands were the original name for Hawaii -- James Cook named them the "Sandwich Islands" in honor of his sponsor, the Earl of Sandwich.  
That man, the Earl of Sandwich for whom the Sandwich Isles were named, became the Earl at the age of 10.  In addition to possibly actually inventing the Sandwich, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich also was the Postmaster General in his career and held an admiralty position which he used to keep Cook exploring, and Cook paid him back by naming four islands or sets of islands after him.   The name only stuck until 1819, when King Kamehameha renamed the islands.

The Earl of Sandwich may not have just invented the world's greatest meal; he might also be responsible for Oldies Radio as it exists today; Ol' Earl created a "Catch Club" which would perform "ancient" music, which Earl defined as "any music older than 20 years," which perhaps coincidentally is the exact same definition my kids use.


On the subject of sandwiches, you're nobody until someone names a sandwich after you, some wise man once said. (It was me.)  So I went a'looking for a sandwich named after Colin Kaepernick -- maybe something on a pumpernickel?  And I found this article about how Colin will get free Red Robin food for life if he wins tonight, which would be motivation enough for me, and he might need the free food: He was paid $607,500 this year, which is superhigh for regular people but superlow for a football player.  
There's no sandwich I was able to find honoring Kaepernick, although there is one for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh (the "Harbocalypse," featuring fried chicken, bacon, sweet chili glaze, avocado, and pepper jack cheese), and there isn't a "Flacco" sandwich for the Ravens' soon-to-be-more-multimillionaire-y quarterback.  

But all that is besides the point, the point being why is "pumpernickel bread" called "pumpernickel?" a question I would answer except that in reading up on it I became aware that it is possible to work as a scientist who develops flavors, a scientist known as a "flavorist," and if you had that job you would be called on to create flavors for companies that can't be bothered to rely on natural flavors anymore. 

It's funny.  People talk about the 'rise of the machines' all the time, but nobody ever considers the dangers inherent in creating newer, weirder flavors, flavors that might destroy all of humanity.  One site says that the FDA has approved over 1,700 different flavors, a stat I didn't find anywhere else and couldn't verify, so let's just say it's true and let's point out that since it is indisputably, scientifically true that there are at least 1,700 "safe," "government-approved" (SOCIALISM!) flavors in the world, we are about 1,690 flavors short on options for our Doritos.

Of  course, one of those flavors is this:



"Hoisin" sauce, by the way, is "seafood" sauce.  "Hoisin" is a corruption of the Chinese word for seafood.  Those are duck-and-seafood sauce chips.

I want them and yet I REALLY REALLY DO NOT.  But kind of I do.

Back to the point of this section: What we think of as "pumpernickel" bread here in America isn't pumpernickel at all.  Traditional pumpernickel bread is rye bread that is slow-baked for a long time, with only a few alterations.  Here in America, though, we ain't got time for that kind  of nonsense, and so we get the dark, pumpernickel color by adding in molasses and some other stuff to rye bread, and then to make it taste different from rye bread, we add caraway seeds.

So our pumpernickel bread is a lie.

I say that just to keep with the theme of this post.  And also 'cause it's true.

Which brings up my final point:  Was there ever really a hasenpfeffer?

I say that because all that flavor-searching-around reminded me of  "hasenpfeffer," and made me wonder if that was really a thing or if it was just something funny-sounding that Bugs Bunny made up:

But, as is true of most weird things, it exists and was invented by the Germans.  Hasenpfeffer is "peppered rabbit," a kind of rabbit stew made by cooking chunks of rabbit in thickened blood, with spices.

Still hungry?  Once Germans came to America, where apparently rabbits were scarcer or perhaps harder to catch, they made squirrelpfeffer.  

(Perhaps, if you really have trouble getting chicken wings today, you could serve squirrel?  We have about a zillion of them around my house.)

Those funny pioneers!  Eating squirrels stewed in their own blood!  Ha! Ha! And they lived in sod houses!  We would never ever do that today.

Unless we could really pay a lot for the privilege.  Squirrel is being served in some of the fanciest restaurants around, and by "fancy" I mean "British," and also "gross."

This is from the New York Times a scant three years ago:

RARE roast beef splashed with meaty jus, pork enrobed in luscious crackling fat, perhaps a juicy, plump chicken ... these are feasts that come to mind when one thinks of quintessential British food. Lately, however, a new meat is gracing the British table: squirrel.

Squirrel is appearing on more menus, as at Fergus Henderson’s restaurant St. John, in London.
Though squirrel has appeared occasionally in British cookery, history doesn’t deem it a dining favorite. Even during World War II and the period of austerity that followed, the Ministry of Food valiantly promoted the joys of squirrel soup and pie. British carnivores replied, “No, thank you.”

These days, however, in farmers’ markets, butcher shops, village pubs and elegant restaurants, squirrel is selling as fast as gamekeepers and hunters can bring it in.

“Part of the interest is curiosity and novelty,” said Barry Shaw of Shaw Meats, who sells squirrel meat at the Wirral Farmers Market near Liverpool. “It’s a great conversation starter for dinner parties.” 

 Sample conversation:

HOST:  Hey, great of you to come.  Come on in, the game's just starting.  Here, have a burger!

GUEST: Mmm.  This sure is... unusually curious.  What am I eating?

HOST: It's squirrel!

GUEST *spits food out, punches host in face, leaves.*

HOST: He never even tried the duck and seafood chips.

The Brits didn't just serve squirrel in the olden days of 2009.  As late as 2011 they were serving "squirrel pasties," but they did that only because Elvis Presley ate squirrel as a kid. 

Here are a number of alarming sentences from a 2010 article about how Elvis inspired the British to eat squirrel:

"But I can't see squirrel becoming commonplace in the supermarket meat sections – it's hard enough to find rabbits in the shops these days."

"I'm told squirrel tastes like a cross between chicken and rabbit, but David Simpson, who runs Kingsley Village shopping centre in Fraddon, Cornwall, reckons it tastes like wild boar."

" drawback is that squirrels are difficult to skin: 'It's not like a rabbit where it slips off like a sock – you really have to use the blade and pull the skin back.'" 

 The Elvis Pedia has this recipe for fried squirrel:

Fried Squirrel Fried squirrel is a southern food that's quite tasty when prepared correctly. To cook a squirrel, first go out and try to kill a very young one. This is the most important thing as old ones are too tough.

When skinning the squirrel, make extra sure to remove all the hairs. -

2 young squirrels, skinned and cleaned
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

After carefully washing the squirrels, pat dry. With a mallet, gently pound the meat until the bones are crushed and the flesh is tender. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a skillet (preferably cast- iron) over medium-low heat. Dredge the meat in flour, and add to the melted butter.Brown and turn. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the meat is golden brown and cooked through. (Pierce with a knife to check doneness. The juices should run clear when cooked). The process should take 25 to 30 minutes.)

This is what they say that looks like:

ENJOY THE GAME, and make sure to bring your own snacks.